I had to re-post today’s Good Mother post up at The Good Mother Myth site. So, so wonderful:
You are a good mother
Not because you did something in particular. Not because you earned your “goodness” badge today. Not because you over-achieved or slowed your life down in just the right way to be the perfect parent that’s advertised in the glossy magazines. Not because you read the right books, made the right sacrifices or quite frankly, didn’t have time to read the books, in fact, didn’t give a damn about the books and had to sacrifice, cause that’s just the way it is. Not because of anything that you do… even though motherhood is a whole bunch of things that we “do.” That’s not what makes you the good mother that you are. You are not a good mother because of what you do. You are a good mother because, quite frankly, you just are.
You and I both know, that you have always done the very best as a mother that you could do, given your circumstances and resources, given your past experiences and hurts, given your struggles — both the ones that you have on the inside and the ones forced on you by the outside world. So many of the difficulties and challenges that you face as a mother have never been your fault and you have protected your child from as much of that as has been humanly possible for you to do. In fact, you’ve even done your best to protect your child from you, when you know you haven’t been at your best. You and I both know that you have always loved your child the best you could, that you would do anything that you could figure out to do for him or her.
So what is a good mother? A good mother is you. It’s time to face facts, to forgive yourself, to throw away the ridiculous, impossible motherhood “to do” list and sit back and realize you did it. I know it seems like a long time ago now, but there was a time before you were a mother. There was a day when not only was your baby born, but a mother was born as well. That was not always an easy or elegant transition. You did not always know what you were doing and made mistakes alone the way. You have never had such an intense learning curve, under the most challenging circumstances. But no matter what, you are the perfect person, in fact the only person, to be your child’s mother. You are good. Not because of what you do. But just because you are. It’s time to accept that. It’s time to let go of the comparisons, the self-criticisms, the worries, the fears. Your love is good. It’s not only good, it’s good enough. It’s time to forgive yourself, to let go of unrealistic expectations, and settle into the reality that you did it. You made it. You are good. Your love is good.
You are enough.
Liz Friedman is the Program Director and Founder of the Postpartum Support Initiative for MotherWoman. Through the Postpartum Support Initiative, Liz has led the Western Massachusetts Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Coalition which is committed to creating a comprehensive safety net for all mothers experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, perinatal emotional complications.
MotherWoman is an organization that supports and empowers mothers to create personal and social change by building community safety nets, impacting family policy and promoting the leadership and resilience of mothers.
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