There is an unsaid “thing”, a lurking monster, green and slimey that appears to have broken free of the story books and is rampaging through society at large. Its name is “Bad Mummy”. More and more mothers appear to have been attacked by this beast, and are wandering the planet seriously believing that not just their parenting is bad, but they themselves are bad. They are Bad Mummies. They know that they are screwing up their kids for life. Every little action, every lost temper and lunch box fail will scar their child, and reflects the true nature of themselves as human being. Research shows just how many women have been bitten by this hideous monster, and now slave away under the shame of being a Bad Mother.
At my worse times, I actually used to punished myself for the smallest parenting error by saying out loud (and a thousand times in my head – BAD MOMMY! Had I packed the wrong nappy cream? Bad Mummy! Had I forgotten to pick up more anti-colic drops from the shops? Bad Mummy! I stopped this self destructive behaviour firstly when I realised it was damaging my health, and second when my daughter started to parrot it back to me. If I hear it in my thoughts now, I know that I am tired and need to take a break – it acts as a good warning beacon for me.
Moms are desperate to reach out for help with how they are feeling. But in doing so, they would have to make themselves vulnerable, and to admit that they were “bad” (hint: any therapist worth their salt, would work on this misplaced blame, guilt and shame).This for many is simply a step too far. So instead of opening up, women opt for little anonymous brown cardboard boxes from Amazon book store to arrive; always hoping that this will be the book that will answer all the questions; that this book with put to bed the uncertainty of parenting and tell us what “good mummies” do. When books don’t contain the answers, the internet is the next port of call, as discussions rumble on in forums where moms hide behind usernames and handles.
Bad Mummy is a thought that has gotten out of hand. It is not the reality of the situation, and it certainly is not part of who we are, as people or mothers. It is safe to talk. It is safe to reach out. You will not be judged, how could you be? You are a mumma, doing her best in the moment.
There is no such thing as a perfect mum. They don’t exist. Not in the real world, not on Facebook, not on TV and certainly not in Pinterest. Perfect Mum is as much as a thought as Bad Mummy. Both are a series of thinking that hurts.
Please stop hitting yourself with the really huge stick labelled Bad Mummy. You are so much more than you can possibly imagine. I’m not going to give you new labels and positive affirmations. I am going to invite you to look beyond the labels, beyond thinking to see what is possible there.
You will be amazed.