Practise what you preach

Pola & Frank via Hanna Andersen

Lately, I’ve been feeling the weight of responsibility a bit more than usual. The older my children get, the more aware I become of the fact that I’m a mother to girls. I don’t know whether I would feel differently towards a son, but the fact that I’m a woman raising other women is something that has been on my mind a lot lately.

When Maia was smaller, I was more taken by the daily challenges and worries. Most of my energy went into making sure she was eating, healthy and happy. Obviously, those are still daily priorities, but I now think a lot more about her future and that of her sister. I try to imagine the women they will grow into and which qualities will define them as adults. What this usually does is make me take a long, hard look at myself and try to see what kind of woman they see in me.

I have noticed that I myself tend to mirror my own mother’s behaviour and way of thinking, especially when it comes to parenting. I wish I could say I was as selfless, efficient and hard-working as she is, but I am nowhere near as nurturing. What I did notice, however, is a tendency to feel guilty if I so much as take my own needs into consideration. I am the daughter of a woman who never stopped to think about herself. She is the most giving person I know. I grew up believing that being a parent meant putting your own life on hold indefinitely and only noticed what was happening last year, when a small bubble of resentment inside me started to grow until I felt like it was choking me.

I want my daughters to grow into strong, independent women who believe in themselves and go after their dreams. I secretly hope they will one day experience the joy of being parents, though I’d never make them feel like they are expected to. And if they do become mothers, I want them to be well-rounded individuals who work and have interests outside motherhood while raising their own children. Which brings me to the question: are they seeing these qualities in me? I certainly preach about them often, but I cannot say I am living them.

What I alluded to last week is my fear of letting go of the guilt feelings which are holding me back. I have come to realise that I am using them as an excuse to sabotage myself. I guess it’s time I started practising what I preach.

image credit: Pola & Frank via Hanna Andersson on Pinterest

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3 Comments

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  1. oh Maureen! I could relate to almost every sentence you wrote, the only difference being I am raising a boy and a girl, and I worry the sort of influence I am having on these two tiny future adults constantly. My mother is the type that always put us first, never ever taking any time out for herself and never complained. Unfortunately, I find my inner voice complaining all of the time, and it worries and scares me. Mummy guilt plagues me all the time (when I am at home I worry that I should be focusing on my career, when I am at work, I wish I was at home, blah blah blah.) Does it ever end? Will I ever strike a happy balance that makes everyone happy? I recently took the plunge and attended a course abroad, something that I’ve been aching to do for a looong time. 9 days away! But we survived. And I came back a little more balanced than before!

  2. This entire mothering gig is full of worry and concern isn’t it. I’m not sure that there is a lot of difference in that regard between raising boys and girls – I have fears for both. There are times when my greatest fear is that they will end up like me, I want so much more for them. Then I have to shake myself out of it and admit to myself that that wouldn’t be such a bad thing and that if I want them to be confident and self assured their father and I need to be seen to at least have positive self talk and image. Practising what we preach is so much easier said than done.

    • I know! Sometimes I wish I would stop analysing my every move, but then feel guilty if I don’t. At this point I’m living every day as it comes and trying to enjoy these first few years of their lives. We’re all doing our best after all.

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