A Good Enough Mother?

ducks_edited-4Logging into Facebook today, Mother’s Day, and seeing it flooded with photos of my friends with their mothers as they pay tribute to them, has left my heart aching and is yet another stark reminder that I have never experienced the bond these friends so clearly feel with their mother. Those of you who read my post The Child Of An Alcoholic will appreciate that Mother’s Day didn’t loom large in my past. However, I have tried hard not to let history repeat itself and truly hope that I deserve love and recognition from my family this Mothering Sunday.

But being loved by your children is not a given, it is something that must be earned. One of the most common reactions from my friends when I divulged how much I loathed my mother was “but she’s your mother” as if this mere fact of biology should excuse her all of her sins.

Most people never question whether they love their mother and even if their relationship is stormy, it is founded on that love. When my mother-in-law died I was surprised to find that her daughter with whom she appeared to have a loving relationship, was actually pretty indifferent and it was a sense of duty that had underpinned that relationship all the time I’d known her. I guess it was easier for my sister-in-law to maintain this façade as she was the ‘chosen’ one, the favourite amongst her siblings. I was unable to be so charitable seeing at first hand the damage that my mother-in-law’s overt favouritism had done to my husband and our children’s bafflement when she subsequently applied this divisive approach to her grandchildren.

In a perfect world you can expect your mother to be your biggest fan, to love and support you come what may, and I really hope that my children feel this to be the case with me. The bond between a mother and child is probably the most powerful relationships either is likely to experience but it can also be an incredibly difficult and painful one that can shape future relationships and taint lives.

A good mother loves her child unconditionally, offers advice without interfering, supports choices without judgement and celebrates success without conceit.

I’ve tried my best over my thirty something years of motherhood but like everyone I’ve had periods of doubt, been wracked with guilt on occasions and wished there were things I could do all over again, only better. At the end of the day I am trying to be satisfied with not being a perfect mother, but hopefully being a good enough one.

[Pip]

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Being a Mother

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© Liza Widdowson

Its quite something becoming a mother. From the moment I left the maternity ward with each of my three brand new babies, I had an overwhelming sense of responsibility. I could barely believe that I had been deemed capable enough to take care of something so precious, but you just have to get on with it, and as the old cliché goes no one teaches you how to be a mother, you just have to use your instinct and hope for the best!

I am lucky enough to have a close relationship with my own wonderful mother, she is caring and supportive but has also encouraged me to be an independent thinker, something that has been passed down to my own children through her.

But it’s been a constant worry as the children have grown up, am I a good enough mother? Do I deserve the title? Have I taught them correctly, given them the right advice, protected them enough, given them enough freedom so that they can think for themselves? Can they answer their own questions so that they feel confident enough to go out into the world and cope on their own? These are all fears that I’m sure most mothers have faced, we all have similar anxieties where our children are concerned, as we nurture them and watch them grow up.

I have always been conscious of being too close to them, worried that it was unhealthy. But I needn’t have worried. I like to think I have a very strong bond with each of them and they have certainly evolved into amazing, independent adults who I am extremely proud of and I feel privileged to be called their mother.

[Liza]