An Open Letter To Mums Who Think They Are Totally Screwing Up
“Today I lost my patience. I will lose my patience again tomorrow.”
There comes a point in every mother’s life during which she will feel like she has failed not only as a parent but has failed her children. It may come sooner or it may come later but it will eventually come.
In her Today story, Rhiannon Giles shares the many instances in her life when she feels like she’s screwing up.
“Today my five-year-old daughter screamed the whole way home because I would not buy her a pottery wheel,” she writes. “Today I lost my patience. I will lose my patience again tomorrow.”
Rihannon lets her daughter watch kids’ shows with obnoxious characters who whine a lot and lack depth, and she tunes her out after hours of nonstop talking.
She often catches herself whining, too, but this time at her daughter, and she found that she uses the very tone she despises when her daughter does it.
She is failing by example, she says.
“I’ve read the articles; I know the current “rules” of being a great mother. I think most of those carefully curated “shoulds” were written by liars and people who have never been around children.
“At best they are hopeful ideals. I gave into the tantrum, because my brain was so loud and it was the only way to filter out some of the noise.”
Not only that, she finds that she isn’t teaching her daughter “enough about empathy and equity and racism and compassion and feminism and and and…”
There is inside her head she sees a version of herself sitting with her head between her knees and hands over her ears; her child is tapping her on the shoulder, and demanding her attention.
“Mummy, watch this,” she chants. “Mum. Mummy. Mum.”
But despite her many shortcomings as a parent, Rihannon knows these solid facts:
At the end of the day, her daughter likes to cuddle. Her daughter shares her dinnertime candy because she “likes to do nice things for people.”
“She talks about the fun things I actually mustered up the energy to do, not as a way of saying how much better I could be, but of saying how much enough I am. She sometimes mimics my worst, but also mimics my best.
“Dear mum who is totally screwing up, I wish this could be one of those uplifting messages about how you’re really not,” she says. “But maybe you are. How the hell would I know? All I have to offer you is solidarity and a glass of wine.”
In the end, Rihannon says that whatever your imperfections and shortcomings may be, as long as you’re there for your children and that your children have you, maybe it will have to be enough.
If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them with us!
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