Am I A Bad Mother?
No-one is ever fully prepared for the enormous change that becoming a parent brings with it. We think we are…but we can’t really know until it happens.
Q I had no idea what was really involved in being a mum. I do love my child but there’s a price I didn’t expect to have to pay. I feel myself resenting having to give up so much of my life, my career, my time, my energy, and my money! I feel frustrated and angry that I’ve lost ‘myself’ by becoming a mother. I feel guilty and ashamed even admitting this to you.
A No-one is ever fully prepared for the enormous change that becoming a parent brings with it. We think we are…but we can’t really know until it happens.
It’s a fact that to be a ‘good enough’ parent we need to give our time, attention and calm loving care to our utterly dependent baby.
Perhaps you’re focusing more on the sacrifices rather than the gains…and that’s easily done.
You have temporarily had to put aside an aspect of your life - your career - but not permanently. When you can get this back you may find that it’s become less important to you and you don’t particularly want it back anyway!
You should acknowledge your sense of loss, but also get it into perspective and part of the bigger picture. Begin to see it as a transition into a different phase of your life which involves (and demands) that you have the time and energy to devote to your little miracle(s) – to give them a future full of great things.
Your time will come again later as things shift and routines change.
We only get one chance to give our kids a good childhood – and we all make mistakes (I know I made plenty myself decades ago). That’s OK as long as we realise what we've done and fix things as soon as we possibly can.
As a parent we have to put our own ego and selfish needs aside for a while. This allows us to take the more empathic and compassionate perspective of what life is like for our baby - and to ask ourselves what they need from us right now.
Yes you will be tired – even exhausted – but this shift of focus onto your baby’s needs will reap rewards in the long run as you have a deeper loving relationship with your child.
Also be sure to make time for your own ‘Inner Child’ too – and give ‘little You’ enough care and attention to keep her calm and happy. You are responsible for meeting your own needs as well as your baby’s.
So, no…being honest about the ‘costs’ of having a child doesn’t make you a bad mother, but putting your own selfish needs ahead of your child’s probably would do. (I am assuming here that your needs aren’t a psychological threat to you or your child's well-being. If they are then you should urgently get any psychological and emotional help you need to take care of yourself first - so that you can become free to be a more attentive parent, who is more fully attuned to her child’s needs.)
Keep up the great job you have been fortunate to have the opportunity to do…and please don’t neglect your own well-being and happiness in the meantime.
By Maxine Harley (Msc Psychotherapy)
MIND HEALER & MENTOR
www.maxineharley.com - where you'll find a FREE e-booklet about how to become an 'OPTI-MUM PARENT' - and a few e-mails with extra help, advice and guidance for you along the way.