Last week a friend of mine told me that she “just isn’t a natural mother” and it got me thinking, what is a natural mother exactly?
The reason this comment got me thinking is because in all honesty her daughter is one of the nicest children I know. I mean sure she can be a handful at times, but she’s a determined toddler finding her feet and that isn’t a bad thing. Generally she is a wonderful little girl, full of character and the reason for this is because her mother is actually a very good Mum. So it baffled me a bit that she thought otherwise.
Then I come across a picture on social media with the quote ‘Behind every great child is a mother who is pretty certain she is messing it all up’ accompanying it and it got me thinking about all the times I’ve felt like I’m getting this whole parenting thing a bit wrong. I question my decisions all of the time and wonder if I’m doing enough for my children. Yet I’m always faced with positive comments about how content or happy my children are. Even the nursery nurses at Oliver’s nursery have told me how he is one of the best behaved in his room and pleasure to have there.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realised just how many of my [honest] friends questioned their capabilities as a parent. I’m constantly hearing about how they try to keep up with an idealist view of what a parent should be, myself included. One of my friend’s was worried that her toddler didn’t eat five different types of fruit and veg in one day, another that she had put her child to bed 15 minutes later than normal one night and I actually found myself telling my grandmother the other day how I felt like I was ‘struggling’ to keep on top of things now I have two children, all because I hadn’t done any sensory activities that week. She found the whole situation bizarre and reminded me that not all that long ago messy and sensory play wasn’t even really a thing. It was then she said something that really struck a chord with me, “The fact that you are even questioning if you are a good mother, means that you already are one.”
So after a lot of thought I have come to the conclusion that being a natural mother isn’t even really a thing. I think it is the type of parent that we believe we should be or perhaps even the type of parent we pictured ourselves being before our children had even made their appearance into the world. But then reality hit us square in the face and now we muddle through the moments, the moments where we’re convinced we’re doing it all wrong, the moments where we’re actually doing it all right and the moments that nearly send us stir crazy. We muddle through the moments that are actually us being natural mothers, because that is what being a natural mother is, muddling through the moments and learning as we go.