Worrying that you are crap is a waste of time. Worrying that you can’t do it is a waste of time. Worrying that you failed is a waste of time. No one cares. Just get on with it.
— Peter Capaldi (from a meme on Facebook)
As I was typing up the quote above, a thought occurred to me: for those of us who are serial ‘self beaters’, this quote is likely to make us apologise for wasting people’s time with our worrying.
I intensely dislike the part of my personality that is always telling me I’m not good enough.
This is the little voice telling me not to offer an opinion, put my name forward for a particular job, try something new, submit a piece of writing to a competition, share my picture book in front of my fellow students. The voice has a lot to answer for.
Worse, it also whispers conspiratorially, “You suck,” going on to say, “everyone else is so much better than you, who are you kidding?”
I work hard at shutting this voice up, at least on the surface. Internally, it wreaks havoc.
This is a huge topic, but I am going to try to focus on one thing only —
If the link at the bottom of this page works for you, open it up and have a read.
If not, in a nutshell it talks about a mother beating herself up for ‘not being a good mum’. Her friend goes on to point out all the reasons why she is wrong.
This was an uplifting story.
Then, there were the comments, some of which were not so uplifting … particularly the ones posted by people who inferred they ‘knew they sucked as a mum’ — or words to that effect.
I’m sorry, but do you neglect to feed your children? Do you beat them senseless? Do you treat them as slaves? Do you ignore them all the time?
If any of these are true, then I am afraid you are justified in your assessment of your ‘mum skills’.
However, if you are ‘guilty’ of actions like:
♦ losing your cool on occasion (or more frequently)
♦ sitting them in front of a device so you can get half an hour of ‘me time’ or just get them to ‘shut up’
♦ constantly ‘nagging’ your teenager to do stuff (get up, homework, earphones out etc.)
♦ not putting on the ‘party to end all parties’ — every year
♦ confiscating everything they value in a desperate attempt to make them see reason (or pulling out the ‘you’re grounded — forever’ card)
♦ saying ‘No’ to completely unreasonable requests (or just because you’ve had enough)
♦ going off at them for doing or saying something that you do (and then going off again and pulling out the ‘I’m an adult, I make my own choices’ card because they have sniggered at you)
♦ anything you don’t do, even though every other parent does,
then, you are far from a ‘crap mum’.
You are a normal mum!
(And, just so I’m putting it out there — every single one of those eight examples above are from my own experience.)
There are a few places I could ‘go’ to play the blame game for this: the insane abundance of ‘parenting books’ (god, they suck); reality TV (or any TV shows featuring families, and particularly that infernal ‘Super Nanny’ woman); mother groups (which can be so supportive, yet so destructive at the same time); family (again, supportive but occasionally incredibly judgemental); and the parents of your child’s friends!
The latter one is the most problematic sometimes. Not because they go out their way to undermine you. Quite the opposite; they are going out of their way (most likely without even realising) to make sure you don’t think they suck as a mum.
At one point last year, I happened to mention on a group SMS that I was abstaining from allowing my daughter to attend a party because of some heinous misdemeanour on her part. Most people were supportive; one reaction made me see red: ‘Oh you poor thing. I’m so glad (name of angelic, butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth daughter) doesn’t behave like that.’
That was crap — and we all knew it!
So, to my friend(s) who think they ‘suck as a mum’ — we all have many things we could do so much better … but ‘suck’ we do not!
And, no one cares anyway because most of us are too busy beating ourselves up to beat you up as well. There are not enough hours in the day for that.