A happy mother’s day means doing less


by Susan Prosser on May 6, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day

The greatest thing she’d learned over the years is that there’s no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one. – Author Unknown

I want to send blessings to all mothers, grandmothers and women who nurture and educate children – May is our month to celebrate!

As we all know, taking care of children is a most challenging job yet it is fulfilling at a very deep level. Once we have fallen in love with a child, our hearts are no longer our own. We want the very best for our little ones and yet we often feel we fall short somehow of giving them all they need. The gift I would love to give to you on this Mother’s Day is to know you are a “good enough mother”.

I was told of a wonderful aboriginal legend of the Hummingbird recently. It was about a forest fire where all the animals fled except for the hummingbirds. They stayed behind and flitted back and forth from the river, caring drops of water and releasing them onto the flames. Finally someone asked them what they thought they were doing and they answered, “we are doing what we can”.

Over the past few decades, women’s lives have changed in so many ways. So much is expected of us as mothers, partners, homemakers, workers, professionals, daughters, friends and so on. We actually believe that we can do it all and we push ourselves everyday to achieve the impossible. It never occurs to us that everyone else is blessed by our efforts except for us. Not only do we tend to forget our own needs but we admonish ourselves for not doing more.

Over the past 35 years since I have been teaching parenting, children have changed and so has parenting. When I first started teaching in those days, there were very few parenting books around. People were just expected to know what they were doing so we pretty much did what our parents did and thought that would be good. The only problem was that the world was changing and so were children. The old ways weren’t working.

Now we have books, classes, blogs and advice coming from everywhere and women’s propensity to believe they are not doing enough is feeding our shared notion that we are not good enough. The best advice I can give you is that you need to trust your own instincts and you need to know that that will be good enough – not perfect – but just fine.

All our children need to know is that we cherish them and believe in them. Cherishing yourself and believing in yourself will assist this process. Everything else will either be gravy or mistakes. We learn from mistakes and our children survive them. In this day in age our children will tell us we are making mistakes! They tell us what they feel and need. There is nothing to fear – listen to them and learn and above all, listen to yourself and trust.

Our children need us to believe in ourselves, to be confident that the love and direction we are giving them will assist them in their lives. The journey never ends. My children are grown now and they still need me to believe in them and be there for them. My own mother died recently and I still find myself wishing she would believe in me. My granddaughter will arrive in August and I can’t wait to begin that chapter! Motherhood is so very powerful and as challenging as it is, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

So fellow mothers, grandmothers and all nurturers and teachers of children, I wish for you the gift of self acceptance, self nurturing and self belief. Celebrate the release of yourself from the need to be perfect or to do more. Do less for others if you possibly can. The freedom will give you much deserved energy. We need to give ourselves permission to do this and then we need to give each other permission. Let’s change this driving need to look after others to perfection. Let’s teach our children and grandchildren how to be good enough. We really are doing “all that we can”.