A friend once advised me to always be myself, otherwise it would be impossible to maintain the act. He was referring to my very minor role as a psychologist on TV. It occurred to me recently that this advice also applies to my role as a parent.
For the twenty years that I have been a mother, I have wished that I was a better mum. My children are wonderful people but I have never thought that their fabulousness had anything to do with me. I blame myself for their faults of course, but their strengths are despite my mothering.
I have so often wished that I was that laid back mother who never gets phased by anything. When they were little, I envied the mums who couldn’t hear the noise and couldn’t see the mess. When they were at school, I felt guilty for not being that mother who was regularly in the canteen or on the school committees. As a parent to adolescents, I failed to always stand my ground and now that they are young adults, I still can’t completely relax when they go out or have friends over.
I have only now realised that I am who I am. I may not be the most relaxed mum in the world. I am certainly not the mother earth I wanted to be. But any attempt to pretend to be anything else has never lasted. It’s impossible to maintain the act. My children see right through me. They know when I’m worried. They know when I’m angry or upset. And they seem to have turned out all right anyway. I guess it’s because they know they are loved by an imperfect mum.