The other day, my Facebook was smothered in posts of ice cream and children as mothers united to tell themselves how brilliant they were. As always, there was “nominate other great mothers” to demonstrate that not only were you a great mum but you you were part of a great tribe of mums. Or not.
Nobody nominated me. Which could lead to one of two conclusions:
1. I am not a great mum. (Depressed me would have believed this.)
2. I do not belong to the great mum tribe.
3. (Bonus conclusion) Everyone knows I don’t do these Facebook challenges. (I just write about them.)
I can’t actually say why people didn’t ask me to participate in the “motherhood challenge”. There’s a tiny part of me that kinda almost sort of wanted someone to nominate met so I could put up pictures of my cat (lessons), some spaghetti (nourishment), and a crochet blanket (comfort).
Because even though this motherhood thing isn’t quite what I thought it would be, it’s still my motherhood thing. And even if I don’t have a motherhood tribe, I still have to walk this journey. Nobody else gets to be the mother that I am. Nobody else needs to be the mother that I am.
There was fallout from the motherhood challenge – people commenting on those who wish they could be mothers but aren’t, those that choose not to belong to the motherhood club. Of course, stories of not being a mother are still motherhood stories – stories of loss or choice still matter. And then the mothers like me, because people don’t think of us.
People wouldn’t think of me as a great mum because that’s not what they see. They see someone dragging her child to school and then not staying to chat. They see someone who doesn’t stop to make play dates but heads straight to the car after pick up. They see a mother who lets her child walk on the grass and sometimes just ignores her tantrums. They see someone who is occasionally rude trying to get the child into the classroom.
I will let you in on a little secret. I don’t need to post pictures of my Little Person to know I am a great mum. Most mums are great mums. We put too much pressure on ourselves to be great mums, but we use the wrong yardstick. We try to teach our children that it’s all about character and integrity, and then we rush around trying to look like we have it all together when we don’t. The children see the lie.
We don’t need to post pictures of our children to prove our motherhood capabilities. We have nothing to prove. And if you really want to be a great mum, show your child that you love them in a way that is meaningful to them.