Alleviating motherhood guilt
I set up the email on my new laptop..finally…in an effort to force the move from the old to the new. New version so all sorts of old things from my email are popping up. I have emails going back many years…because I can! And this email exchange that I had with a close school friend a couple of months before she died popped up. I was amused to read how much the challenges of juggling work and motherhood have changed….and how much hasn’t changed! And her advice to me seems very timely today of all days when I am having a stressful melt down day working from home while kids are home on holidays.
This exchange is from 2006…so wind the clock back…
Part of my email to her:
Sam started school this year and totally loves it. He is rather exhausted though which is a bit hard when he won’t sleep/rest and then gets grumpy or loses the plot over silly little things. Poor little guy – just so tiny but thinks he is hugely grown up and expects his body to cope with it all instantly. Tara started preschool as well and she loves that too. I am trying to be organised and survive this whole 5 days a week thing for ironing uniforms (finding socks), packing lunches etc, etc. Thought I was doing quite well last week – got them there on time with only one major altercation on one day….until I realised at the end of the week that I had not given them a bath/shower at all for the whole week and that they went to school a couple of days with no undies on (because they felt like it!…and I was too busy to check). I was so busy juggling the 5 different arrangements for each day, and trying to cook dinner, feed them and get them to bed that I completely forgot that step. So now feel like I have to make a new list and stick it on the fridge or something and include the basics like hygiene on it!
Part of her response to me:
loved your story about balancing work and family – i can totally identify with all that you have said about schools, kids and working…an impossible task to do perfectly…in fact i am starting to settle for getting some of it right some of the time. i recently read an article published by some phD pysch student called “the rule of thirds: good enough parenting”…the theory is that for healthy development in children they need this proportion of parenting:
1/3 of the time you correctly ascertain and meet their needs;
1/3 of the time you correctly ascertain their needs, but fail to meet them, and then make amends for not meeting those needs;
1/3 of the time you totally fuck up, don’t meet their needs, and don’t even apologise!!!
this teaches them 3 vital things:
1. when you meet their needs they feel loved and all that good stuff
2. when you stuff up and apologise they learn that people are not perfect, and they also learn how to make amends through your modelling..this helps them in their future relationships when they or others stuff up…they also learn about forgiveness this way.
3. when you really blow it they learn to get their needs met from within and from other sources
so i feel like if anything i need to fuck up more…cos i’m definitely doing better than that whole 1/3 of the time thing!!!!
anyway, that’s my pearl of wisdom to alleviate motherhood guilt syndrome for today.