“It’s Easy to be a Good Mother”
By Cecilia of Only You
The other day I was almost quite literally on my 7 year-old Fred’s back from 7:15 to 7:40 a.m., which is the period in which he had to wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, wash up, and get into the car to go to school. No, 25 minutes is not a lot of time for a 7 year-old to do all of those things. When I saw Fred making a detour into his room when he should have been heading down to the garage, I marched after him and said, maybe too loudly from his vantage point, “WHY AREN’T YOU GOING DOWNSTAIRS?” Fred looked over his shoulder at me and bolted down the stairs, wailing and looking back once or twice as if Godzilla were on his trail. Since when had I become such a monster?
I don’t do so well when I’m sleep deprived and achy and feeling pressured by/resentful at/stressed out about work. I then aggravate the situation by refusing to take any time off of mothering. I try to be on duty 24/7, whether it is paid work or not.
Stress has been a lifelong cousin. She’s been there for as long as I can remember, and I’ve struggled to find a way to live with her. When I was a kid I’d suffered through bloody noses, headaches, and canker sores. As I got older I’d learned to try different ways to cope: shopping, talking with girlfriends, escaping into romantic fantasies. More recently, I’ve turned to aromatherapy, meditation, yoga, walking, and reading; anything that can give me a feeling of peace.
It was through one meditation podcast that I was listening to, a couple of days after that harried morning described above, that I actually heard a man say, “It’s easy to be a good mother.” The narrator of the meditation is a male clinical psychologist, and at first I really thought he had some nerve. But I listened. And what he spoke about became something that I have since listened to every night and every morning.
He talks about the importance of feeling and being well. It is not so difficult to be a good mother, he says; you just need to be present. And the easiest way to be present for your children is if you, the mother (or parent), are well, happy, and at peace.
I thought about it. He is so right.
How many times have I actually said “Yes” when Fred asks, “Mommy, can you play with me”? How many times have I responded with “Mommy’s so tired” or “Sorry sweetie, Mommy has to do a little work right now”? The days or even hours that I am fully alert, energetic and in a good mood sometimes seem so rare.
I remember those early years in Fred’s life when my home was littered with child development books on every topic from medical care to discipline to emotional care to academic nurturance. I’d google articles to help me be a better parent and develop relationships with all of Fred’s teachers. And yet, the road to good parenting doesn’t have to involve that much science or leg work; what it does require is a willingness to take care of ourselves first, something that seems so counterintuitive once we become mothers.
Thank you Cecilia for sharing this beautiful post and reminding us all of the importance of caring for ourselves in order to be better moms, better parents.
What things do you do in your life to stay happy and at peace?