Mothering is hard work. It is hands down the most demanding and sometimes demeaning job I have ever done. Not talking about the hard parts of being a mama is what makes it even harder. There is this myth that in order to be a good mother you need to be perfect. Like the minute you give birth all your frustration and confusion will fly out the door and you will magically know all there is to know about how to raise this tiny being. Then at the same time everyone and their dog has an opinion on how you should do this or that. If I’ve learned anything it’s that trying to be perfect is a sure recipe for being miserable and accepting failure can be the most heroic thing we can do.
Here is something you probably don’t know: I got pregnant three weeks after meeting my partner Chris, I was 20 and he was 19. Were we ever SCARED. I had been working with children since I was 16 and had always wanted to be a mama- but I sure wasn’t planning on doing it then. I was in university and had a growing career in community development creating programs & art empowerment projects for rural & inner city children and youth. I worked right up until I was 8 1/2 months pregnant as a peer counselor for a youth resource center. I thought my experience with other peoples children would prepare me for having my own…after all as an inner city youth worker I had been pushed down stairs, screamed at and dealt with more messes and behaviors then you could imagine. I had also already helped birth a close friends baby, then lived with her for the first 8 months, caring for the baby part-time. My mother told me I was fooling myself thinking I had it all figured out…she was right (don’t tell her I said that). Being responsible 24/7 for a small child is unlike anything I have ever done before and I don’t think anything can prepare you for the experience.
I love, love, love my daughters and I will never regret my decision to become a parent. But sometimes it is hard work and mamas don’t usually get many days off. So I made this poster for all of us, inspired by Sark’s print How To Really Love A Child. Because loving a child and loving motherhood are two very different creatures. If you can relate to what helps me & what I need to remember when I am having a tough day go ahead and print it out. Or you can download the frame with the title to fill in yourself + if you want to invent your own or you have little ones about distracting you, print out the blank frame to doodle in.
Please also share your thoughts on how to really love motherhood in the comments. It was nerve-wracking to share my own difficulties with parenting so I can understand if you don’t, but isn’t it always lovely to not feel like you’re all alone?
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