The Good Mother, The Good Wife
Do you have a nagging inner critic who often reminds you that you're not measuring up? Measuring up to what? You know... that "good mother" perception you have that was slowly built over a lifetime of experiences with your own mom, interactions with children, images, TV shows and movies, books you read, expressions you heard your partner say, and countless other ways in which the picture and expectations were set. My own version of the "good mother" did all of these things... (and LIKED them!)
-feed family healthy food
-decorate home indoor/outdoor
-plants and flowers everywhere
-play with kids, want to or not
-fix torn clothes/broken toys
-arts & craft projects
-is “manager” of the home
-takes kids on plenty of outings
-enjoys being a "soccer mom" or "dance mom"
But wait! I also had a picture in my head of “the good wife”. I used to tell my husband that I just KNEW there was a much better woman out there for him. She was...
-the perfect balance of “girly” and “sporty”
-sophisticated and knowledgable for interesting conversations
-supportive of everything her spouse wanted
-always available to talk
-had tons of energy for “adventures” and sex (even after doing all of the above good mother list)
Hahaha... Yeah, I know. I was doomed to failure from the start.
Everywhere I looked, images of “the happy family” jumped out at me. Endless magazines, pamphlets, TV shows, Pinterest, books, friends who seemed to have it all together, etc., showing me the stereotype for which we should at LEAST all be aspiring, if not meeting. And just as many negative images of “dysfunctional” families where “the good mother” wasn’t doing any of those things and her children were sure to be ruined and her marriage fail.
Do you have a mental list like this that haunts you (or did in the past)? You can quiet it sometimes, but it just lives on, lingering in the background of your mind or heart and whispering negative thoughts at you at the worst moments, when life is overwhelming.
There are many tools and practices we can use to silence this internal chatter, so that it never holds power over you again, and you can finally decide to start loving the wife and mother you are. YOU get to decide what this means for you and your family. YOU get to create the roles and responsibilities you take on. YOU get to have your needs met and your boundaries clearly and lovingly established. These are the actual steps to being a good mother and good wife, and YOU get to define them for yourself.