The damaging concept of the Superwoman mum

‘Superwoman mum’ – the idea that is supposed to be a compliment to motherhood but in reality, makes the life of mothers much harder than it should be. 
It really gets to me when I hear people saying that mums are ‘superheroes’, because what it does is setting unrealistic expectations and putting a tremendous pressure on mothers.  It is this unspoken message that comes with this ‘compliment’ that if you choose to become a mother you do not have the luxury anymore to have needs and wants and to be anything but perfect. However, becoming a mum does not mean that you become a robot and I imagine even these would break down over time without proper maintenance.
In addition, what is the message we send to our children by trying to be perfect? If a mum is not allowed to make mistakes or to be tired etc, many children interpret this as the right/only way of being. And this might lead to unhealthy perfectionism Also, more often that not this pressure to be a super human being might lead mothers to experience feelings of resentment, anger, guilt and other negative emotions or  mix of emotions, which often manifest with ‘martyr’ like behaviours. And when a mum acts like a ‘martyr’ kids usually feel like a burden, not cherished as some might think. Furthermore, by not asking for what she needs (sleep, time for self care, social time etc) children might get the message that they should not ask help or should not voice their needs. On the other hand when mothers take care of themselves, they model/teach our children how todo this for themselves.
So mums, don’t try to be superheroes – be the loving, caring but still human parents that you are!

Teaching children about equality.

Did you know that babies start recognising racial differences as early as 6 months old and that they start internalising ideas about race, gender etc as early as 2 years old?

When they are around 2 to 3 years old our little ones start processing all the messages, spoken and unspoken, that they receive from the world about what it means to be black, white, yellow, blue, girl, boy, tall, short etc. And unless we educate them differently, they will accept the ideas they receive as true.

Children will not naturally come to the conclusion that we are all equally important, as unfortunately this is not the world we live in and these are not the messages they receive. As parents we have to actively educate them about what the issues are and about how to be kind to everyone. I would even take it a step further and say we need to teach them that we should stand up (each one of us in our own way) to bullies, racists, discrimination and injustice when we come across it.

I wish for a future that all adults and children will leave in harmony, but the only way to get there is by educating the younger generations now.

You don’t need to be perfect as a parent

You don’t need to be perfect as a parent, just ‘good enough’ IS enough.

Donald Woods Winnicott (1896–1971) was an English paediatrician and psychoanalyst, whose work and innovating for the time ideas had a great impact on psychoanalysis and the way children and parenthood are viewed today. One of the very important ideas that Winnicott introduce first, is that of the ‘good enough mother/caregiver’ (1953). According to Winnicott there is no such thing as a perfect parent as there is no such thing as a perfect human. The caregiver needs to be ‘good enough’ not perfect, and that is enough for a healthy baby and child development.
Specialists in Brain Development today take it one step further and advise that children learn from the mistakes of parents and that a parent being perfect, if such thing was possible, would actually not be good for their child’s development. Dr Daniel Siegel advises that children learn from the ‘rupture and repair’ in the relationship between parent and child, as long as parents are able to repair.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and advice about ‘should and shouldn’t s’ in terms of parenting, and where many parents run themselves to the ground in order to be perfect for their children, I find great relief and hope in these ideas.