Peeling back the layers

Guilt and shame.

Two words mothers know so well.

“Too well” many would say.

These two feelings are unwelcome but prevalent in motherhood.

It’s mostly because we care so deeply for our children that we feel these things at all.

But that’s not the only reason.

These two feelings are heightened by judgment. By information overload. By unwanted opinions from others.

It’s all so loud sometimes.

And when it’s not, it’s the little comments and questions that stick too.

“Don’t you think she’s too old for that?”.

”Lucky kids. We don’t allow that in our home”.

“Wow, he knows the theme song to that cartoon already?”.

And we listen, acutely, don’t we?

Because we worry.

Because we feel like we should.

Because we often don’t have the mental strength or energy to do otherwise.

We then question ourselves.

And that’s hard.

We wear the doubt, the feelings of not-enough-ness and “they deserve better” on every part of us.

Layers and layers of it some days.

We lay awake at night beating ourselves up,

About the extra screen time, the dummy that was used at the dinner table against someone’s view of “correct” parenting, or the one time we didn’t use gentle parenting today.

And we let those layers cover the majority of everything else that we are proud of.

The moments of us making them laugh and smile, of helping them to learn and grow, of letting them know that they are loved in every form, imperfect moments included.

It’s us doing it to ourselves, but it’s also others helping us to get there.

And here’s the thing: We can’t control others, but we can try to control ourselves and how much we let others affect us.

So here’s to peeling back the layers of guilt and shame already weighing us down, and to leaving the layers from ourselves and others scattered on the floor behind us.

We need to let the core of our mothering shine through.

The parts that make us great mothers.

We need to love ourselves through our mothering with much less guilt and shame,

Including our own inevitable imperfect moments.

Read next: Dear Motherhood

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