Being a Good Mother

by Anne Malatt, Australia

I never thought I would be a “good” mother.

My role model for a mother was a “superwoman” – a woman who worked hard in a demanding job all day, who came home and cooked gourmet meals at night, who provided for us in every way, who did all the household chores and maintained a large and lovely garden, but who was exhausted and loveless for herself, and drank as a substitute for nurturing and celebrating herself. I did not think I could live up to this, and did not really want to!

Her relationship with my father was also not something I wanted for myself. My father also worked hard at work, but he came home at 5pm, as she did, and sat and “relaxed” (with a drink), while she worked at home. I did not think this was fair, but at the same time blamed her for their difficult relationship, as she was the one who started all the fighting.

I was not “good” at relationships, I was not a “good” partner, and I did not think I would be a “good” parent.

I had an unattainable ideal of what a man should be, which no human could ever live up to, and if by chance someone came close, I did not feel I deserved to be with him!

How could I develop a loving relationship in which to raise and nurture children? I had not yet developed a loving relationship with myself.

Despite all this, I have borne two lovely children. My relationship with their father disintegrated early on and I left him and raised them on my own when they were little. I worked hard at work and did all the household chores. I also drank as a substitute for nurturing and celebrating myself. It was the only way I knew how to stop, to take a moment to rest. The trouble with drinking as a way of resting is that it does not work. It is a sugar hit, which makes you feel racy and keeps you up past your natural bedtime. It numbs you, so you cannot feel what is there to be felt and dealt with. It takes you away from yourself, so you are not present with you or with those around you. It leaves you feeling empty, and in the morning, all the problems you were trying to escape from are still there, and magnified by the dull pain in your head!

All my intelligence, all my education, all my exploration of spirituality, of consciousness, of religion, did not prepare me for motherhood. I felt completely inadequate as a mother, and did not have a clue what to do. I had never nurtured and cared for myself, and had no idea how to truly care for another. I did my best for the kids and cared for their physical needs, but honestly, was not a good mother. When people complimented me on how lovely they were, I joked that it was because they were raised by other people (in day care)… but I was not joking.

When the children were small, I met Serge Benhayon. I shared with a friend of mine that I was really struggling, and she said she had heard there was a great healer in the area. In my first session with him, I felt how lovely it was to be treated gently, tenderly, with care and respect, by a man. I felt who I truly was, as a woman. The grandness of this was amazing, but also something that felt familiar, and completely natural. I felt a deep sense of stillness, of love, of coming home.

One would think that I would have done everything I could to hold that feeling, and to live in that energy. But I did not. I ran back to old habits of doing, of thinking, of drinking, run by old patterns that still held me. But I kept coming back to see Serge and bless him – he kept seeing me with never an ounce of judgement, only love. Each time I saw him I would return to myself and be given an opportunity to feel love, to be love.

This much love cannot be resisted forever! Eventually I learnt to make more loving choices, for myself and for my children. I learnt to go to bed earlier, to rest when I was tired, to listen to my body and to learn how to nurture it, with food, with drink, with rest and play. I learnt how to balance work and my home life. I learnt how to balance caring for myself and caring for my family.

I learnt that I am a woman first, and that motherhood is something that I do, but it is not who I am.

I may not have been a “good” mother, but I am becoming an amazing woman and from that loveliness, everything I do is great, including being a mother.

466 thoughts on “Being a Good Mother

  1. When we picture roles we have, and go about our roles with expectations we are bound to fail, yet when we build relationships based on love, learning how to nurture ourselves first, being a mother comes far more naturally.

  2. This blog makes clear that we can adopt any pattern of movement and try hard to make it work (understood as bringing me to tomorrow somehow). Yet, it is only when we are deeply confirmed in our essence that we can feel clearly that the way of moving is not it because it only moves me away from my being. Changing it is the only thing that opens a new feeling for life and new paths to walk.

  3. Learning that what we do is NOT who we are is a big lesson for most people and the sooner we learn the lesson the easier life becomes. Any form of identification with a role we play leaves us depleted and devoid of feeling the love that we naturally are.

  4. A lesson for every woman who is also a mother is the self-care that you speak of that then in turn allows you to be truly caring of others.

  5. So many mothers become a ‘superwoman’ and totally forget to honour their feelings, always putting another’s needs first, so the choice to deeply nurture and love yourself Anne is the greatest gift we can offer our children.

  6. I can see how we exhaust ourselves with the expectations of being ‘good’ mums, sisters, daughters etc etc. In the distraction and busyness of living up to all of that, we forget to simply allow ourselves to be and connect to what we know best – our natural selves.

  7. I was talking to a group of mothers the other day and all were sharing how exhausted they are. There was a belief that they all spoke about, the need to look after everyone else first and how exhausting this was and how it can then also make you resentful because it feels like no-one considers you. I have had this reflected in my own life and am learning that I need to consider me and when I do this also changes in how others are with me.

  8. I am discovering how this being ‘good’ thing has infiltrated into my way of being in quite a few areas. It doesn’t have to be an obvious role per se, but it seems like there’s this ingrained response that gets activated when I leave myself thinking that it would please others, or I would be recognized – either way, it completely overrides what is actually going on for me and this always leaves me very unsettled in my body.

  9. Self care is so important for mothers and everybody in fact but mothers tend to go into the self-sacrificing role of being there for everyone else but not themselves, when we learn to truly care for ourselves we can them truly care for others.

  10. I am perhaps a little late in life realising that when I hear the word ‘good’, especially in relation to something I am aspiring to be, that I have lost myself to an image. Being a good mother comes as a pre-loaded package with all sorts of ideals and beliefs, obligations and expectations. You have no chance of being the woman you really are whilst being a ‘good’ mother. I found it also impairs your decision making when kids are raised by what is good (and socially acceptable) rather than what is true.

  11. It’s not the role, it’s us being the amazingness of who we are and in being so, we bring that to all we do naturally, no trying or striving needed.

  12. Amazing – in the beginning of your blog, I feel what I think a lot of women would relate to, not knowing how to be a mother and never feeling adequate or like they are doing it right. A recent movie was entirely based around being a bad mother, but while that movie went in the direction of excusing the behaviour and blaming the impossible standards of society, you took a different root and came to a far more supportive realisation – that yes, measuring up to the outside expectations and demands of motherhood is exhausting and impossible, but only because we have not basis of love and relationship with ourselves first – we get caught in that outer spin and never feel enough. But when we build a connection to who we are as women first, we give ourselves the best possible start we can, so that everything that comes after is from this inner place, not the outside.

  13. When we reconnect to our own essence then we get to feel our own amazingness and this is reflected in our activities like work and parenting. When I was agonising about not being a good enough parent part of my struggle was my sense of not being at ease with myself so always questioning if anything I was doing was ‘good enough’ and always finding myself wanting.

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