I remember times when I was young thinking, "When I am a mother, I will do things differently."
I had a wonderful mother, but even wonderful mothers do things we don’t approve of when we are young. There were times I would judge my mother through the lens of someone who has never experienced motherhood, and she came up wanting in my mind. I knew I could do it better.
Then, I had the great privilege of giving birth to my firstborn child. He was a gift to me in so many ways, but one of the greatest gifts he gave me was the ability to see my mother through a different lens. Suddenly, I understood. Suddenly, I could see why she did the things she did. My judgment turned to gratitude. I began to wonder if I could actually do the job as well as my mother had.
Watch: Things mums never hear. Post continues below.
Being a mother is the hardest job on the planet. I have never heard anyone refute it. Only those who have never been a mother would be so stupid as to say it isn’t true. Our society puts so much pressure on mothers to perform their job without complaint, selflessly and seamlessly, never losing their cool, never yelling or becoming exasperated, never looking for the line in the contract that will get them out of this job.
But if you are a mother, you have done all those things at one time or another. Because what society forgets when they assign mothers the task of being perfect is that mothers are human, too. Until we come up with a better system, human children will be raised by human mothers who are flawed. We need to stop judging mothers by an impossible standard and give them permission to fail, make mistakes, and get it wrong sometimes.
I will always remember the day that my teenage daughter screamed those searing words no mother ever wants to hear — “I HATE YOU!”
At that moment, after the initial shock of the knife being plunged into my heart, I felt the dull ache of a memory come roaring back in my mind. I was 15. My mum and I were having an argument that I am certain I started. I tried to get away from her so I went out onto the porch. She followed me and I whirled around in my teenage sense of superiority and yelled those words into her face — “I hate you!” I said it with as much vehemence and conviction as I could muster (which was a lot).