Is there such a thing as the perfect mother? I really don’t think so.
Are there ways to be a good mother? Award winning Guardian columnist, Suzanne Moore says yes. And I tend to agree with her.
Let’s face it, parenting is like a trying to navigate your way through a foreign country without a map or knowledge of the local language. You can read every book on the shelf but at the end of the day, you pretty much just have to trust your instincts, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
The rights and the wrongs are fairly black and white. DO NOT let them play on the road or light matches. DO try to feed them nutritious food and keep them sheltered and safe.
But there are some other, less obvious lessons as parents that we can’t be told about, that we have to experience firsthand to understand.
Suzanne Moore points out, it’s not all about you.
In her recent article that was published in The Observer, “How to be a good mother”, Moore encourages mothers to relax, recognise that no child ever died from crying and most importantly, to get a lock for the bedroom door “If you ever want to have sex again”.
Here are some more of her wisdoms:
“Everything is a phase. Even the long one from 10 to 16 called adolescence or the Seventh Circle of Hell. At this point you need to know only three things: children do not learn by your mistakes but by their own; the fact that they want you around does not mean they want to be with you or even talk to you; and lastly, parents are very poor at risk assessment. In other words: let them go.”
This too shall pass. It will feel like you are in the middle of a hurricane for most of your child’s life. Just know that from toddlerhood through to adulthood, they will keep you guessing. They will surprise you, scare you, delight you and often disappoint you. And although you won’t always like them, you will always love them. Hey, you might get lucky and never receive an eye roll or an irrational slammed door. If you do though, can you contact the Vatican? You may have just witnessed a miracle.
“If you want a life, make your children portable. Teach them to sit at tables in restaurants, sleep in airports, talk to strangers, pass out in buggies in pub gardens. Do not let them express their feelings at all times. This is manners. Please, thank you and knocking on a door before they go in will open doors for them for the rest of their lives.”
Seriously, that last sentence should be every school’s motto.
“Put a lock on your bedroom door if you want sex. Ever again.”
Seriously. Just do this. I say this even though my youngest child has learned how to spring the lock recently. Sometimes it feels like I gave birth to Butch Cassidy.
“Introduce them to new partners only if something going on is more than sex.”
Life is messy as an adult. Your own relationships can be confusing to your children but it doesn’t have to be. I agree with Suzanne here. Until you are sure that the person has the potential to be more than just ‘fun’, try and avoid introductions.