“What if you don’t have the type of mum who we see on TV and in movies?” Bec Sparrow asked on the most recent episode of Mamamia’s lifestyle podcast, The Well.
This week, we’ve seen a conversation emerge about motherhood regret. Socially, we’ve been fed the image of the blissful, domestic, endlessly nurturing mum, who insists “being a mum is the best job in the world” – the woman who simply did not know the meaning of life before her cherubic offspring.
And indeed, there might be some truth to that narrative. But, as we’ve discovered this week, there’s far more to it.
LISTEN: Bec Sparrow and Robin Bailey discuss what to do if your mother was toxic on The Well. Post continues below…
A number of women have come forward to ‘confess’ they regret being mothers. But there’s another subsection of women that we routinely ignore in our representation of motherhood.
Mothers who are toxic. Mothers who do not know how to nurture. Mothers who find that motherhood does not at all come easily to them.
Bec Sparrow referenced Nikki Gemmell, who writes in her most recent book, After, “Sometimes wilfully you live your adult life in opposition to how you were parented.”
There are men and women who live with mothers capable of immense cruelty. Some weep all the way home in the car after a visit, or have had to move to a new state, or haven’t spoken to their mothers despite the addition of grandchildren to their families.
So, when these people who have been poorly parented, become parents themselves, how can they possibly know what to do?
Bec Sparrow, author, columinst and speaker says that she has one piece of advice.
"Just do the opposite of what was done to you."
"Because you don't have a blueprint to parent off," she said to co-host Robin Bailey. "What you've been taught by your parents is what not to do."
"And that's just as powerfully actually as being taught what to do."
You can listen to the full episode of The Well below...
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