I’m the proud mother of two sassy and strong-willed daughters under 10. And while I know I still have so much to learn, I feel like I’m finally in a place where I know who I am and the type of mum I want to be.
It took a lot for me to get here - including a separation.
Watch: Be a good mum. Post continues below.
But now, two years into single mum life, I can honestly say I’m a better parent than I ever was before.
When I had my first child, I had so many unrealistic expectations of myself. Like most new parents, I had plenty of pre-conceived ideas about raising children, but I also felt a pressure to parent in a way that satisfied my husband.
He was only slightly older than me in years but felt much older in his personality and outlook on life. He was very black and white in his views, had a strong moral compass and set high standards for people around him.
I looked up to him and trusted his judgment, and in a way, really deferred a lot of decisions about my own life to him. I came into the relationship at 19 years old, with unresolved shame and control issues, so his strong leadership and decisiveness were comforting to me.
Our relationship evolved with him very much in charge, and that translated into how I raised our daughters. I found myself constantly checking my parenting to see if it would be acceptable to him.
Whatever I did, I was anxious to get his approval. And he was always willing and ready to approve, or disapprove, as he saw fit. This would impact everything from what I fed them and what they could watch on TV, to what values were instilled in them.
As a result, I was stricter and less tolerant with my girls. I felt I had to uphold a standard imposed by my partner. I was in charge of my kids, and the main caregiver, but I had a supervisor above me. I felt like I was constantly trying to prove myself and demonstrate perfect parenting to my husband, and others around me. It sounds pathetic, and it was.
I’m a deep-thinking, creative, loud and messy person. I am most comfortable in complicated and emotional situations. I love philosophy and debating, craft and curiosity. I’ve never stuck to rules and I instinctively baulk at rigid process and routine.