Permission to mess up

permission (1 of 4)

photos by Yvonne

As my children and I sprinted to school this morning, half way through our journey, it occurred to me that I didn’t pack water for them to take to school. As we huffed and puffed  to make it to the school gate on time (on the first day back after half term), I told them they had no water in their rucksack. I suggested they  should drink from the water fountain in their school. They were fine with my suggestion.  But, I wasn’t comfortable with my suggestion. I didn’t felt guilty (as some mums would have felt). I don’t really know what I felt, but I wanted to make my kids happy. So, I promised them that I’d go the shops, buy two bottles of water and bring them off at the school office.

But Guess what? I didn’t. I forgot. I messed up. But, I’m not going to be hard on myself for messing up. For breaking my promise to my daughters.

I really wanted to buy bottles of water for them (my kids love bottled water). However, I’m Yvonne and in real Yvonne’s style, I forgot. I only realised when I got back home. Knowing my daughters – especially Lore – they’ll be waiting eagerly for the school’s receptionists to deliver their bottled water to them. But you know what? Give them a few hours and they’ll have forgotten. They are not going to judge me for forgetting. Children never do.

This is just one of the numerous examples of how I mess up as a mum. At other times, messing up for me means yelling at my daughters when we’re running late for school (I’m mainly the reason why we leave home late). Messing up means guilt tripping my daughter to change their minds to suit my needs. HELLO… What about the time I messed up when I forgot to pick them up from Gym Club. Or the time I forgot to attend their Open Day at school. Or that I’m always late to pick them up from school because I’m a working mum. I can go on and on about how I have messed up but I won’t. It isn’t why I am writing this post.

permission (3 of 4)

Photos by Yvonne

As mums, take it or leave it – we’ll mess up. We’ll speak (and do things) to our kids that we wouldn’t dare say to another child. It is unfair and it’s not right but in real life, that is what mums do. We don’t mean to disappoint or hurt our children’s feelings but we do it anyway. T

So, what can we do when we mess up?

1)  Don’t be hard on yourself.

2) And give yourself the permission to mess up in the first place because you’ll always mess up.

The only thing  I ask mamas to do when they mess up is: say sorry to the little people you have hurt or disappointed. So, at pick-up, I’ll be saying sorry to my daughters. Saying sorry conveys to our kids that their mamas are human beings; we are trying our best and we are not perfect. But most importantly, we are not hard on ourselves. This teaches them not to be hard on themselves when they mess up.

May I say while we are on this subject that as mums, our aim should not be how to be the perfect mum. This is not attainable. The definition of perfectionism according to Dr Brené Brown is:

“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”  

What mums should be aiming for is to be the best mum we can be for our munchkins. To be the best mum is to be a good enough mum – that is all our kids want from us. They don’t want a perfect mum. And BTW, perfect mums are boring!

As mums, we must also learn to be kind to ourselves – particularly when we mess up. Mums are very bad at being kind to themselves. They know how to be kind and encouraging of other mums, but not themselves. What I’m trying to say is: Just be your own best friend and treat yourself the way you would a best friend.

Finally, to be a good enough mum is to give yourself the permission to mess up in the first place… because you’ll always mess up. Make peace with that.

Yvonne xxx

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Comments (2) Write a comment

  1. A lovely post yvonne. I’m always messing up or ‘dropping balls’ as i usually describe it. Not just at being a mum but in every aspect of my life and although i try to convince myself that it’s ok and to be expected when your juggling lots of life’s balls, i can’t help feeling guilty all the time. Something i clearly need to work on. Have a lovely day. Amanda

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