Volume 5 Issue 4

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Page 13 of 63

I turned myself inside out trying to be the perfect natural momma. I neglected to set healthy boundaries for my own wellbeing. I was in the constant pressure cooker of myself! And from the emails and Facebook posts I get, I know that many of you are, too. The part that I reflect on most, now that my kids are grown and naviga ng their own lives (and their own paren ng styles), is that, while I was modeling, being the uber hip, loving and natural mom, I was also modeling alongside of it the idea that taking care of self means selfish. And that's just not true. With the luxury of retrospect that age brings, and perhaps a li le wisdom, too, I now realize why I was "over paren ng" – as I now think of it. I worked really hard to be the best at everything, because I believed that I was only enough when I was the best. I translated this belief into mothering. I had mistakenly believed that only perfect was enough. Sound familiar? But there is no best mother. There is no "perfect mother." She is a myth. She is a myth that keeps us from understanding our own mothers with compassion, and she is a crazy-making myth for us, in the midst of, what is really a very messy, uncertain job with no possibility of perfec on: Motherhood. NOT ENOUGH is a wound that a lot of women internalize throughout our lives. As a result, we live our lives proving to others (and thus ourselves) that we are more than enough. But in the process, we risk, missing out, on living, as Mary Oliver calls is our "one wild and precious life." None of us can be a perfect mother. None of us can really be perfect at being anything but who we really are. In trying to be perfect, we inevitably fail and fail again. Then we try to push ourselves harder to be more perfect next me. Vicious cycle. The wheel goes round and round. And, maybe being the "best" mother isn't actually, se ng the best example of a life well lived to our kids. My kids didn't really need "mom" quite as much as I thought they did – so in some ways, my beliefs chipped into a greater resilience I could have ins lled when they were young. "Yes, mommy is going for a massage and a night out with friends, and No, you will not die." Maybe le ng life be messy, making mistakes and being okay with them, and nurturing our own "wild and precious life" eventually gives our kids permission to grow up and do the same. As a midwife and physician, much of my life's work is dedicated to helping women find wholeness, wellness, authen city, and fulfillment in their lives. I want us to be able to thrive, laugh, be curious, fail gracefully, and succeed joyfully. To experience our wild and precious lives! 5 TIPS for Being the BEST POSSIBLE MOTHER HAPPIEST YOU EVER 1. Be the best YOU that you can be. Be a role model of full, whole-hearted living. Love what you're doing — and take a break when you're not. Be the kind of person and live the kind of life you hope your kids will have the chance to be/live when they grow up. 2. Rather than bea ng yourself up for not being "good enough," find things each day to be proud about in your mothering each day. Write them down. Reread them when you're in doubt. 3. Have regularly scheduled me for you, and barring an unforeseeable and unavoidable act of nature – s ck to it. Make it a good amount of me – at least a 2-hour stretch, at least once a week. Start when your kids are babies and keep it up as a steady me for you that your whole family honors. If you think that you can't make this happen because you believe you don't have help, enough me, etc., then get the help and Page 14| Abby's Magazine -

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