It’s funny how we go through life with expectations of how things will or “should” be. Then often getting a big old slap in the face from reality. Growing up, I had the perfect and incredibly stereotypical image of how my life would be:married, the dream house, a couple of kids running around, maybe a couple of dogs too… my reality, single Mum to my beautiful little best friend, taking on the world just the two of us.
When I was pregnant, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d done a stupid amount of research;listening to endless advice from friends and family to the point that my mind was kind of spinning with information. As soon as Maddie arrived though, that all disappeared. Something in my head and heart just clicked. This was my baby, and I will do what’s best for her and (at the time) my family. Forget everyone else’s opinions as no two babies are the same.
I think I adapted to being a parent incredibly well. I mean maybe it helped that Maddie on the whole has been a very well behaved, happy and independent baby but I do think it helped that I was very strong minded on what kind of parent I wanted to be. I just wanted to go with the flow and work around Maddie’s cues. Babies are human after all, and some daysthey’rejust not as hungry as others, or some days they’re more or less tired. I believe thisattitude helped me be a pretty calm Mum.I’ve never overly stressed or obsessed with anything. Being a millennial parent, I wonder whether my decision to “go with the flow” was influenced by the social media dominated world we live in today? I know I have never given in to pressure or judgement online, so maybe my happy-go-lucky attitude is me rebelling to the online “Mum police”. I have also always been particular about making time for me. I knew how easy it would be to forget about looking after myself while channeling all my efforts into looking after Maddie. But if I wasn’t fit and healthy physically and mentally, how could I expect myself to be the best Mum I possibly could be?
When Maddie was 11 months old, my whole world came crashing down. I became a single Mum. Even now, it still feels weird saying those words and labelling myself in that way. I was far from my old childhood fantasy of having the “perfect happy family”. My confidence was gone, and even though I still gave everything I could tobeing the best Mum that I knew I was and could be, I still doubted myself. My recurring thought was, “will I be enough?” … I knew I wasn’t the first women to go through this, and unfortunately, I won’t be the last, yet I felt so lonely.
Although I didn’t really want to talk about what I’d gone through, and still don’t like to in detail, the social media motherhood community I found myself in was my saviorandI will be eternally grateful for that. I no longer felt lonely. Being able to connect to so many women also experiencing the same journey as me definitely helped me through the dark times. I think back to when my Mum had me and the Instagram world didn’t exist, how different things would’ve been, where would I have turned to then? It’s funny how I didn’t let the judgement and potential negativity of social media affect my decisions of how to parent but how I almost needed affirmation that I was doing a good job to rebuild my confidence in myself as a mother…
So fast forward to today, and what kind of Mum am I? The best Mum I could possibly be is what! Nomatter what is happening around us,I still parent with my same gut instincts and intuition, following Maddie’s cues and her own individual development. Iknow I am also a much stronger and independent mama. The confidence that I lost following heartbreak has come back in full bloom, there was never anything wrong with me or how I parent, it wasn’t me who was the problem. I’ve stopped doubting and second guessing my decisions because I know they come from my heart and are what’s best for Maddie and myself and that is how I plan on continuing to parent.
Lots of love, Bethany x
A big thank you to Johnson’s Baby who have very kindly sponsored this post, but all words and opinions written are my own. #AD
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