Today I was reminded of why I began decluttering and examining my values and beliefs. All too often I notice mothers talking about feeling guilty about not getting housework done, worrying about ‘bad habits’ relating to where their baby or child sleeps or how they fall asleep.
It is so easy to fall into a pattern of accepting beliefs and values around you, as when we are children we are taught about society by our parents, and adopt their beliefs and values, on the whole, until we are old enough to become more individual and self-aware. While toddlers may begin to assert their independence, they look at their parents with awe and wonder, believing everything they say.
One of my challenges and objectives really is to try to be neutral about many things, so that my child can choose for himself, what he believes. I feel that many parents are not aware of the strength their beliefs and values have in shaping the lives of their children. And for many people in my generation, it has been the acquiring of things and wealth, the belief that if you buy a home, have children, fill your home with things and drive a fancy car that life will be good, you have made it, and you’ll be happy.
So many people realise then that it’s not the case. Our world relies heavily on the promotion of happiness, as the ultimate goal. Consumerism and consumption are powerful tools to get you there, but realising that is not the only way, at least for me, has been empowering.
As mothers we have many expectations of ourselves, of our children, our partners and our families. We expect things to go smoothly, to look like it does on social media, to be able to cope and function with a life changing event without breaking a sweat. I’m not sure what women thought in the ice-age, or how its done in Africa, but I believe a big part of the guilt new mothers feel in 2018, in Western developed countries, is due to expectations. Whether we place them on ourselves, or its due to pressure from family or friends, the end result is discontent, a feeling of being unworthy, fear and isolation.
Perhaps if mothers could tap into their beliefs and values, they might find a little more kindness for themselves: maybe that inner voice can say ‘you’re doing a great job, don’t feel guilty you didn’t make dinner / do the laundry / have a shower today’. Maybe that inner voice could say ‘you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing right now’. Let’s make it simple? Motherhood is hard, all of it, and if we can simplify what we are trying to achieve each day, we have a better chance of making it through, and being content, of feeling loved and valued.