How Can You Be a Good Mother Amongst All Expectations

Is it even possible or are we supposed to fail?

Zita Fontaine

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Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash

Ever since I got pregnant 16 years ago with my first child, I have been struggling with the concept of becoming a good mother. How are you supposed to take on a role where the conditions are everchanging, where the rules are flexible, and the goalpost is always moving? How can you meet all the expectations around you and how can you navigate around your own expectations when you have no experience of knowing what’s coming around the next corner? How can you get good at something when it feels that you are not good enough? How can you comply with everything your kid needs when you don’t even know which behaviour of yours will bring the best result — as society tells you one thing, your mother another, your mother-in-law another and your gut feeling is something completely different from all the above?

Being a mother is the toughest job in the world. Even being a shitty mother is tough. The worst mothers (the way one would define these changes from person to person, so this is already an impossible definition, to begin with) struggle too. Because being a mother — or a parent for that effect, but I am a mother therefore I can only describe this part — is difficult. Emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially. In every way.

All the worry, the anxiety, the self-doubt, the uncertainty, the lack of sleep, the confusion, the emotional ups and downs be it from hormonal changes, the terrible twos or raising a teenager, the anger, the frustration, the feeling of uselessness — it’s crippling.

I am not trying to say that it’s all bad. No way. Of course, it’s beautiful and rewarding too. It is a great thing to be a mother, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But my point is, that it seems that being a good mother is impossible.

First, it is yourself you fight with. Having no idea what to do, thinking that everybody else is doing it better, questioning yourself at every corner — it’s part of the job.

Then, it’s everyone around you, friends and family and your community and schools and society that make you question yourself — by setting impossible standards, telling you their opinion, sometimes in a nice way…

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Zita Fontaine

Writer. Dreamer. Hopeless romantic. Newsletter: zita.substack.com Email me: zitafontaine (at) gmail