Mothers are wonderful at providing support and encouragement in a family but are often the person who rarely asks for help and support when they need it most. Being a mother is not easy, especially in today’s society where most families need a dual income just to survive. As mothers we often put on a brave front. We worry about being judged if we were to admit that we are struggling to cope with family life. There are different coaches for so many aspects of life; there are business and life coaches, sporting and fitness coaches, financial coaches and even spiritual coaches. So why not have someone in your square encouraging and supporting you in the most important role of your life – motherhood.
Sometimes we look around and see what appears like all the other mothers coping perfectly and it can feel wrong to put your hand up and say, “Actually, I am really finding motherhood hard at the moment”. Our lives are so much more on display nowadays with social media. Images of our friends “perfect” children, holidays, birthday parties, and birth announcements, right down to the perfectly cooked family meal are all easily accessible. These images can remind us of how imperfect our life at times can be. This can put a lot of extra pressure on a mother who is already struggling to stay afloat. A friend said last week, after she came over unexpectedly and I was embarrassed that my kitchen table had not been wiped down that, “we as mothers need to stop apologising to other mothers for how our house looks”. Sometimes motherhood is just about surviving the day and ensuring that your children are fed and loved.
On top of trying to manage a household and work (whether it is paid or all the volunteer work mothers do at schools and kindergartens) some mothers have to add supporting a child or children with learning or behavioural difficulties to the pile. It can be very isolating when you feel like you are the only one whose child isn’t easily picking up reading, or isn’t mastering sight words. It can also be exhausting trying to control your child’s behaviour or not being able to stop and chat to other mothers because you have to leave quickly to avoid a meltdown at the end of the school day.
So how can we help these children, who challenge their mothers, navigate the turbulent years of childhood and adolescence so that their unique gifts are harnessed and appreciated? It is through supporting mothers to better understand their child’s behaviour and then helping them advocate for their child so that they can grow up not feeling like an outcast. Children will excel when given the conditions to thrive.
Speaking to a counsellor or coach allows a mother to offload her worries and concerns in a safe and comfortable environment to a person who genuinely cares. Admitting you are struggling doesn’t make you a bad mother it makes you an honest and realistic mother who wants to do the best she can by her children. Options, goals, strategies and self-awareness can be explored to make life easier for mothers and in turn help the child to know that they are perfect just the way they are. As Rita Pierson said “Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” In most children’s lives this is their mother.
I wish that I had spoken to a counsellor or motherhood coach when my sons were starting their schooling journey and I felt so alone and confused. We all need somebody at different times in our life to lean on for support and motherhood is no different. Sometimes you can find comfort in a good friend or your own mother but other times you need someone who is further removed from the situation and who really understands what you are going through. This is why I started Motherhood & You.
Counsellor & Author of 'Ben's School Daze'
Owner Motherhood & You
Co-Director Magnetic Moves