A great lie is that all women are natural mothers and that we are all supposed to enjoy pursuing being a perfect mother. A Perfect Mother: is one of the greatest shams that we, as women, are beating ourselves up for not being. Or on the other side the women and men who look down on someone being “just” a mom. It is such a no-win situation. There is no "perfect" mother and just because you're female doesn’t mean you're automatically cut out for mother perfection. So now we have all been set up for the white elephant in the room which no one can state except in therapy: my mother failed me. I have looked a ton of clients and myself on this issue.
Daughters who must choose duty and sons who must prove loyal to the “perfect mother” sham are just trapped in this cycle in a whole other way with its resentments, anger, insecurity and deep questioning of themselves as if they are likable or lovable. And there is so much going on with women’s projected resentment of having to be the perfect mom or expecting our children to validate us as being the perfect mom. Then there is the gnawing of guilt that no matter how well things look on the surface the subconscious underbelly of not having done enough or lying about how great a mom you are wrecks the mind and the body on many levels. Surprisingly even high integrity genuinely loving parents (both loving and caring at the physical and the subconscious/spiritual level) can still have children with some parental issues to work through.
This is the problem not of us as individual mothers or certainly not as children. I think it is a failure of modern isolationism and how we practice “ownership” over our children. Humans evolved as communities where child rearing was a shared large group responsibility - our success on the planet has proved that model works. It has been only the last couple hundred years (and most
particularly the last 50) that raising children is in isolation of other members/caregivers/family. It takes a village to raise a child, and modern life is about isolation at every level. Mothers simultaneously resent all the burden they must shoulder and so are not fully available, present, abandoning and even abusing. But the fear and taint of being called a bad mother, as well as a deep need not to feel alone or wanting to be loved, creates parental behaviors of making children feel insecure, needy and not fully maturing into independence so they can leave the mother. I have seen this across generations and struggled with relationships with my grandmother and other female care takers, my mother, my daughter and women. I have seen those whom self is defined by mother-hood so the control that extends from this onto their children is smothering to invalidating. The mother-child relationship is such a deep bond that it takes incredible sense of self to be really free of it.
I think it is time to give ourselves, our mothers and our children freedom by just admitting the obvious: motherhood is hard, under-valued, taxing and in a constant state of anything but perfect. And we have all been given a raw deal by expecting that one
person can, should and must be capable enough to fill all the 24/7, multitude and complex needs a child rightly has. Who can live up to that? It’s got disappointment written all over it and how does it play out similarly in romantic love (“You are my everything”). Those are some heavy to impossible expectations. It is not fair to anyone of us to keep this lie going. Be happy to share your child to the love, wisdom, caring, play and intelligence of those with good integrity if you have that opportunity (many of us do not). Educate
and enable your child to grow into a person who can meet their own needs and so when grown chooses to have an adult to adult relationship with you because they love and like you, not because they have been turned into Mama’s Boys or Approval Seeking Girls. So don’t demand perfection of yourself or that view from your children, we will all be happier and more content for it.
-Trella Davis, Mother