Honest Mum and kids
When I think back to having my first baby, Oliver, now 7, in January 2010 I mostly remember feeling utterly petrified.

I’d suffered a traumatic birth after an emergency section, with only a week’s maternity leave (mostly spent in and out of hospital) and a baby who arrived by force within hours of being induced.

Like Oliver himself, I just wasn’t ready for his entrance, either.

Is anyone ever ready for motherhood, though? Probably not.

Maybe though, the women whose babies don’t arrive early or via c-section experience more of an adjustment period somehow. Perhaps that’s what labour is? Somewhat of a rights of passage you go through to help you transition from being a pregnant woman to a mother with babe in arms.  I don’t know. My pondering does not by any means discredit c-sections either. A birth is a birth, but it’s the urgent, crash, emergency part of a section that shocked me beyond belief.

I didn’t feel that way when I had an elective with Alexander. I mentally prepared myself for that and it was calm and beautiful. The birth I wish I’d had with Oliver.

Anyway, I digress. In all the worry, confusion, relief and love I felt when Oliver arrived, the biggest fear I had, the one which eclipsed all others was that I wasn’t a good enough mum, nor would I ever be. It was a cocktail of feeling clueless, out of my depth and overwhelmed.

I told myself that a good mum wouldn’t have failed her son (I had a pregnancy related liver condition that led to the section)…a good mum wouldn’t feel sh** at that moment in time (the supposedly happiest of my life), a good mum would be like the ones I’d so often seen in the movies bursting with joy at their baby’s arrived, not afraid for the future.

What a load of baloney.

Thank goodness for social media, blogs and vlogs that (eventually) told me I wasn’t alone. Whilst there weren’t many parenting bloggers out there at the time, I was one of the first, connecting with like-minded mums, and later dads, firstly on Twitter and then elsewhere online showed me my feelings were common. That birth, whichever the way a child was born, could lead to feelings of inadequacy, shock and depression.

This blog, social media, reaching out to friends and family, and a great therapist, pieced me back together again.

Then what happened? Like other parents I just got on with it, I learnt how to be a mum on the job as we all do.

I became accustomed to my new normal: life as a mum.  The juggle, the hustle, the work/life balance and so often, the imbalance. I rediscovered my voice, identity and even style, rediscovering myself but transforming in the process too.

As with my creative career, I rarely look back and reflect on milestone, patting myself on the back. It’s not my style. I’m trying to more because it’s important to well being and self-worth; to feel proud of goals met and dreams being made but you’ll mostly find me cracking on towards the future.

Once a goal post is ticked off, another one pops up.

Whilst that’s wonderfully exciting and productive, I’m learning to live a little more slowly too. To find more time-out for me, for the family, to being a little more disconnected from tech when it’s time to wind down. My phone no longer owns me, it hasn’t for a long time.

I’ve found yoga again and feel more content than ever.

The upside to rushing less aside from rushing less (!) is the clarity I’ve found. In relishing the everyday more than before, I’ve realised that in those quieter times, standing by the sidelines cheering my sons on as they learn to swim, or inventing bedtime stories together, therein lies the magic -the times of our lives.

I’ve had an epiphany if you like, bo doubt coming about about in between de-nitting my kids’ hair (again) and running around making school pick-up in between deadlines and roasting legs of lamb, that, flipping heck, I’m a good mum.

Let me write that in caps. I’M A GOOD MUM. Yes, I am.

If only I had a time travel machine and could tell my frightened 27 year old self that this is how life would turn out. That things would be OK. That one day I’d feel like the mum in the movies (well not quite) but that I’d feel like a good mum and that everything would turn out alright.

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40 Responses

  1. Mrs Mummy Harris

    One thing that made me fall in love with blogging (aside from the writing part) is the fact that it made me realise everything I was feeling was normal, everyone else felt the same and it was natural. With the right support we can all get into the new routine that kids bring and become “ourselves” again. #brilliantblogposts
    Mrs Mummy Harris recently posted…Triumphant Tale #9My Profile

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  2. Jo @ Jo's Kitchen Larder

    Great read! I think these days we tend to put so much pressure on ourselves and strive to be perfect mum/woman in every way. Reaching perfection (what is it anyway) is not the way to go. Learning to prioritise, taking time out and simply cutting ourselves some slack while being content with who we are is much easier. It’s all a process and reading posts like this and realising you are not alone helps immensely as well! We are all good mums and we better believe it! 🙂 x

    Reply
  3. Michelle Goodwin

    My first was 8 days late, a very long labour but easy two pushes at the delivery stage and I felt mentally prepared for her and so at ease. I literally felt like I was floating on cloud nine for the first two years of her life. My second I went on maternity leave two weeks early and left on the Friday, waters broke Saturday, induced and delivered on Monday at 37 weeks. It was a fast, difficult labour and mentally I just didn’t feel prepared. Let’s hope if I have a third that we can combine the two and have a baby on the due date, nicely paced delivery with no complications. #brillblogposts
    Michelle Goodwin recently posted…Maternal mental health awareness weekMy Profile

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  4. Tooting Mama

    I think this concept of being good really plagues us. I know that’s how I felt when I first adopted my two kids. Like you that transition to motherhood was so abrupt, I wasn’t prepared for it, or the emotions that it would churn up. It’s five years on now and I realise like you I am a good mum, and the trick for me has been to understand that good enough is good enough. I have found mindfulness really useful. I also want to get back into yoga too. Thanks for another wonderfully honest post. #brilliantblogposts
    Tooting Mama recently posted…7 inspirational ideas for you when visiting the French Basque countryMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Thanks darling and thank you for your wise, thoughtful response as always. We good mums and mindfulness and yoga helps us be kind to ourselves so we have clarity to fully appreciate how awesome we are xx

      Reply
  5. Amy - Mama Loves Lochy

    I can totally relate; my first Lachlan is only 10 weeks old, and I’ve allllllways wanted to be a mum – but I went in to labour and definitely felt a pang of fear creep in. What if I wasn’t good enough? And even, ‘what if I don’t love him?’ Totally irrational of course, he’s my complete obsession! But I think this is definitely something we all experience! xx
    Amy – Mama Loves Lochy recently posted…April likes and lovesMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Thanks Amy, it is definitely something most of us experience and first time motherhood can be so tough I found x

      Reply
  6. Peachy and her Mommy

    I often felt that having a c-section made the transition to motherhood more difficult. There were a lot of fears and feelings of failure. #BrilliantBlogposts

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      It can be so hard. My elective was so calm and I felt good from birth onwards. I’m sad I didn’t have a positive experience with my first birth but I’ve accepted that time now x

      Reply
  7. Pen

    I don’t think any of us are ever ready for motherhood. No matter how much you read, how many of your friends have had babies, however much family support you have, nothing can quite prepare you for what emotions your child is going to evoke in you. I don’t believe that I really knew who I was until I had Cygnet. When I became a mum it became really clear to me what kind of person I need and want to be. You see yourself reflected in your child and that makes you be the best person you can be. So yes Vicki, you are a brilliant mum, we are all brilliant mums. Loads of love. Pen x #brillblogposts
    Pen recently posted…In defence of our broken homeMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Oh Pen thanks for your kind words, you are spot on there too, nothing can prepare any of us for motherhood, first-time motherhood in particular is such a shock. We are brilliant mums, thank you xx

      Reply
  8. Emma

    Oh gosh it’s hard to give ourselves credit when it’s due, isn’t it? Criticising ourselves for every tiny transgression comes far easier! Sad, but true. I’m always beating myself up for cocking something or other up as a mum, but every now I then I take a step back and see my happy, confident little girl full of smiles and getting praised by her teachers and realising I must be doing SOMETHING right. We’re all doing the best can. Thx for his lovely post Vicki.
    Emma recently posted…How to promote your blog using Coschedule (the simple, stress-free way!)My Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Oh Emma, your comment has really touched me, we are so hard on ourselves but we are doing a great job. Well done to your daughter, and you xx

      Reply
  9. five little doves

    I LOVE this post and I can relate to it in so many ways. When I had my eldest I was just 23, I had never even held a baby before let alone looked after one, and suffering with PND I felt like the worst mum in the world. I think it has taken me 13 years to really believe that I am a good Mum, even if I’m not a perfect one. #Brilliantblogpost
    five little doves recently posted…Gel-a-Peel Sparkle Bead Station – ReviewMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      So sorry you had a tough time too. It can take such a long time to realise we’re good mums hey when we have been all along, lots of love x

      Reply
  10. mummy here and there

    Becoming a parent for the first time is such a traumatic (good and bad) time, you really learn so much but also you doubt everything as it is all new. Luckily, second time round I found my confidence grow X #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  11. Chloe

    Hi, what a brutually honest post. Reflection is a great thing if only the 27 year old you knew this #brilliantblogposts
    Chloe recently posted…Review of Marks & Spencer redbush teaMy Profile

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  12. Rebecca

    I have so much love for this! I think I’m safe in saying every mum has felt like an awful mum at one point or another! That unshakable entity that is ‘Mom guilt’! The blogosphere is so super helpful with support and inclusion <3 #brilliantblogposts
    Rebecca recently posted…Never underestimate how much you mean to your friends and familyMy Profile

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  13. Nichole Goodland

    Great post. I have to keep telling myself I’m a good mum. Of course, we tend to focus on bad things that happen but what I need to do is brush that bad event or day under the rug because tomorrow is a new day. 🙂 x
    Nichole Goodland recently posted…The Blogger Recognition AwardMy Profile

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  14. Lizzie Roles

    Great post lovely and really resonated with me because I felt all of those negative, joy destroying feelings and emotions and let them drag me down. I too was pieced together through PND/night terrors, hallucinations, my body letting me down and feeling downright ill and my body hurting to getting back to me, although not the old me I will never again be who I was, but I’m learning to love this new me, the me that has to pee 6 times an hour because I now have bladder weakness and the me whose hip isa bit displaced and hurts sometimes. Thank goodness for the gym, making time for myself and in this process I have learnt more about myself than I thought possible. I am a powerful, beautiful and loyal woman. I’m a mum, a wife a friend and sometimes blogger. I want to change the world for women and LGBT christians, and I know I can change the world by loving my family well. You are a fantastic mum Vicki, and I am too xx #brillblogposts
    Lizzie Roles recently posted…Share the JoyMy Profile

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  15. Kerry

    Brilliant post! I’m trying to find my confidence is the fact I am good mum again xx #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  16. Eb Gargano / easypeasyfoodie.com

    Great post Vicki – You are a good mum – it’s so evident through how you talk about your kids and all the photos – they are two lucky kids!! It’s a tough gig being a mum, isn’t it? It’s so easy to feel guilty that you are not doing it right…and it’s definitely not always easy. I do so wish kids came with a manual!! But you are also so right that it is in those quiet, mundane times that you find the magic. My kids are 6 and 8 and it is such a magical, wonderful age – a world of discovery, silly fun and lots and lots of cuddles. I keep telling myself to cherish each moment because they won’t last forever and I won’t get them back!! Eb x
    Eb Gargano / easypeasyfoodie.com recently posted…Chicken, Apricot and Almond TagineMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Aw thanks for your lovely comment, it really is a wonderful time, having kids has given us another chance at being children ourselves again, you’re a brilliant mum yourself x

      Reply
  17. Rebecca Smith

    Oh my! my Ripple Effect post I’ve linked up is in stark contrast to this post Vicki! I need a bit of your positivity, we do have one similarity, I do Pilates, It’s a God send, my hour of peace on a Monday evening, I’d do more if I could afford them! It really helps to work out all the anxiety knots that accumulate over the course of the week. I’m in awe of how you manage to get this linky out on time each week, I imagine planning is the key, keep being my inspiration xx

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Oh I want to try Pilates again as I’ve only ever done it once. Yoga has changed my life. Off to read your post (hope you’re OK, don’t doubt yourself), thanks Rebecca xx

      Reply
  18. Meg

    This is a lovely post. I think we have a natural tendency to focus on the ways we’ve failed as parent – but actually, the fact that we care so much is usually a good sign we’re doing well! #brillblogposts
    Meg recently posted…Pursuing Peace – The Fine Art of BreathingMy Profile

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  19. Hope

    I love this post, I think we all have fears about not being a good enough mum at times but we are all doing the best we can. I think having a child has helped me to rush less and learn to enjoy the present moment more, to put down what I am doing and run around/dance/cuddle/play or whatever my 2 year old is up to at that moment, so many precious moments 🙂

    Reply
  20. Lisa

    “The upside to rushing less aside from rushing less (!) is the clarity I’ve found. In relishing the everyday more than before, I’ve realised that in those quieter times, standing by the sidelines cheering my sons on as they learn to swim, or inventing bedtime stories together, therein lies the magic -the times of our lives.” This says it all. I love this. The joy found in the details of every day is what life is all about… even more so with children.

    I bribed my son (please be good, please be good) with a Kinder egg today, and a mom friend with teens said “OH GOD, I wish I could still buy mine off with a Kinder egg… makes me WEEP!” Even those moments of pleading for patience from a four year old will be missed one day. I made the decision to go ahead and savour them right now. xx

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Aw I love this Lisa, it’s so true, you might be bribing them with using your car one day! Gosh that seems so far away but I bet it comes round in a flash xx

      Reply
  21. Katie

    I’ve had a crappy day with our 2 year old and this has made me think about things. An hour of trouble and mischief doesn’t make me a bad mum. Thank you!
    #brillblogposts
    Katie recently posted…Charity Spotlight – Alder Hey Children’s HospitalMy Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      It doesn’t darling, we’ve all been there. Hope you feel better today and please know that you’re an amazing mum xx

      Reply

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