With Mother’s day fast approaching we are delighted to have Catherine Davies a Mum of twins contributing on the many different roles we play while being a Mum. Catherine started her career as a lawyer in the City and moved into the public sector for a better work life balance where she has held a number of senior positions. She coaches individuals and groups and has led a number of projects designed to fire up, motivate and inspire teams at work.
Catherine loves to inspire women to feel empowered, confident and positive in the way they lead their family lives and their professional lives, in the way they connect with their children, their partners and themselves. She wants to create a tribe that generates a different kind of energy – one that is inspiring, authentic, and supportive.
Do you see yourself as a leader? I’ve been reflecting on that question in the context of my own experiences as a mum. Overall I have found being a mum to be a wonderful and life affirming experience.
All women want to be a great mum. Maybe a perfect mum? I did. I think my mum friends did. I definitely wanted to do things The Right Way and not The Wrong Way.
I barely noticed the arrival of some gentle pressure shortly after I began to share my happy news. It was very subtle. The first Right Way related to the birth – a natural delivery with minimal interventions. Anything else was subtly portrayed as a missed opportunity at best or some kind of failure at worst. I decided I wanted to do it The Right Way and opted for a natural birth. When the time came the boys were delivered by emergency c-section. So much for that.
After the birth, feeding. And the pressure about feeding begins in earnest. Of course we know that breastfeeding is The Right Way to feed. I fed using a mixture of breast and bottle. So I felt not guilty and guilty. If you don’t or can’t breastfeed you’ll feel pretty bad about that.
If you have birthed The Wrong Way and you can’t feed your baby yourself you might be starting to feel bad. Guilty perhaps. Things may feel totally out of control. Other women might inadvertently reinforce those negative feelings, perhaps by sharing their views on The Right Way, or feeling they can’t be honest about their own experiences and pretending everything is amazing.
Then there is you as a couple. Some women may swear a lot at their OHs for being a major player in the creation of this whole situation in the first place. Parenthood can change the dynamics of your relationship. I don’t think we find it easy to communicate about that. I enjoyed being at home for the best part of the year and then I felt ready to go back to work. More guilt!
In expressing a desire to be perfect, we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves. An inability to be perfect mums and do everything The Right Way can lead us into an uncomfortable place.
I wonder if we could selectively show our weaknesses, be a bit vulnerable, could we talk more honestly about how we are feeling?
If we could trust in our intuition, detecting what’s going on without others spelling it out, could we be better friends? Would we intuitively know when to ask friends if everything really is amazing?
If we could dare to be different, could we acknowledge that the Right Way doesn’t exist? Could we say – My Way is the Right Way for me? And could we be cheerleaders for our friends who say that?
Let’s be honest with ourselves and each other. Let’s be kind. Find the leader in yourself and let us all embrace our motherhood journey together. Happy Mother’s day to you all.