Do perfectly yummy mummies exist?

Posted by Samantha on April 5, 2011 in Thought for the day |

No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Eleanor Roosevelt, US diplomat & reformer (1994 – 1962)


A huge Netmums survey published recently discovered that mothers tell lies to each other about how well they are coping.  Apparently they also fib about how much television their children are watching.  And they exaggerate about how much time they spend playing with their children.  They even tell porkies about what they’re feeding their kids.

It wasn’t a surprise to me that women are lying about what “yummy mummies” they are.  Human beings lie.  It’s part of the human condition to be imperfect and to try to cover it up. 

Sometimes, we feel terribly guilty about our failure to be perfect parents.  And so we tell lies about our parenting because deep down lots of us only feel worthy if we’re perfect. 

I’m sure the report was intended to relieve women of guilt.  But I’m equally sure some women read it and noticed that not ALL respondents admitted to lying – so SOME mothers ARE perfect they’ll conclude.  Like the mummy in this month’s poem, we are prone to comparing ourselves unfavourably to other (supposedly) pristine and serene mothers.  Oh dear.

Now, I don’t believe there are any of those perfect yummy mummys out there (something’s ALWAYS got to give) but I had another thought as I read through an online article about this report. 

Netmums claimed that women are lying to each other because of peer-pressure.  We feel pressure from other mothers at the school or nursery gates who we believe are doing a better job than us and so we tell lies to cover up the truth. 

But this explanation for our lying has to be yet another insidious lie.  Except this time we’re telling the lie to ourselves and not each other. 

The only person who can put pressure on me that works – is me – because “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent.  There is no such thing as a perfect child.  We’re attached to unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our children.  We need to ditch them in favour of some realistic ones.  We are ALL perfectly imperfect.

The next time we’re tempted to tell a lie to make us seem like better parents, let’s just pause, and ask ourselves who are we trying to convince anyway?


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