Instinctive Parenting

The elusive maternal instincts

Little girls look at mothers with reverence, for some little girls a mummy is all they want to be when they grow up. I for one wanted to be a mama.

But when the dream of becoming a mother came true for me, the transition to motherhood wasn't as rosy as I imagined. Modern parenting is a lot more stressful than you imagine. To attain a modern standard of living while raising a child you've got to do a hell of a lot of work. Houses, cars and groceries, social life, appearance, cleaning, laundry, your relationship, some sort of career, along with the myriad of standards you as a parent are to live up to if you are to be accepted in this society…is that clear!

What happened to the dream of motherhood being a beautiful, love filled adventure (rather than a regimented 'boot camp')? So much time was taken up meeting every societal standard, there was barely enough time to actually enjoy parenthood. For me, it got to the point where I literally threw my hands up and gave up; but it's always in those moments that a spark rises up from the ashes. And that I believe is where 'maternal instincts' lie.

As soon as I gave up obsessing over the judgments and opinions of 'everybody else' my instincts, usually hidden under layers of stress, made themselves apparent – and it felt so damn good. Letting go of my fears and worries allowed my body to actually function correctly and my mind to think clearly. It was the bombardment of pointless, useless fear mongering by the media and those around me, that sent my mind and emotions into a spin, clouding my ability to make authentic, instinctive decisions.

It was a matter of 'how long am I going to let others decide for me what is best for my family?' My tolerance wasn't very high, but it took guts to learn to trust myself and take responsibility for my decisions. So how long are you going to continue to get taken for a ride, before you decide it's not good enough for your family?

I know what is right for my family, I may not be a doctor or a psychologist, but I know instinctively when my child is in danger – and I won't be ridiculed for it. I am more bonded and connected to my child than anyone else, therefore I should be the only one with the responsibility of making decisions for my child –  if it doesn't feel right in my gut, I don't do it.

Motherhood forced me to become strong, to find out who I was, to stand up for myself, but most of all to trust myself. When asked what are 'maternal instincts', I say it is the powerful, yet highly underrated ability to TRUST yourself as a mother.

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  1. I agree there is definitely a freedom or a weight off your shoulders that comes from giving up trying to attain such high standards. In retrospect I don't think it was the expectations of others that was my problem, I was my own harshest critic and set unrealistically high standards for myself. My turning point was reading an article in Parenting magazine about 'The Good Enough Parent'. Afterwards I decided not to be so hard on myself. I'm a lot happier and relaxed, and am enjoying parenting so much more.

  2. EcoMum,It's amazing what reading a single article can do to change your perspective, so glad you've chilled out. Beating yourself up doesn't make a good parent, trusting and believing in your abilities and intuition does.

  3. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog.
    Have a nice day!