Who inspires you? Who inspires your best friend? Your partner? Your mother? The man who walks past you with his dog in the street? For every person, there’ll be a different answer.
Different stuff works for different people. Which is why I find it so frustrating when I see articles that suggest a certain way of living our lives is wrong. An article in the Daily Mail this morning did just that. It took the lives of women, who are also mothers, and judged them. It judged the food they fed their children; their heels(!); the way they parent; the fact they drink alcohol. It called them arrogant. It called them "moaning mums". Comments on the article went on to offer opinions on the women’s "smug faces"; “their ‘so called’ jobs” and even suggest that the women don’t love or want their children.
Why is it that women are still being judged for needing/wanting/choosing to have other things in their life apart from their children? What is so wrong with having a successful business, a writing career or a growing career?
What I admire about these women, what really inspires me, is that while becoming mothers, they’ve remained true to themselves. Their sense of humour, want to socialise, their entrepreneurial drive - the things that fulfil them - are still there. They’ve kept their identities.
As a coach who works with mothers, I meet so many who aren’t so lucky. It is really tough being a mother and it can bring you to your knees.
In a time when there are really important conversations happening around motherhood and loneliness, it therefore makes me so sad that a mother could not only judge another mother in this way, but choose to do so in such a public way.
While the reporter notes that the movement is a reaction against the dishonesty of mothers in the public eye, I think she misses the bigger picture. These women make people laugh, they entertain, they connect and their epic Instagram followings demonstrate this.
But most importantly they support. They support mothers who, struggling with [insert problem here], find some escapism, some relief, a bit of a giggle in others who are struggling too, and trying to see the lighter side of it. They make women feel less alone in this journey through motherhood, that used to involve a village and now so often involves a support network widely scattered or not there at all. Support is what women and mother’s need - they need to find their people, and some of them thankfully find it in their Instagram app. These connections are what can bring women back to themselves, to remind them who they are as mothers, but also so importantly, as women.
Throughout my twenties my career was everything to me. Becoming a mother made me realise I didn't like my job. I wanted to be a good mum, but also knew I needed more than that. I found myself completely lost and that lost feeling, that place of no-identity, didn't make me the role model I wanted to be to my children. My head was all over the place and I had no clue what to do. Finding the sisterhood that now grounds and lifts me is where I draw my daily strength. It's taken a lot of work to get to what I am now becoming - and every interaction, connection, encounter in real-life or otherwise, some big and some small, bit-by-bit has helped me to get there.
Whatever type of mother a woman wants to be - if she wants to be one at all - that is her decision. Whatever type of woman a woman wants to be, that is also her decision. Be inspired by who inspires you, get your laughs where you can get them and please, please don’t judge those who choose differently.