Recently, the largest UK supermarket hosted their 'Mum of the Year' awards. This celebrity packed ceremony celebrated the achievements and parenting excellence of the remarkable mums who deserved to win and to be congratulated.
Most of us won't have had an invitation to this glittering event. But I believe all mums are winners and with Mother's Day here, plenty of us will be given the 'You're The Best Mum In The World' cards our children write. What is interesting is just how hard it can be for mums to want to believe they are worthy of such cards, messages, flowers, chocolates or breakfast in bed. It's easier instead to give in to our old friend guilt than to allow ourselves to think we might be a half decent parent.
It's not just mums; dads also struggle to find something positive about their parenting. The ones I interviewed for my book 7 Secrets of Raising Girls Every Parent Must Know were quick to point out their failures as fathers.
When I give talks or run parenting courses, I'll ask the audience to have a chat with the person next to them about what they do well as a parent. Silence falls. Eyes drop to the floor, there is some throat clearing and wriggling in seats.
You would think I had asked them to tell the person next to them how often they have sex.
Speaking up about your parenting ability is just not something parents find easy. Had I asked them to talk about what they get wrong as a parent, they would never shut up. It would be an endless almost competitive rant of "I'm impatient, I can't be bothered, I don't know how to set rules, I can't agree with my partner, my mother in law is perfect, my kids are a nightmare," and on it would go. I am no different. I maybe a parenting coach, with 25 years of Mother's Day cards for me in a special box, but I still find it much easier to notice what I don't like about my parenting.
To your children, I believe you are 'The best mum in the world'. Even during their teenage years when they naturally want to cut you off. Underneath all that rudeness and swagger there is often a warm fuzzy place in their heart that still belongs to you. Hold on to hope and patient, it will resurface one day.
I understand Mother's Day is also a painful and difficult day. This will be the third Mother's Day I will not be writing a card to my mum following her death from Alzheimers. Something I really miss is that she was great at encouraging me, and many other mums to simply enjoy being mums. She would want you to 'pat yourself on the back' and not be swamped by guilt or self-doubt. She would be giving you a home grown posy today because you love and care about your children. That makes you a prize winner everyday, not just Mother's Day.
Share this with every mum, or dad, you know who deserves to be congratulated for doing the best they can, most of the time, most days, which is great.