I’ve been reflecting on the huge amount of pressure to be a ‘perfect’ mum that I put upon myself, and how this is not good for my self esteem and confidence….

I’ve been a mummy for nearly 8months now, and I think the thing I’m finding the hardest at the moment is the self-imposed pressure I put myself under daily. Yes, my daughter’s behaviour is challenging at times, but it’s fairly normal for her age & circumstance/history, and it’s manageable. I struggle way more with my feelings of failure and inadequacy when things don’t go right.

I’ve been trying to think about why I’m struggling so much with these thoughts. I think it’s partly due to feeling that because my daughter had such a difficult start in life, that I have to make up for that and be a super-mum and get everything perfect. Of course I’m human and it doesn’t go perfect at all, so I’ve set myself up to fail straight away. Maybe it’s because I feel like I have to prove to myself and others that I am a good mum, and any slight hint of not  being a good mum makes me feel a failure, again making me believe that I am not doing a good job. Maybe it’s because I passed al those interviews and tests, and theoretically proved I would be a good mum, but in reality I struggle to be patient, empathetic and loving all the time. I promised to be better than ‘good enough’ in my parenting, but sometimes I know that i don’t even make good enough. Do I feel that I’m not living up to what I promised? Maybe it’s because I’m naturally quite a perfectionist, and love for things to be ordered & predictable. having a child has turned this upside down, and it’s taking some time to come to terms with this, almost a loss of control on my own life. Maybe I spend too much time on twitter and instagram where I see supposedily perfect looking families and parents who appear to be able to therapeutically parent 24/7. I know deep down that neither of these is the reality, but it doesn’t hep my fragile parenting self esteem. Maybe it’s because I’m scared of damaging her more, and causing her to be unhappy.

On a bad day, when I know I haven’t been the best parent I can, my little girl can (seemingly) get over a disagreement almost instantly. (although I do worry that she stores all her memories of my less than perfect moments), it can take me a long time to calm down and move on with the day. I feel an over whelming sense of self disappointment and shame that’s difficult to shake off. It’s physically and mentally exhausting.

So, what am I (trying) to do to improve the situation? I think the 1st thing I need to (continue) to do is recognise that some of these feelings are actually a good thing as they demonstrate that I do care deeply, and want to get it right. However I need to learn to maybe tone them down and not be so negative. I am trying to be more like my 3year old, to forgive (hopefully forget) and move on quickly. Instead of being physically distant I’m trying to be more physically available for more cuddles etc. I’m trying to talk about whats happened more with both my daughter, and later with my husband. This way I can reflect, and give space to voice the feelings rather than let them get stronger inside. We’re trying to work on recognising and naming feelings with our daughter, and I think it helps that she see’s that adults do have feelings too. I make sure I say sorry to her if I have done wrong, to acknowledge that mummy was wrong, but she’s sorry. This helps me to stop, reflect and move on quickly. I need to remember that social media is just a snapshot of people’s lives, and they are not all as rosy as they might appear.

I’m trying to remember that in 8 short months since placement we’ve come so far, and our daughter is (all things considered) doing amazingly. We all feel very settled as a family, and she seems really well attached to us. She is growing up very quickly, learning lots of new things every week. She is liked by everyone she knows and is gaining confidence in all areas. She clearly loves me and wants to be with me. She is happy to see me again when we’ve been apart. Everyone has said how well we’re doing. I need to believe this more, and to believe that she wouldn’t be doing so well if I wasn’t a good mum. I must be doing something right.

Today was a good day, minimal tantrums (that’s from either of us) so it was quite easy to reflect on how I’m feeling and try to be positive, I just need to remember my own advice to myself when things don’t go quite to plan. I also need to remember I am a great mum!!!


Yesterday the Adoption Order was granted, and it prompted lots of emotions and feelings….

Yesterday we had news from our daughter’s social worker that our Adoption Order had been granted in court that morning. It was apparantly very straight forward and there were no contests.  I am delighted that our daughter is finally officially and legally ours. I think it’s still sinking in, how did we get to here, through the process and out the other side? It was 2years and 1 day exactly since we attended our first adoption info evening, and now here we are,  a real little happy family. I am relieved that no one could take her away from us. I am excited about moving forward as a family (all with the same surname), and starting the next phase of the rest of our lives together.

However, it also felt a bit strange, almost a bit like and anti-climax as it felt like nothing had happened, and actually it doesn’t change much about our everyday lives. We weren’t in court, and at the moment have nothing to prove she is ours (paperwork will be coming). Our experience of Social Services in her placing LA has been mostly great, and even though it will nice to be ‘free’, it also feels a bit daunting stepping out on our own. Our agency social worker has also been amazing, and we’ll be sad to say goodbye to her. However, they are a voluntary agency, and have said they’re there for us as long as we need them, which is reassuring.

Our daughter (just 3years old) is currently unaware of what a life changing day yesterday was for her. We decided not to tell her as we felt she wouldn’t understand what is actually quite a complex concept. We did however want to mark and celebrate the occasion in some way, so today we bought a special edible treat and said that it was because we wanted to celebrate the fact that she is ours and she will stay with Mummy and Daddy forever. She chose the doughnut with sprinkles on the top, and enjoyed eating them only, haha. We will celebrate more at the celebration hearing (to be held locally to us), and hopefully this occasion will enable us to explain to her about the significance of the Adoption Order a bit more.

One of the things I love most about the Adoption Order, is the fact that we got to name her. This is a right and and enjoyment that all parents have when they have children, and was something I was a bit unsure about before we adopted. What if I didn’t like my child’s name? will I feel they’re less mine if I didn’t name them? Anyway, our daughter’s original name is so made for her, so thats why we kept it. Also, she very much has a self identity with her name. We were fortunate to meet Birth Family who explained why she was named what she is, and so we felt it was very important to keep those names. She will learn later that her names have meaning, and hopefully will be grateful that we kept them. We did also add an additional name, Joy. It’s similar to my middle name, and I always thought that if I had a little girl, her middle name would be Joy. Yesterday my wish and dream came true, I have a little girl, and her middle name is Joy. Also, she so suits this name, and is (mostly) a total Joy, to us and many more. She has given us so much joy and purpose in life, and will continue to do so.

As usual, with anything significant and adoption related, my thoughts were with her Birth Family. Although it was a day of great celebration for us, I am aware that they will probably had very different emotions. I imagine it will have been a day of great sadness and loss for them. They didn’t contest, and we don’t know the reasons for this (as I’m told it is encouraged these days). As always, I hope they are reassured that this little girl is so loved by us. I hope that they are reassured that she will know about them. We will tell her how we met and what we discussed. We will continue to write to them as agreed.

We have started to talk to our daughter about how she came to be with us. I was dreading this as I want to get it right and say the right thing (hopefully life story book/later life letter will help). It’s heartbreaking watching her process it all and seeing how confused she is. It’s also reassuring that she appears very settled here and well attached to us. I hope that frequent informal chats will help to build a story and make the conversations more natural. I am adopted, and can’t remember a time when I didn’t know I was. I hope this will be the same for my girl.

So, now life continues with our little bundle of Joy, and we can start to look to plans in the future. I am so thankful that she is ours and that we get to have the privilege of being her parents.