There is a mum who lives inside my head.
She is silently judging, always offering opinions about my parenting. I hear her cautions daily and I second guess my steps.
I catch myself before making decisions, wondering what she would do instead.
Sometimes she is a distorted version of my own mother, my mother-in-law or the mother next door. Sometimes she looks just like the mother I pass in the supermarket aisle, or the mother commenting online.
Whatever form she takes, the mum in my head always has it all together.
I hear the voice of the mum in my head echoing from the pages of parenting books and blogs. Her pithy proverbs and sing-song voice reminds me what needs to be done: washing, ironing, feeding, cleaning, and exercising away the baby fat.
She makes it look so easy.
The mother in my head is particularly vocal about bedtime. I hear her as I cuddle my drowsy toddler to sleep—telling me not to create bad sleep habits. I hear her as I sit next to my toddler as he cries in his cot—telling me every cry is ruining his developing brain.
I’ve been keeping company with the mother in my head for a while now—since my baby was just a flutter inside my belly. Her voice began to wake me up at night, making me think of all the things that could be.
Hers is the voice telling me I need to be it all, do it all, and somehow be satisfied.
Her voice is shrill and grating. Her tone is harsh and frustrated. Her words are mine. I am the mum inside my head.
But there is another voice: Be still.
A voice that calms and soothes. A voice with gentle power. A voice with guiding wisdom and care for weary souls weighed down with burdens.
I am tired of listening to the mum in my head.
Every day I must choose again to listen to the gentle voice instead.