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Musings of a mum: Mining for validation

9th Apr 2021
Musings of a mum: Mining for validation

I’ve come upon a revelation; my drive to constantly work is my need for validation. It is this desire to prove (to whom – I don’t know) that I count, that my work counts, that my existence counts. My volunteer leadership position that I held for two years came to an end in January. It was a bittersweet ending. I was happy that the load and responsibility had come to an end, and the feeling of rest that followed felt incredibly peaceful and was needed. However, I started missing the validation that I got from service to the community and interaction with people.

And it struck me then. That is why motherhood or caregiving on its own is not enough and why it is draining; because it lacks that validation that most people need to function well. Motherhood and caregiving need to be treated like a professional pursuit. Like I have mentioned in my earlier posts, I recognise that caregiving is important and necessary in society. But we have not glamourised it enough for it to ‘fill’ the people undertaking it, thereby diminishing the desire to pursue it at all. If we are to give caregiving any weight and wish for the best quality of care for our vulnerable, then validation must be systematic and continuous.

Think back to the time when we first gave birth, and those visits from our midwives and health visitors in those first 10 days. Having a random person in my house asking about me and my child was reassuring. It was also a complete outsider who cared (or pretended to care) about me.

Could we ever imagine that continuing throughout the early years of children’s lives what sort of impact would that have on our mental well-being? We could talk about how our social structures need to kick in and support all parents/caregivers, but social structures can be unpredictable; what if we outsourced that to a national system of support? Would that improve our mental wellbeing, and make us better caregivers?

I’ve written before on the balance to be found between peace and purpose and I have recently found myself with a lot of (very welcomed) peace but without purpose. In the absence of the busyness that comes with pursuing a purpose, I found some old hurts surfacing, which was -very naturally- counterproductive to my well-being. Mulling over them is like staring at my written pieces, wanting them to edit themselves – which they don’t. My work, whatever it may be, mothering, writing, laundry, leading, community pursuits help channel my frustration towards something more constructive and that works for me.

My validation – when I get it – fuels me to work better and harder. It allows me to sleep well. It’s the type of tiredness that comes after having worked hard. Motherhood needs that type of validation built-in. We need to find ways of getting our community around us to feed us the words that we deserve to hear, to enable us to be better mothers, better carers and better professionals.

Aasiya I Versi

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