Being a mom is like having a job 24/7. There are days when you feel so overwhelmed, like the world is crashing down right in front of you. But don’t worry, fellow mamas! I totally feel you. So, I wrote a list of struggles that I went through, and some realizations on motherhood that I’ve learned through the process. I hope this quick read helps inspire you today. Feel free to share your stories, too!
I think every mom I have ever talked to has experienced motherhood guilt in one way or another. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working one, it pops up in your life in more ways than you can imagine. When I had my first son Matti, I still had the luxury to stay home when I felt like it. I was only running one website during that time, and I was not required to write every day. It was a very different story for my second son, Rocco. I didn’t really have a “maternity leave,” and I was back to work even before he hit his first month. Both times, motherhood guilt was present–I felt guilty when they were sick, or guilty when I had to leave for work. It may have occurred in different situations and circumstances, but it was most definitely there. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you seem to be pulled in every direction possible.
So how do you get rid of the guilt? You need to know that your kids won’t grow up damaged if you leave their side for a bit, if you let them skip a nap, or if they catch a cold. Instead of living in the knowledge of what you lack, start thinking of the good things you’ve done as a mom as well. Don’t ever think you are the only mom who is falling short. Ask around, it’s a common emotion!
You won’t understand mom memes until you become one. Because truth be told, once you give birth (and because culture has dictated so), it seems like a superhero badge is almost instantly bestowed upon you…and alongside that, superhero expectations. Mind you, all of these are happening with you having only three hours of sleep. To a certain extent, we ourselves start believing we are perfect, so that any performance less than that tends to frustrate us. We self-inflict our own pressures, micromanaging every single detail of motherhood to achieve picture-perfect, happy experiences with our kids.
News flash, we have to stop equating excellence and goodness to perfection and happiness. Life is messy and beautiful at the same time. Many moms are living in disappointment and discontentment because they feel they will only achieve happiness in the most ideal of circumstances.
I do believe that to a certain extent moms are superheroes. But the truth is, you and I are human, you and I will make mistakes, and you and I will never ever feel like Wonder Woman 100% of the time. Don’t seek perfection. First-time moms are the most susceptible to this crippling idea. The moment you let go of the unrealistic goals of parenting, the more you will actually enjoy it.
The perfect mother the world has painted would be described like this: She spends a lot of quality time with her kids and is always available when they need her. She disciplines them well, dresses them well, feeds them well, and loves them well. She is also a great wife, always providing great meals, able to exercise to keep a good and presentable physique, and spends quality time with the hubby. And if she is working, she has to really excel at her job, too. We think those super moms we see in social media live this kind of life, but believe me, they don’t. Because the reality is, something’s gotta give. And 24 hours is not enough to accomplish all this.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, celebrate your individuality as a mom! Once you start embracing who you are, then you start to have that joy that will overflow to your kids and your spouse.
Because we have devoted our lives to our family, sometimes their accomplishments become our trophies while their weaknesses become our defeats. It is so easy to gauge or measure our value as mothers based on what our kids are able to achieve or not.
Although achievements are of course good, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the only deciding factor on whether you are doing a great job as a mom. The most important thing is building a great relationship with your kids.
Motherhood will probably be one of the hardest jobs that will ever exist. Just know that you are not alone in this! Whether they say it or not, most moms go through one or all of these emotions at one point in their mommy lives. So whenever you feel these emotions, know that it’s ok and natural to feel that way, but don’t let them rob you of the joys that come with motherhood. After all, these joys make what we do everyday worth it.