Motherhood can be wonderful, but it’s also really hard work. Mom guilt is a real thing because so many people seem to be doing it better or making it look easy. You’re constantly wondering if you’re making the right decisions as a parent and wondering if you could be doing a better job. If you’ve had these thoughts before, you’re not alone. Every mom feels this way at one point or another. As our kids grow, we discover we have to reinvent ourselves to meet their needs but, even if the seasons and situations differ, the feelings are the same. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by motherhood, it can be helpful to take a step back and remember the five important things below.
1. Stop trying to be perfect
Perfection is a myth. Even that famous mommy blogger or Instagram influencer have crappy days where they end up crying in the closet for 10 minutes while their kids destroy the living room, or when the married son doesn’t even call to ask how she’s doing. Social media makes it so easy to compare yourself to other moms, but you have to remember the filter being used on all of the images and posts you see. Same with those you don’t see on social media. Every family has its struggles, and every mother crave some type of reassurance. Yes, the mom might be baking cupcakes every other day, but in between the perfect frosting scene is a child throwing a tantrum or crying from a stomachache.
You’re not going to be a perfect mom, but that doesn’t mean you won’t do an amazing job. So, just be a real mom. That’s what your children, and the world, really need.
2. Take a break already
Yes, you desperately love your kids, but you also need a break away from them. Finding time for yourself can be hard, and some moms feel selfish stepping away. As an empty nester, I still look around and try finding things to do for others, but the need to take care of myself is banging the door! You need this time to recharge, though. If you still have small children, leave your kids with your spouse for the weekend and take the day off to have a pedicure, a time where you can read, or go out with a friend or sister. If you are a single mom, recruit the grandparents or siblings to babysit so you can go somewhere to relax and do something for yourself. In order to take care of your kids, you have to take care of yourself. Plan some time away from your children right now so you can recharge and come back to them refreshed.
3. You’re more than “just a mom”
People tend to look at motherhood as an identity and it is, but it’s not your only identity. You’re still you, just with an added layer of life experience. It’s easy to feel wrapped up in your child and feel like you’ve lost your sense of self. Find your voice, list what you like, the songs, the places, plan a bucket list. Your priorities have just changed for now. There’s nothing wrong with replacing your past enjoyments with new ones. You just have to learn how to incorporate your new mom identity with who you were before. That might mean sharing your love of gardening with your kids or figuring out childcare options so you can return to work. Regardless, you’re an individual person with your own needs, so remember to indulge in your own activities and enjoyments every now and then.
4. It’s OK to ask for help
You have people in your life who are more than happy to help you out when you need a break; you just have to ask. Take your friend up on the offer to watch your kids for the afternoon so you can run errands. Give your parents the opportunity to spend time with their grandkids for the weekend. Ask your spouse to help with more of the house chores and baby duties. You don’t have to do it all alone, and you’re not going to be less of a mom if you ask for help.
5. You’re doing great
If you take nothing else away from this article, know this: You’re doing a great job. It doesn’t matter if your kids are hellions or if you can’t muster the energy to make a homecooked meal. Who cares if you’re late to every event or if your kids have gone to school in dirty clothes a time or two (three?). If your children are now adults, rediscover life. They will look up to you as an example of strength and balance. As they discover life themselves, they will need your happiness as an example for their own lives. You’ve always been there for your children, and you’re putting in your best effort. That’s all that matters.