You want to be a happy, energetic, upbeat mother, but the day-to-day grind of motherhood is stretching you thin.
Is it just you? Absolutely not!
Motherhood is hard, but you can find hope and consolation in knowing you are not alone in your feelings and–yes–there is a way forward.
Motherhood IS Hard!
Midnight wakings, screaming toddlers, messes that appear as soon as you turn your back, trips to the doctor, hormonal drama (them and you), driving them everywhere, and not a single moment to catch your breath and recharge…It’s hard being a mom–that is a fact.
Don’t let anyone sugarcoat the job. Mothers are cooks, cleaners, chauffeurs, medics, therapists, bankers, waitresses, and all-around traffic cops. We work round-the-clock hours for zero pay.
Sometimes we cry in the bathroom, eat chocolate in the closet, and, when our head finally does hit the pillow at night, we pray we will at least get three hours’ sleep before a child wakes us up.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that motherhood is hard. Period.
Everyone Feels Like They Are Not a Great Mom at Some Point
I know what you’re thinking, “But so-and-so makes it look so easy.” Maybe you see her smiling kids plastered all over social media, and she regularly posts her kids’ amazing parties on Pinterest.
First of all, don’t let social media be your snapshot of someone’s mothering ability. Everyone struggles; they just don’t put their struggles on display.
You may see an attentive and happy-go-lucky mom at the park, but I guarantee she, too, has had her hard days.
She too has thought, “I’m not good at being a mom.” She too has cried in a pillow or yelled at her kids or put off taking her child to the doctor because she thought he was just being whiny (when he really had a hairline fracture).
You may also be living under the long shadow of someone’s recollection of her parenting years. Maybe this is your mother or–worse–your mother-in-law.
Just remember that our memories can fool us. We erase what’s hard and fill in the gaps with a rosy haze. Even if she can’t remember, she too has questioned herself, drunk wine at five o’clock, and prayed for bedtime.
All mothers have those days.
It’s Okay to Not Like Certain Phases
If you are wracked with guilt because you don’t love babyhood or toddlerhood or those up-and-down pre-teen years, don’t be so hard on yourself!
We are not all made the same. Some people treasure the infant stage because they love holding a tiny person whose head smells amazing and never talks back. Others struggle during that stage because a baby can’t communicate and tell you what’s wrong–and yet they cry all the time! Your life becomes “feed them, change them, console them, and pray they sleep.”
So let me say this: it’s okay to not like certain phases. It does not mean you don’t love your child. You do. You wouldn’t be working so hard or giving so much if you didn’t.
Phases come and go. They are not the sum of the whole person or the whole relationship. If you are worn out by your toddler’s tantrums or your teenager’s defensiveness, it is okay to feel that way. You are not any less of a good mother.
Being a good mother means showing up for your kids each day (even when it’s hard). Are you doing that? Then you are an amazing mom.
It Doesn’t Necessarily Get Easier But It Does Get Different
If your child is in one of those difficult stages right now, be comforted that one constant of childhood is change. As soon as you adjust to this new phase, your child will move out of it. Nothing stays the same.
Motherhood is hard because you are always adapting. There really isn’t time to perfect it. Even if you have multiple kids and go through the toddler or teenage years several times, each child is so different that you never really figure it out.
But change is also a good thing. It means that you aren’t stuck in one place forever. Children grow and change, and the challenges change with them. Your crisis-of-the-moment will soon be bathed in the rosy glow of memory. Today’s trouble is tomorrow’s funny story.
We’re Always Hardest on Ourselves
When it comes to motherhood, we need to put away the self-criticism. Stop staying to yourself, “I’m a failure,” or “I’m not good at being a mom.” Not only is it untrue, but the lie immobilizes you and keeps you from being present with your family.
We are always hardest on ourselves because we see every slip-up and know every negative thought. But just as you have grace for the mistakes of your children, you need to have grace for yourself.
Motherhood is hard, and perfection is not possible. Wade into the mess and the change and the beauty of it all, replace the criticism with grace and continue to walk out this difficult (but rewarding) task of motherhood.