I know your struggle well. I know that you’ve entirely changed since you’ve become a Mom. You have less time for the things you love, including sleep. I also know that beautiful memories are made when unexpected, just as often as the day’s obstacles before you.
And I know that being a Mom is hard!
You feel like you’ll never win. You feel like you can’t make everyone happy, keep the house clean, or keep track of all your mental sticky notes. You’re only one person and you’re very overwhelmed, sometimes to the point of tears.
You’ll debate with yourself. “Why can’t I be as good as other moms?” Then decide, “my family’s needs are more important than mine and the house is still a disaster.” When a days worth of effort wasn’t as successful as you envisioned, you tell yourself that you’re failing as a Mom. Then you punish yourself. “I don’t deserve time to rest or have fun if I can’t get everything done first.”
I think I know you just a little better than you realize.
I know that those little eyes looking up into your soul is your fuel. I know that you delight in every new milestone that your little one accomplishes! I know that you are filling your memory bank with pictures of sunshine in your sweetie’s hair and the mental recordings of her laughter. “I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” you tell yourself.
I know your maternity leave may have never quite ended or that you quit working for various reasons to be home. I know you pour your heart and soul into this job.
Even as your babies grew up, you still couldn’t sleep well through the night. You still have urges to make sure they’re all still breathing and well. You get such little sleep some nights, even though you’re wrecked. You spend all day making mental notes and trying to stay on everyone else’s schedules. You focus on child development, health, nutrition, cleaning, and bills, and some days forget to fill your memory bank. Or do something nice for yourself even.
Regular days you play referee to break up your kid’s fighting. If you’re not breaking up fights, you’re repeating yourself to your kids. “They totally heard me,” you say. And all that can turn into a lot of yelling.
Just a little while before your husband comes home you realize all of your hard work appears to have evaporated into thin air. The nutritional breakfast/lunch is on the dinning room floor, the dishes are stacked high again, the laundry train lost it’s caboose, for every one mess you picked up there’s another 10, the fight you broke up is now back in full swing, and now you’re husband is going to see. So we panic that our husband will think we we’re lazy all day and we stress clean.
You hide the dishes in the dishwasher and clothes in the washer. At some point you just don’t care about the mess any more because you’re tired and defeated. You’ve spent all day feeling isolated, tired, and irritated.
This life is all you now know. And no one told you it’d be so tough!
No one told you that you would feel this pressure to be a good mom, even when no one else is even around. No one told you that you would feel lonely in your own home, surrounded by your minis. No one told you that it’s almost scary to wake up one day and realize you don’t have anywhere to be. No one else that needs you more than your children.
No one told you that you boarded the struggle bus with your own worst critic. You.
I never realized how all of those tough days would sneak up on me and make me feel so small. I never realized the weight of it all until I opened up about it. And I never realized how similar my feelings were to other moms until other people started opening up about it.
Motherhood is the most beautiful thing to happen in your life, but the most demanding. I know it may not seem the way you pictured it. I know it’s full of days when you wish you could work or that you hope the kids would become more independent sooner.
In 7 years time, this is what I learned about motherhood (especially being a Stay-at-home mom):
I felt most successful when I gave my kids the most attention
I always criticized myself, even when I didn’t use social media
I read so many expert tips and I felt like I tried everything, when I should’ve just used my motherly instinct
Treat yourself more! I almost never did things for myself. I started to feel more motivated when I had things to look forward to.
Call up your mom to talk. It’s such good therapy!!
Take help when it’s offered.
Find ways to record good memories, whether a journal to your kids for when they grow up, candid pictures, or videos of them being happy. Then just brain dump the days of yelling.
Look back on these recordings when you’re blood pressure is through the roof. You’ll just be looking through pictures thinking of how sweet your babies are.
Being a good mom holds a lot of pressure. You don’t always have to hold it together. Grow your faith!
And lastly, don’t let someone’s idea of you define you. You are so much more!
We do so much around our homes, but it never feels like enough. We always question how we’ve done as a mom. Somehow with how busy we are, it can feel like our lives are somehow incomplete. There is always still more to do.
To those of you wondering if you’re a good mom, or when you will ever even fit into your own schedule-
I once read a simple quote, “you are enough.” It changed my whole thinking and gave me a sense of peace.
Enough with the mom guilt. Enough with believing what people think of us. Enough with not giving ourselves something to look forward to.