Motherhood is hard, lets make it easier
Becoming a mother is easily one the most transformative times in a woman’s life, and yet so many topics surrounding motherhood seem taboo. They shouldn’t be. Motherhood is hard, and the sooner we can all admit it the better off we will be. It IS possible to be a mom and not have to experience things like mom guilt, mom shame, perfectionism and resentment.
I believe that there is incredible freedom that comes from being vulnerable and talking about hard things, by allowing ourselves to feel them, and from sharing our stories. These things help us to realize that we aren’t the only ones who have absolutely no idea what we are doing. They help us learn to accept ourselves and one another on our motherhood journey.
I’m known as the honest mom because truthful storytelling about my motherhood experiences and about universal motherhood experiences is what I do. I believe that real, raw storytelling can connect us and change the narrative of what a good mom is!
So, Am I A Good Mom?
If you are asking yourself “Am I a good mom?”, you are. Your self-reflection is a sign of that.
I’m on a mission to change the narrative we tell ourselves and others about what it means to be a good mom and connect with as many incredible mamas along the way. I want you to know that your wellness is just as important as everyone else’s in your family. I want you to act on that knowledge and learn how to prioritize you, without the mom guilt.
The Myth of Perfect Moms, And Other Lies We Have Told Ourselves.
I began my motherhood journey with an idea in my head of what a perfect mom looked like- and it wasn’t me. I believed that I would not be good enough because I didn’t have a good example to live by. I thought that I needed to have motherhood all figured out and be good at everything. I believed that other moms had the secrets to being a mom that I didn’t have and because of that I felt I was fifteen steps behind them. I was wrong.
The truth is: I was a good mom from the beginning. I loved my baby and did everything in my power to be my best and show up everyday for her. I was wrong to think that just because I struggled through and learned everyday that meant I wasn’t good. Anyone who is good at anything will tell you they are always learning. I’m still a good mom, even though I preach imperfection.
The sooner we realize we weren’t meant to be perfect the sooner we can find peace in the mess that is called motherhood.
You’re Normal If You Struggle:
Mom Guilt, Mental Health, Loss of Identity and other Things We’ve all Experienced
I talk to moms everyday who struggle with the responsibility of raising good humans, all while trying to find out who they are as a mom. I talk to moms who struggle desperately with postpartum anxiety, depression and mom guilt. I talk to moms everyday who are ashamed of the rage they experience on a daily basis.
I talk to moms who are tired of carrying the invisible load and are worn out from the emotional labour they do everyday to look after their families. I talk to moms who are trying to figure out how to navigate their relationship with their partner after kids. I talk to moms who have forgotten who they are and how important their own needs are.
I talk to moms who don’t want to look in the mirror anymore because they don’t recognize their bodies anymore. I talk to mom’s everyday who are exhausted and feel guilty about not being fun or present enough with their kids. I talk to moms who are lonely and desperately seeking connection. Everyday, moms around the world who love their children dearly, are asking themselves: “Am I enough?”.
Becoming Mom and The Social Media Gap
When I became a mother seven years ago I knew in my soul that I didn’t have the motherhood “gene”. I thought that being maternal was something you just had or didn’t have. My journey was etched in mental health struggles, questioning myself, perfectionism, high standards, too much conflicting advice, a lack in boundaries and people pleasing tendencies which lead to being over committed and resentful.
My own childhood trauma unravelled before me as I entered motherhood. I severely lacked parental support or other support systems and quickly felt like I was drowning. I wanted to break cyclers and parent differently to how I was raised and I had no idea how to do that. I felt alone. My inner voice said “you are not enough”, and looking to social media did not help me.
When I became a mom Instagram was full of beautiful family photos, perfectly posed children, matching outfits and curated content that made any average mom feel like a bag of rocks. The problem is that it begins to feel like what we see online, the highlight reel, is other people’s reality. It isn’t- but it sure feels like it. When you are a new mom with social media as sometimes your only outlet to the outside world, you see it everyday. And it hurts. It hurt me.
Less than two years ago I began starting conversations about the many topics surrounding motherhood as @diaryofanhonestmom on Instagram and TikTok because it seemed like everywhere I looked on social media, I was bombarded with images and stories of motherhood that looked nothing like my own journey. My journey has had deep dark and confusing valleys which I didn’t enjoy but there didn’t seem like there was a spot at the table for someone willing to say that. But then I did, and ever since that day I have not stopped hearing moms chime in with their “me too’s”. My hope here is that I can help to fill the gap.
Motherhood is Hard: How to Make it Easier
I’ll say it, being a mom is hard – for so many reasons. Saying that, we aren’t helpless. Regardless of who we are, what we have, where we are in life, what our values are, and what our support systems look like, we all get to make choices. Depending on your circumstances your choices will look different to the mom next to you. Here is the thing though: I firmly believe that by making the following choices, we can all make this wild ride called motherhood just a little bit easier, on ourselves and on each other.
Join My Honest Mom’s Circle
As a new mom, I decided that doing it all to the best of my ability was the only way. I committed myself to a long list of rules for myself and my kids that was intended to raise them in the healthiest environment possible. Like most moms, being a good mom was at the top of my priority list. I used to think that being a perfectionist was a good thing and it was something I prided myself on.
Perfectionism is a tendency to believe that it is possible to achieve perfection in our lives or the deep desire to appear perfect to the outside world. And while many of us may have defined ourselves as perfectionists in a positive light, it is in fact detrimental to mothers’ mental health and well being. When we have such high standards for ourselves and our children without flexibility, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure. While we may have had a semblance of control over our lives pre-kids, having children teaches us time and again how little control we really have.
When I realized how my perfectionist tendencies were affecting my mental health, my mood, my energy levels and eventually my relationship with my husband and children, I began to make changes. My todo lists and mental standards brought me to a point that I could not enjoy my life and my family because I was hyper focused on everything that needs to be done. Sometimes, the things on the list weren’t even that important. Learning to prioritize what I put my time into and lowering my standards allowed me to feel more peace in my life. It is a continuous journey. All day everyday we make choices about what we value, what we will put our time into, what is most important. By letting go of the things closer to the bottom of the list or doing things to a lesser standard, it gives us time, space and capacity to experience motherhood more peacefully. So now I say, good enough is good enough.
What is one way to make being a mom a little bit easier? Choose peace over perfection.
I played the comparison game early on in my motherhood journey. From close friends, to moms in my community, to moms on social media, it was easy to see that everyone had this thing called momming figured out. Or did they?
I saw mom’s who breastfed with ease and co-slept with ease, while I struggled. I saw mom’s getting professional photography done for every miniature and big holiday for their kids, when I couldn’t afford it. I saw moms who seemed to know exactly what to do when their babies were sick, I didn’t. I saw moms who always seemed to keep their houses clean, I could not. And I took all of these moms, and made them into one. What do I mean? I mean instead of seeing that they were all doing well at something, I told myself I needed to do just as well as each of them at all the things. When I couldn’t, I told myself I would never measure up.
What I didn’t take into consideration was that the mom with the perfect house? She had crippling anxiety and cleaning her house was the only way she felt in control. The mom who breastfed with ease and co-slept? Well, she also struggled with other aspects of motherhood that came easier to me. The mom who hired professional photographers every 3 minutes? She was lonely and depressed. The mom who always knew what to do with a sick baby? Her mom told her exactly what to do and came over on the regular to support her.
You see, we all get to see slices of one another lives, but never the whole picture. When we CONNECT, and we really get to know one another we realize that not one singular one of us has it all figured out. We realize that each of us looks at one another’s lives and longs for certain aspects of it. We long for the baby that sleeps well, but don’t see the feeding struggles. We long for the supportive parents but don’t see the absent husband. We long for the financial freedom but don’t see the loneliness. We’re all just messy humans stumbling our way through and the sooner we connect the easier it will be to stop comparing. I still struggle sometimes, but I remind myself of every time I have put another mom on a pedestal and how getting to know her revealed her humanity and struggle.
So how do we make motherhood a little bit easier? Choose connection over comparison.
Mom guilt is a doozy. It has to be one of the most universal motherhood experiences. As mom’s we want to do the best for our kids that we can, and as we are propelled into motherhood we often leave ourselves behind in lieu of taking care of our families. Overnight we go from being our own people with hobbies and interests and friends and needs to being the main care provider for another human and the responsibility is enormous. At some point mom guilt slides in. I felt mom guilt for many reasons.
I felt mom guilt for leaving my kids to go do something for myself. I felt guilty for not making home cooked meals. I felt guilty for wanting time to myself. I felt guilty for needing a quiet moment. I felt guilty for not enjoying every moment. I felt guilty for wanting to go back to work. Behind guilt is this internal voice telling us that we aren’t as important as everyone else in our family. It makes us feel as though we should feel guilty because our children’s needs are inherently more important than our own needs. But they aren’t. We may be responsible for meeting our children’s needs, but we’re also responsible for meeting our own, and they are just as valid. Mom’s have the need for alone time, for pleasure, for fun, for friends, for relaxation, for relationship building, and for experiences outside motherhood. Our needs don’t disappear when our children’s arrive, so we need to learn to acknowledge them without guilt.
Giving ourselves grace, allows us to say, “being a mom is hard, I miss when I didn’t have to think about everyone else’s needs and that is okay”. Giving ourselves grace is taking a moment alone in the bathroom to cry about how hard your day is without feeling bad that you had to do that. Giving ourselves grace is allowing ourselves to feel negative feelings around motherhood without attaching meaning to it. You’re not a bad mom because it’s hard. You don’t have to feel exhausted AND guilty about being exhausted. Giving ourselves grace is picking the kids up from daycare at 5 instead of when you got off work at 4 because you needed a moment to yourself, and knowing that it’s normal to need a moment to yourself. Giving yourself grace is saying “I messed up with the kids today, that doesn’t mean I am a bad mom”. Giving yourself grace means forgiving yourself for your mistakes like you forgive your children for theirs. You are just as human as they are, just as flawed, and have just as many human needs as they do too.
How can we make motherhood a little easier? Choose grace over guilt.
From the moment I got pregnant I felt shame. Becoming a mom seems to open the door to everybody’s opinions. From your pregnancy, to childbirth, to feeding, to sleep training and then into the real parenting of little people and eventually big ones with their own personalities and needs, it’s there. There are a million reasons why we as moms make the choices we make when it comes to raising our kids, but non are to be bad moms. I made many different choices for each of my kids. For example I formula fed one and breastfed one, and at different times I was shamed for aspects of both. It can feel like you can’t win.
Income, support, access to information, value systems, child temperament and more have hugely significant impact on our decisions. But not everyone gets that. Not everyone has the capacity to understand the variability of each mom’s situation or what led her to make a decision. Sometimes people intend to inflict it but often, people are just sharing their opinions and lack the communication skills or the perspective needed to understand how their words will affect us. I used to be wrecked by mom shamers, because the reality was I already gave myself a hard enough time, I didn’t need other people to.
I’d love to think that the shamers will read this and stop what they are doing, but one thing I have realized is that we can’t control how others treat us or what they say, but we can choose how we react and how much we internalize it. Sometimes people say hurtful things, but when we know who we are and why we make our decisions we don’t feel the need for them to understand us. Sometimes we internalize shame simply by hearing someone share one of their own thoughts or experiences.
For me, I had to recognize when I was doing this. I had to realize that I was creating shame out of a place that it was not coming from. It was my own internal struggle that I was reflecting onto those I was speaking with or content I was consuming. Now, I not only choose to be outwardly supportive to mom’s when they share a struggle and be aware of how my words might induce shame, but I choose to support myself and mom confidently regardless of the multitude of opinions I hear on the daily.
How can we make this motherhood thing a little less hard? Choose support over shame.
Words On The Importance of Mommy Self Care
Selfcare isn’t just the latest buzzword, it is the foundation of a mothers well being. Learning to prioritize yourself is something many mom’s struggle with, but is necessary for sustainable mothering without exhaustion and resentment. You can only give so much before there is nothing left. One of my main goals is to reveal to moms just how important they are, and how important their well being is.
There Are No Perfect Moms, Just a Million Ways To Be a Good One
If you’ve ever wondered “am I royally messing up my kids?”- join the club.
By admitting that this rollercoaster is hard and going deep on the real stuff that we face as moms everyday, we will feel seen and through that find healing, community, and confidence that we’re doing a great job after all. Girl, I want you to give yourself some grace, you’re doing a great job.
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Ps: Let’s reinvent motherhood!