Motherhood is busy and beautiful. Stressful and rewarding. A journey that is simultaneously happy and hard. But I can’t imagine a mother who doesn’t think it is all worth it, despite the hard days, stubborn battles and tears that inevitably come time and time again. In my experience (I have three young girls), there is one thing I wish I could tell all new mothers. Actually, all mothers for that matter. One thing that will ease the moments that are most challenging, make the adventures more enjoyable and the overall experience of motherhood more balanced.
That one piece of advice – don’t take yourself (or motherhood) too seriously.
Last time I checked, there is no blueprint for success. No comprehensive list of directions that, if followed perfectly, will ensure that your child grows into the person you always dreamed he or she would and could be. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
And there is no magic answer to the battles and difficult decisions. Kids are stubborn. They push back and push the limits. It’s not a reflection of you or your parenting. It’s part of growing up and gaining independence. The hard moments are necessary to raise children that are strong and resilient, confident and creative, driven and inquisitive.
As a mom, there is so much pressure to do things right.
That pressure is the result of a world where mommy guilt reigns supreme, but also stems from the expectations we set for ourselves. Expectations that, despite our best efforts, are often unrealistic and create undue stress. When you can take a step back and recognize that you love your children and are doing the best you can, the rest becomes a bit easier to manage.
There are two key points I want to reiterate here that will change the way you think about your parenting, and ultimately how you show up for your children. First, you are the only parent your child knows. That’s not to say they won’t sometimes comment on what others have or how a friend gets to do something they want to do. But you are the mom they know and love. That is all that matters. They have no point of reference or comparison. You are exactly what they want and need. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Second, stop being so hard on yourself. Not only does it set a bad example, but it’s not fair to you or your little ones. We all have moments where we wish we would have done something differently or handled a situation better. In the same way our children are learning, we are learning too. Learning how to parent each individual child because they have very different needs, learning how we can show up for our children and learning what positive parenting looks like for our family. Shutting down the internal dialogue that dwells on the could haves and should haves allows us to be present in the moments that matter most. It allows us to see what our children need and support them in whatever way is best for them.
So, the key is to stop taking yourself so seriously and replace your inner dialogue.
Here are three steps to make that as painless as possible because in a world of busy and better, we all need a bit of easy.
- Know that you will make mistakes and have regrets. You are only human and no one is perfect. As long as you are focused on learning from your errors and doing the best you can, you will kill it at motherhood.
- Comparison is the thief of joy. Clearly, this is not a new nor novel idea. And I cannot take credit for this bit of wisdom. But the sooner we stop looking to others for validation and mother with confidence, the sooner we all find peace in the process. Remember, you know your child best and therefore, are what is best for them.
- This is a common theme on The Driven Mama and worthy of repeating. You are a mom, but that is not your only role nor does it have to define your existence. So, take care of yourself. Do something for you. Pursue your passions. Because even if you see if as selfish, you are setting an example that your children will benefit from far beyond childhood. Showing up well for others means first showing up for yourself.