A few weeks ago, I was having a really really rough day with Owen. He was frustrated, I was frustrated and I hit that wall where I just felt like a complete and utter failure as a mother. I started second guessing everything I was doing and wondering what I’d done to make him act like a complete terror. Of course, completely disregarding the obvious things like, he’s two, and his mood swings from moment to moment. It’s all too easy to get caught up in it when you feel like you’re going through it all alone.
I shared my sentiments with you guys on Instagram and was overwhelmed by the number of messages of understanding and encouragement you guys sent. I read them, and I laughed, teared up and thought, “OMG, yes, she totally gets me”. But, most of all I was reminded that I’m actually not alone. It’s not only happening to me.
As much as I can hate Instagram somedays, that was one of those days where I was reminded that it can still be a positive space, and I’m so grateful for this community of like-minded women who keep me sane. Thank you.
How to Be a Good Mother
Love your Child
We’re already good at this one! It comes pretty naturally, and when you’re in a hard moment, try to just remember how lucky you are to have this (maybe crazy) child in your life. Give them hugs, kisses, hold them, cuddle them, snuggle them—simply love them!
Give yourself Grace
It’s a hard job, and often, a thankless one. It’s also so easy to compare yourself to what other moms are doing either in person, or on the internet and social media. But, girl, if someone is making you feel bad, do yourself a big ole favor and unfollow them. Life is too short to have others make you feel bad.
And, remind yourself that you’re human, you’re not perfect and no one expects you to be. You are doing the best you can, and that is amazing.
One the best things in my life are my mom friends. Even the women who I’m not super close with are so important in keeping me sane and feeling like a normal human. Having women to confide in and cry to when I’m having a bad day is so essential. These same women are also the ones that encourage me and remind me that I’m doing a good job. They are priceless!
If you don’t have much of a community, start by getting out more and making small talk with moms you see at school, at the gym, at the coffee shop—anyone. I promise, they probably want more mom friends too!
Take Care of Yourself
I can’t stress this one enough. If you’re not feeling your best, you can’t give others your best. I learned this the hard way after Owen was born. I didn’t prioritize rest in my attempt to get “back to normal” as quickly as possible. I let my health suffer by fueling myself with foods that gave me quick energy (aka, sugar and white carbs—think bags and bags of pretzel chips) to just get me through the day. It wrecked my gut health, which wrecked my skin—all of which I’m still repairing today.
It’s so tempting to just push through and put our own needs last, but it’s literally the worst thing we can do. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so take the time to heal your body and mind. Give yourself breaks for self-care and do things that make you feel amazing. Maybe it’s a walk, alone, or a yoga class or drinks with a friend. Despite now being a mother, you are still human and an individual—don’t forget it!
Ask for Help
I struggle with this one. I even struggle to ask Rob for help, though I’ve gotten a lot better. For whatever reason, I feel like I should and need to do everything myself—I am a mom, right?! But, when did this idea that mothers should literally do everything by themselves—raise kids, cook dinner, clean the house, have a job, and have a social life—come from?
I read something a while back, can’t remember where, but it talked about how this is the first generation that’s expected to do it all. Before, we had help from neighbors, moms, family members, etc.
It might feel hard at first, but do it for your own sake. If no one can help, hire a babysitter for an afternoon to go get your haircut or go to a workout class if you need it. There’s no shame in asking for help! I always find that people are more than willing, which is so nice!
You’re the Best Mom for your Kids
One of you actually sent this to me, and it literally brought me to tears. It’s the truth and sometimes when you feel like you’re messing up everything, it’s hard to remember that you are the best possible mother for your child, but you are.
You are worthy, deserving, capable and incredible and your child knows that too.
Do Something That Brings You Joy
Maybe that’s work, maybe that’s a hobby or a workout class or volunteering. But, this goes back to not being able to pour from an empty cup. If you’re feeling like you have nothing in your life that’s for you, it can feel so draining. I know not everyone wants to work, but if I couldn’t do my job anymore, I would be devastated, even depressed. Having this gives me a something that’s just for me, reminds me that I’m more than just a mother and gives me more purpose than being a housekeeper and short order cook.
This will look differently for everyone! I know several friends that literally HATE working, being able to be home with their children is what brings them joy. At the end of the day, you know yourself best—listen to what makes you happy and do it!