Confession time: Mom life is not all snuggling sleeping babies and glamorous lunch dates with our mom friends.
Motherhood is hard work.
Really hard work.
There are days when we struggle just to keep it together, and sometimes we cry in the pantry (remember Charlotte in “Sex and the City 2”? That s— is real!).
Yet as mothers, we never give up. Eventually, we get out of the pantry, dry our tears and keep going. We do this because we love our children and our job of raising them. No matter what we might be dealing with on any given day, there are a few simple things that can make us feel instantly better.
Here are a few things that all moms should hear every day.
1. You are doing a great job
Every mom knows that what we do is hard work. Some may argue it is the hardest job there is (it is definitely the hardest job I’ve ever had). It feels great when someone else recognizes the hard work and acknowledges that we are doing it well.
2. All your kids need is for you to love them
There is so much pressure that society puts on mothers, that we put on ourselves, to do everything that our kids need us to. But the reality is, all our kids need is for us to love them as best we can. That is it. When a day might get really tough, don’t worry if you are giving them too much screen time or not enough vegetables. As long as you love them, that is all they need.
3. You are doing better than you think you are.
Everyone has bad days. But even on your worst days, you are most likely handling motherhood better than you think you. Take a step back and just focus on what you are doing, rather than what you feel like you are not doing.
4. It is okay if you feel sometimes like you are losing your mind.
Kids will do that to you! There will be moments as a mother when you do not feel particularly proud of your behavior. At times, you will feel like you are going crazy. It is OK to feel like you are coming unhinged. You will feel normal again soon.
5. Absolutely no one is as perfect as they seem on social media.
OK, this is a big one for me. While I admit that I very easily get caught up in the world of sharing on social media (after all #bloggermom), it is so important to be able to separate that out from reality. I do not often post those moments when I just yelled at my child or was bitchy to my husband for no reason. So why would I assume that anyone else is? Just because we don’t see others having these moments, does not mean they do not happen for everyone?
6. Parent time-outs are totally acceptable, and often totally necessary.
Self-care is essential for everyone but as a mom, you will not survive without it! Take a break every once in a while just for you. Take a long shower or have a glass of wine. Grab a cup of coffee with a friend or go on a date with your spouse. Taking a break from your children will allow you to return to them with a better capacity to give them what they need.
7. It is OK if you do not love every moment of being a mom.
I don’t love the sleepless nights, the overly fussy babies, and the times that my son looks me straight in the eye and does the exact thing I just told him not to. The list actually goes on and on. This does not make me a bad mom. It makes me human.
8. You are not alone.
One of the best things about motherhood (outside of our extraordinary kids, of course) is the community of other moms. I think it is pretty safe to say that for everything you have felt as a mom, there is another mother who will be able to relate to it. Knowing that this community stands behind you is an incredibly powerful tool in getting through those tough moments.
9. Your mom instincts are correct.
There are so many conflicting opinions out there about what we should and should not be doing when it comes to raising our children. And while a lot of those opinions are based on research, none of them are based on your child. You know your child better than any expert or professional out there.
10. You might not be the perfect parent, but you are the exact parent your child wants.
I read something on social media the other day explaining that when a child walks into a room full of parents, he will not be looking for the most perfect parent in the room, he will be looking for you. It is such an important reminder that our kids do not care one bit about all of the little things that we feel make up the “perfect” parent.
They just care that we are theirs.
So to all the moms out there, read this list every day. Add to this list. Remind yourself of all the wonderful things you are doing for your children and how important it is that you are in their lives.
If you see a fellow mom struggling (we all know what that looks like, and we have all been there), offer her something off this list. It is amazing how far a few words can go in shifting someone’s day for the better.
Jnore parenting columnist Talya Knable is a psychotherapist who lives in Lutherville with her husband, Stephen, and their two children, Jack and Leigh. Her website is tkpsych.com/ She is also the assistant clinical director of Shalom Tikvah (shalomtikvah.org/) , a local non-profit organization that supports Jewish families facing mental illness and other challenging life circumstances.
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