Motherhood is hard. It is way more difficult than I thought it would be. Before kids, I thought of them as having little friends that I would get to play everyday and snuggle with every night. Although we do get to play and snuggle, I was WAY off about the whole “friend” thing. Think about your current friends…. do you bathe them? Do you have to teach them things and show them how to be proper humans? No. But they are our children, our babies, our precious bundles of joy and we love them without end! Still, even with all that love, motherhood is still a difficult task. And there are four mistakes that us mothers make that do not help us in raising our children, they cause us to struggle even more. Lets take a look at them:
1. Trying to be a “perfect” mom.
What is the “perfect” mom? Does she feed her kids only organic food or does she let her kids have treats after meals? Does she co-sleep with her children or does she sleep train them to sleep alone? Does she boil her baby’s pacifiers to ensure they are clean or does she just wipe them off on her own shirt? The answer is YES! Because all children and all moms are different and we all have our own way of doing things. And just because they are different does not make them wrong. Instead of trying to be “perfect”, ask yourself this question: “do my children know that I love them?”. That’s really what it all comes down to in the end. We discipline them because we love them and we don’t want them to grow up thinking they can behave badly. We force them to eat vegetables and other foods they hate because we love them and want them to be healthy. You may go through the entire day second guessing yourself and wondering if you were a “perfect” mom that day, but its the “I love you too, Mommy” at bedtime that really lets you know how you’re doing.
2. Expecting our kids to be “perfect”.
Once again, there is no such thing. I cannot tell you how many books I have read on parenthood that all said the same thing: “Your child is who they are and there is nothing you can do about it”. Before they were even born, it was already decided what they would look like, what personality they would have, and how much trouble they were going to give you as they grow up. They may be a follower or a leader. Outgoing or shy. Defiant or passive. Athletic or artistically inclined (or both!). Sure, they can practice something and become better at it, but somethings will never come naturally to them. Now, this does not mean that we should give up on them, or pull them out of a sport just because they are not the best player on the team. But we should consider the fact that us moms are not great at everything either. We too need practice and advice, and I bet a little more patience wouldn’t hurt anyone either.
3. Making your children your #1 priority.
Wait…what!? Yes, you read that correctly. I am aware that it may sound crazy to most moms, since our children become our whole world from the moment they are born. But our kids are not the only people in our lives. What about your husband? What about yourself!? As a Stay At Home Mom, I can tell you that I am NOT a good mom when I have been around my children for too long. I need my breaks! I need time to myself or time with my husband to refuel and recharge my patience. And trust me, your kids may want a break from you too. As much as we love our children, it does not mean that they can’t become overwhelming at times, especially if they are still little (like my boys who are 2 and 4 yrs old). I am more understanding, more patient, and overall a better mother when I make time for myself. Now, if you are a working mom, you may consider work your “me time”, and that’s okay too! Your job is important and you are showing your children that it is good to have a passion and career. So be sure to schedule yourself alone time at the gym and call a babysitter for date night with the Hubs, cause Momma you need it!
4. Comparing ourselves to other mothers (even those we don’t know!)
Stop, just stop. Nothing good will come of comparing yourself to another Mom. Once again, no one is perfect. Neither you, or the “perfect mom who seems to have it all together”. In this day with social media, it is so easy to look from the outside but we will never really know what is going on on the inside. Social media can often paint a picture of someone or some family in a certain light, when in reality its the opposite. We only see what they want us to see. We see a picture of a mom pushing her little one on a swing at the park and we feel guilty, because our kids wanted to go to the park today but we had too much work to do. We see a video of a family on vacation and feel like horrible moms because we don’t have the money to give our kids great experiences like that. But do those things really make you a bad mother? No.
Lets go back to the question: “do my children know that I love them?”. That is what we should always be asking ourselves.
Keep up the good work, Momma!