I am a mom in many ways... I have two kids I gave birth to, four step-kids and one we recently gained custody of through a family member. Yep... You counted that right... Seven kids in all. Clearly, I love kids, but I screw up this motherhood gig on a daily basis and I often feel like I am the only one. I know it's ridiculous, but that's just how it feels sometimes.
When I feel like a loser mom, I tend to reach out to moms in any way I can, through Facebook groups, mom friends or just calling my mom. I can't tell you how many times I have admitted something to another mom, only to find out she does the exact same thing. It could be something as small as hiding chocolate from my kids, or something as serious as experiencing panic attacks. And every single time, I breathe a huge sigh of relief because I no longer feel like I am the only mom who seems to be flailing through my days. There are so many moms feeling isolated and judged because they think they are the only ones struggling their way through motherhood. I am here to tell you we all struggle, and maybe if we moms openly admitted some of our perceived "faults" to other moms in our lives, there might not be so many of us badgering ourselves in silence. So with that said, I truly hope you can relate to at least one of these.
1. Motherhood is messy in more ways than one. There will be tears, bruised egos, disappointments, spilled milk, dirty dishes and piles of laundry. None of us makes it out unscathed. Save a piece of your sanity and just embrace it. And remember, sanity is relative.
2. It's difficult to say no, even when it is necessary. For some reason, a lot of us moms have an innate need to take care of everyone and try to make them all happy; the kids, our partners, our parents, the PTA... The lists go on and on, and we think we can take it all on, all by ourselves.
3. Every mom loses her cool at some point. There are only two kinds of moms: moms who have lost it and moms who will lose it. We all have our breaking points. For some of us, it happens daily; for others, it is rare -- but it happens to every last one of us.
4. There are times when you won't have a clue what the hell you are doing. Even with all the books out there, you still won't be able to figure it all out. Every situation is different, every child is different and every parent is different. Unfortunately, there is no way you will know the answer for every thing that comes your way, and sometimes you will just get it wrong.
5. A vice is a necessity for surviving motherhood... Chocolate, coffee, wine, the Kardashians. It's called a coping mechanism and everybody needs one. Pick your poison and throw the guilt out the window.
6. There is no such thing as work/life balance. Sometimes you will be a rock star at work while your home is falling apart, and sometimes you will rock motherhood while everything else falls by the wayside. It's an impossible standard, and you should just let that idea go before you make yourself feel like a crazy, inadequate mess.
7. You can't do it all. When you try to juggle it all, it is inevitable that you will drop the ball on something -- and maybe even everything, all at once. Moms are super, but we are not superhuman.
8. Anxiety and motherhood are often hand-in-hand experiences. However it manifests, know that you are not alone. Acknowledging it doesn't make you incompetent; it makes you human. The pressures of being a mom can send even the most put-together woman into a tailspin.
9. Engaging kids during their every waking moment is an exhausting and often boring pain in the butt. Today's "parenting gurus" have guilted us into thinking we need to use every single minute to engage with our kids. Kids need to learn to play on their own, and figure some things out without you guiding their every move. Throw some toys on the floor and go finish your coffee while it's still warm.
10. TV is sometimes a necessary babysitter. When you are in the midst of trying to pull dinner together and one kid needs help with homework, the other is literally climbing the walls and the baby is clinging to your leg, screaming... What the hell are you supposed to do?
11. It's easy to forget your other half in the mix of it all. Relationships are hard work, and adding kids only makes them harder. It is easy for kids to become all-consuming -- and for you to end up tired, touched out and without much energy left for anyone else. You have to make time to get some loving from your partner, because both of you deserve it.
12. Mom is often last on the list. We are caretakers, but it is so easy to push taking care of ourselves to the end of the list. Then we end up a burned-out mess with nothing but resentment to give to everyone else. It happens. You have to give yourself a break.
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