“Motherhood ain’t for sissies.”
If you are mother, then you know that this saying is true.
You are responsible for all the normal adult stuff: bills, errands, jobs… probably taking care of a household, possibly loving and caring for a spouse, all the while little ones are hanging off your leg and begging you for candy.
Before I had my first child, I had this dreamy perspective of myself as a mother. I imagined this sparkling clean house, me all dolled up with my apron on baking cookies and humming, while my perfectly dressed little angels helped me clean (and of course, they were wearing cloth diapers).
Dream Life vs. Realty
Then I had a baby…And let me tell you, that first month was rough.
I had this romantic idea of what being a brand new mom would be like: me snuggling my babe to my breast while we bonded and fell madly in love, while magically losing all my baby weight and keeping a tidy house and a happy husband.
It looked more like this: my puffy, fat self lying in bed 24/7, too depressed to get up, lying in a pool of my own milk (that had been rotting for a few days), with a cluster-feeding newborn that I didn’t even like and a husband who was distraught by my behavior and didn’t know what to do.
Guys, it was rough. I was so overwhelmed and thought my life was totally over.
Finding a Solution
Eventually, I called my mom and my sister-in-law. My mother was more concerned about making sure I didn’t have postpartum depression. She reminded me that that stage is just hard and that everything was going to be okay, and to let her know if my feelings didn’t go away.
My sister-in-law was quick to fix my situation. She asked what my expectations were of myself. I quickly responded a similar scenario as described above. She laughed, and lovingly reminded me that those expectations weren’t even possible as a new mom!
She encouraged me to decide each day one thing that I really wanted to accomplish and make that my goal for the entire day. That way, if I accomplished it I would be satisfied, and if I got more done, I would be delighted!
This perspective permanently changed how I look at motherhood.
As a mother, there are so many responsibilities. There are expectations thrown at us from every direction… from our mother-in-law’s, our husbands, our friends, the media, and on and on! If we try to meet all of those expectations, we are going to drive ourselves insane – literally!
“Expectation is the root of all heartache.”
– William Shakespeare
It is so common to hear of mom’s suffering from depression, anxiety or just general stress. You may even be one! But I truly believe that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Though we all have different ways of parenting, we can all do one thing the same: lower our expectations of ourselves!
This doesn’t mean to disregard proper care for your child, yourself and your home.
This doesn’t mean to be lazy and irresponsible.
What it does mean is to look at your life practically and decide what is really necessary to accomplish. With your finances, your schedule, your responsibilities, and your lifestyle, what expectations are practical and possible, and what expectations are plain old ridiculous?
As women, we strive to do more, to achieve more and to be perfect – it is just the way we are made! But we will never be able to accomplish that ideal in our brains.
To our husbands and our kids, if we are taking care of their practical needs and loving them with all of our hearts, we will be perfect to them. And I firmly believe that that is what counts!
“Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens & happy kids.”