It often seems that becoming a mother suddenly makes you a hot mess needing lots and lots of advice. Whether the advice is solicited or un-solicited the wide range of practical and simply ridiculous tidbits friends and strangers will give you is rather overwhelming. There are books and magazines, and online groups, and forums, and more all dedicated to letting us know what we should be/do as mothers. As a mother to six children, who started with just one, I have found the following to be Universal Truths for all moms….whether you have one child or six.
You Can Ask for Help
Yep. You sure can.
In fact, you probably should ask for some help!
I would describe a mother’s brain like my smartphone and my apps on it.
I almost NEVER close an app! My husband will spend 2 minutes shutting down apps on my phone and reprimand me for leaving them all open and attempt to explain this is why the phone is not functioning at full capacity.
My response, “I wasn’t done with that app! I still need to open.”
This is how it is in motherhood. We have all of our “apps” open all the time.
Laundry, cooking, cleaning, fight club referee, household management, organization, and on and on and on… None of these apps are every closing! They will remain indefinitely open….
Juggling “all the things” makes it hard to function at full capacity. Plus, throw in not sleeping consistently for a full 8 years in a row… Well, there is a reason you just put the keys in the refrigerator!
There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. In fact, it is refreshing to hear that other moms need help too.
You’re not asking for the world. You can just ask for a 15 minute nap or help with matching the overflowing sock pile. And no one is going to judge you for that!
Embrace Your Season
Motherhood is a series of seasons. You have an infant, then a toddler, then a preschooler, then maybe another infant and a primary student, and another infant, plus preschooler and primary student, and then… you get my point.
There are vast differences between mothering an infant and wrangling a toddler. There are limitations to what you can do when you have a child that is breast feeding exclusively or a toddler that becomes a gremlin when they miss their afternoon nap.
Acknowledge that you won’t be in this season forever.
(Acknowledging your season is half the battle and somewhat relieving to accept.)
When I had my three boys, 4 years old and under, it seemed like I had to give up everything! I just couldn’t keep any of the commitments I used to. I was regularly speaking and managing volunteers and coordinating events…But I had to give them all up when my third baby was born. I just could NOT do it all. And it made me super sad and a bit resentful.
But, when I acknowledged that this was a season. That it would not be forever…
I found new joy in motherhood and embraced being at home with all my babies. And you know what else? New and surprising opportunities came upon me that I could totally do! (Like starting this blog…YAY!)
Some seasons are certainly harder than others.
The infant/toddler years are often hard seasons. Any time you have interrupted sleep, you are in a hard season.
I would not for all the tea in China go back and repeat the season of 2014 & 2015….Nope! I would not. I survived that season. And I am glad I made it through and will cherish the results of that season. But thankful I will never again repeat it!
So, if your season is long, or lonely, or frustrating right now. Huge hugs to you momma! And keep your chin up. This season will end soon.
Motherhood often feels like the most vicious judgement zone you may ever encounter. Whether anyone is actually judging you or not, you feel judged and guilty and insecure about your choices in motherhood many times.
I do NOT have a perfectly spotless house. My kids bedrooms are not decorated (besides some Star Wars curtains I found on clearance.). You will usually see my children half dressed and dirt on their faces. I enjoy making homemade, complicated meals for my family. And I can’t remember the last time I matched a pair of socks for my children.
One or all of these things may make you go INSANE as a mother. And probably something you tolerate or accept in your children would make me loose my mind…
But that doesn’t make either one of us bad mothers. We are just being true to ourselves.
When we ended up with six children through foster care there came a moment when I had to realize I was NOT going to have a perfect home. In fact, I was going to have a WELL LIVED-IN home. Things were going to break and wear down and that is just going to be life. So I embraced my season and am learning to “Do Me.”
My children really aren’t going to remember how perfectly decorated my home was or if every floor was mopped once a week. But I know they will remember if I was happy and the home they lived in made them feel warm and safe.
It’s more valuable to let go of the “Mom Guilt” and find a happy medium where you are good in your head and the kids are being kept reasonable alive and healthy.
The alternative to not being you is trying to be someone else. And we all know that is never fulfilling or even remotely attainable.
This is not the end it all for advice. But I have found that when I have accepts these three truths I am confident as a mother. I am less likely to second guess my decisions and choices. I am always open for good advice. Not every piece of advice offered is going to be right for me and my family. And that is OKAY!
Motherhood is truly a journey. We never “Arrive.” We never have it all “Figured Out.”
Because you KNOW as soon as you think you do…. You sweet child will throw you the biggest curveball of their LIFE!
Much love to all of you other moms in your journey!
You got this!
Happy Motherhood Journey!