I can’t lie about it. While it is extremely rewarding, motherhood is hard! No one could have told me that it would be this like this. No one could have told me about the emotional ups and downs that I would experience as a mother, one minute wanting your love bug cuddled up next to you and the next minute needing to hide in the bathroom just to have a moment alone. You have your moments of Mommy Pride where you stand a little taller as you watch your child’s performance or when they bring home a good report card or even as you watch them sleeping at night.
But then you also have those moments of guilt where you feel like you’re not doing enough, you’re not good enough, or you’ll never get “it” all done. We even feel guilty about wanting alone time and just wanting to get away from it all. We begin to compare ourselves to the picture perfect moms we see in magazine ads or we see on TV or that people post on their social media pages. We start feeling as if we’re the world’s worst mom, that everyone else has it all together, and that our children are being deprived of a great parent.
Mommy Guilt is so real, so sad, and so hurtful to us.
We judge ourselves so harshly as if we are never allowed to have an off moment. Being a mom is the one job that comes with no manual, no set of instructions, no training in preparation for it. We are all doing the best that we can, and we deserve a pat on the back (or a nice trip to the spa) for all that we do.
Here are 5 things that make YOU a great mom:
Photo by Tanaphong Toochinda on Unsplash
- You provide for your kids’ needs, and you try to give them most of what they want. I know people are thinking, “That’s not a big deal. That’s what you’re supposed to do.” However, if you think about it, this is a pretty BIG deal. Making sure to provide for your children probably takes precedent over your taking care of yourself. Most of us will go without something we need or want just to make sure our children have what they need. That type of selflessness is commendable and although it just comes naturally to moms, it is worthy of honor. In a time where people are driven by their own selfish desires, being a mom who gives her last and her best for her child is amazing. Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash
- You discipline them and teach them right from wrong. While it’s easy to be distracted by how cute your child is, there comes times when you have to correct them for what they’ve done wrong. You know what’s best for them even if they don’t believe it. So while those tears may be hard for you to see, the fact that you must instill in them the values and morals that they will need in order to be successful in life is more important than trying to avoid seeing a few tears. You know that in the long run having children who will go on to become well-disciplined and self-sufficient adults is so much more important than trying to make them happy all of the time. Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash
- You hurt when they hurt. I know nothing breaks a mom’s heart more than seeing her child hurting and not being able to do something about it. That’s part of the reason that disciplining can be so hard. We feel their pain; we have a deep connection with them and that mama bear in us wants to jump in and protect. That instinct to protect our children makes us special because that level of love is unmatched. We’d give our lives to make sure our children are protected and do whatever it takes to make sure they are comforted in their time of need.
- You dream about their future and the adults they will become one day. Prom. Graduation. College. Wedding. Family. As a mom, you don’t just worry about your child during their childhood, you hope and dream about the bright future that you see for them. That’s why you work so hard, why you discipline and talk to them, and why you try your best to set them on the right path. All you want is the best for your child, so although you still have dreams for yourself, your child’s future success is always at the front of your mind. It’s why you will sit with them for hours assisting with homework or why you will sign them up for activities that will help them pursue their passions. If you could, you would create the future that you wanted for them, free from all hurt, harm, or danger, and give them the best life you possibly could ensuring success in everything they do. Photo by Marco Ceschi on Unsplash
- You spend quality time with them. All of the toys, money, and gifts in the world can’t equate to the time that you spend with your child. Don’t get down if you can’t provide them with the “best of the best” of everything. So what if you can’t take them on a Disney vacation every year? In the end, that’s not what’s going to matter or what they’re going to remember. They will remember the bedtime stories, the trips to the local park, the encouraging words you gave as they tried something new or struggled with something difficult, the way you comforted them when they were sick or were crying, laughs you shared around the dinner table, and the nights snuggled up on the couch watching a good movie. What matters is the time you spend with them. And as the saying goes, it’s about the quality, not the quantity.
I promise you that what you’re doing right now IS enough.
All of the other things that we feel like we should be doing are just fluff, the extra icing on the cake. I’m not saying that being the team mom for your son’s football team, or making homemade costumes that will rival anything found on Pinterest, or being able to feed your kids organic, homemade food every day is not important; however, if that is how you measure your worth as a mom, you’re wrong. Who cares if this time you picked up the store-bought costume before you swung by McDonald’s on the way home from a long and exhausting day at work? Give yourself a break. Yes, our jobs are to provide the best life that we can for our children, but the problem comes when we begin to compare ourselves to other moms or when we set impossibly high standards for ourselves based on unrealistic expectations or when we don’t give ourselves credit for all that we do.
You’re a mom, not Superwoman (although I think we should earn that title for all that we do).
Cut yourself some slack. When you look back, what are the things that really stand out to you when you think about your mother or the woman who helped to raise you? Are you being judgmental about her parenting skills or are the first things that come to mind only about how much you know she loved you, the little things she did for you, and overall how she made you feel? I know what I think of when I think of my own mother and all that she did and provided for me. Knowing what I know now about parenting, I admire her strength, love, and tenacity even more.
You’re doing a great job. Don’t let anyone (not even yourself) tell you differently. Instead of trying to find new ways to be a “better” mom, take time out for yourself. Have that glass of wine. Spend some time with friends. Go on a mini-vacay alone. Believe me, you’ll come back refreshed and ready to take on motherhood even more. Taking care of you is the best way to make sure you’re always ready to take care of your kids. You deserve it.
And your kids will thank you for it.