There’s no doubt about it, being a mom is tough - really tough! Of course, raising kids is a huge privilege, but knowing this doesn’t make it any easier! From caring for your sweet little newborn who is entirely dependent on you, through to the demands of parenting a fiercely independent argumentative teenager - whatever stage you are at in your motherhood journey being a mom is never an easy job.
While motherhood may be a completely natural role which is carried out each and every day by millions of women around the world - the demands it brings should never be underestimated. Whether it’s night feeds leaving you desperately tired, or the demands on your body that pregnancy brings, being a mom is all-consuming and informs every part of a woman’s life. Lack of sleep, morning sickness, worrying about an out of control teen, motherhood encompasses every aspect of a woman’s life; physically, mentally and emotionally.
With all of the demands that moms face each and every day, it really is no wonder that they often find themselves bottom of the pile when it comes to prioritising their needs and wellbeing. Whether you are a mom that feels she has lost her identity or a mom that never feels she’s getting it right - hopefully these tips will help you to see that you are doing a great job.
Ease off the Pressure
It's a fact that as a mom, some days can be a lot harder than others. Sometimes when you have kids, you can feel like nothing is going right and end up feeling stressed out to the max. You may have endured your toddler having an all-out tantrum while laid on the floor of the supermarket complete with fist thumping and ear-piercing wailing while you got judgemental looks from other shoppers, or maybe your teenager just screamed at you and stormed out of the house slamming the door behind them in front of the neighbours. Whatever kind of day you have been having, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are doing your best.
Remember that not every day is perfect; remind yourself that your toddler is not deliberately trying to upset you; they are expressing their frustrations. Your teenager may be consciously lashing out at you, but your disagreement is likely to be about something that they want to do, and that you as an adult can see is unwise.
Being a mom, you are likely to be the adult that has the closest relationship with your kids, and the person they feel most comfortable with, it then follows that you are the one that faces the brunt of their emotions. Being on the receiving end of your child's outbursts or tantrums doesn’t make you a bad parent, and doesn’t mean that you should put extra pressure on yourself or feel bad, you simply need to remember that you are doing your best and that tomorrow is a new day.
Being a mom is not a competition, and you can be sure that however perfect other people may claim their lives are on social media, behind the happy smiling photos they are more than likely dealing with all the same day to day issues as you are.
A Mom’s Needs Matter Too
As a mom, you may find yourself continually putting yourself last and everyone else before you. While this is an easy habit to slip into when there are so many demands on you, it doesn’t have to always be this way. Remember that you are a role model to your kids, and the way that you treat yourself, also indicates to them how they can treat you. If your kids have been brought up to see you putting yourself down or neglecting your own needs, then it is likely that they will think it’s fine to put you last too. Striking a balance between taking care of your own needs and looking after your kids is never easy, but it is an important thing to strive for. After all, as a primary role model to your kids, your behaviour informs their opinions of what it is like to be an adult and a parent.
Being a parent always involves a little sacrifice of your wants to some extent, as this is just part of the responsibility that parenting brings, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t matter at all. If you’re the parent that always eats the one burnt piece of chicken for dinner, or always forgoes dessert so that everyone else gets a portion - then it’s time to stop and redress the balance, so that you are treated equally. As a family, you are a team, which means that everyone's needs should be respected, both kids and parents.
The Importance of Self Care
When you’re a mom, there’s pretty much one day of the year that’s all about you, and yep you guessed it - Happy Mother’s Day! Of course, Mother’s Day is a lovely opportunity to enjoy a day of happiness spending time with your family, and maybe even being treated to a spot of pampering, it really is a very special day. However, don’t let Mother’s Day be the only day of the year that you allow yourself to be cared for and take notice of your own needs.
Moms often find themselves battling on through everything that life throws at them - illness, extreme stress and tiredness, as it’s simply believed that keeping on going no matter how you are feeling is what moms do, and is how moms ‘should’ behave. While dedication to your family is always a good thing, neglecting yourself completely is not advisable. Making sure that you are well looked after too will mean that you can do a lot more with your kids than you can by prolonging your illness by trying to battle through without getting any rest.
Taking care of your basic needs by getting enough sleep (where possible!), eating right, being sociable and getting out and about in the fresh air is sure to make you feel a lot better, a lot healthier and make the challenges of being a mom a whole lot easier to cope with. Taking care of yourself really does create a win-win situation!
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Amid potty training, meltdowns, teenage angst and the other tough parts of parenting it can sometimes be hard to see the fun side of family life and to focus on how hard it is. Being endlessly told to make the most of our children as they are young for such a short amount of time, maybe the biggest cliché ever, but that doesn’t mean that it is not 100 per cent true.
Don’t forget to stop and just be with your family sometimes, allow yourself to enjoy family time regardless of whether the dishwasher needs loading or how much laundry there is to be done, make those memories while you can, as you can be sure that the chores will still be waiting for you later on.
Taking off some of the pressure that moms put themselves under to be the perfect mom, with perfect kids and an ideal home will certainly help to make life a lot more fun. After all, it is often those imperfect moments that bring the family together. In imperfect moments you will often find the most laughter and feel the most love for the family that you have created.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.