As moms, we have so much pressure on us. Society expects us to be perfect and to transition into the role of motherhood seamlessly. To make matters even worse, if we turn on the TV or log in to our Facebook or Instagram pages, we see all these beautiful feeds that capture moms with babies all proclaiming that they’re the happiest they’ve ever been. While this may be true for some women, I would argue for the majority of us, this is not the case. Motherhood is filled with many emotions, including happiness, but many of the emotions that we experience as mothers aren’t always happy and fluffy.
As a mom, I feel overwhelmed most days. My life before my daughter was pretty predictable. That’s not to say that things didn’t pop up from time to time that I didn’t anticipate but those events were few and far between and weren’t always in need of immediate attention. When you add a baby to your life, the chance that something will happen in your day that will completely derail your plans is probable, whether it’s the baby getting sick or going through a sleep regression or starting to test boundaries as a toddler, babies are constantly changing and evolving and as parents, we have to change and evolve with them. This means that often, just when we feel as if we’ve gotten into a groove, something changes. When your life changes every few months or sometimes even more often, its only normal to feel overwhelmed. Additionally, you have a whole human being to take care of that’s completely dependent on you, which essentially means that your workload has doubled. Its okay to feel overwhelmed and being or feeling overwhelmed doesn’t make you inadequate.
I feel inadequate. Before having my daughter, I worked in a very goal oriented business. I made a list of things that needed to be done every day, week, year and slowly ticked those things off of my list. As a mom, I feel as if that list is never ending and no matter how much I accomplish in a day, I always feel like I haven’t done enough. Between my child, my career and my home, something always seems to be falling through the cracks. The balance and sense of achievement that I felt in my pre-baby life has been replaced by this feeling that I’m drowning in a sea of chores and responsibilities! Most days, I feel like I’m constantly running behind or can’t seem to check off everything on your list and the truth of the matter is that most days I AM running behind and CAN’T check everything off my list. Which is okay, I don’t have to check everything off my list. Not being able to accomplish everything in a day doesn’t make me inadequate; it just means that I’m only one person and not the supermom that society expects me to be.
I feel uncertain and I worry. There are so many different ways to do things as a mom and I’m always worried that I’m not doing enough or that I’m not making the right decision. I’m constantly wondering if Sydney is hitting the milestones that she’s supposed to be hitting and am I encouraging her to hit them to the best of my ability. I wonder if I hover over her too much and don’t give her enough independence and then in the next minute I worry that I’ve given her too much independence and I’m not spending enough time with her. I wonder if she’s eating enough or if the food I’m feeding her is healthy enough. Sometimes, motherhood feels like this crazy place where I constantly second guess myself, which is a foreign feeling to me because, before motherhood, I felt very confident in the decisions I made. But when I think about it, when I first started my career, I was extremely uncertain, all the time and pretty much faking it until I made it! We live in a world that makes us think that we’re supposed to be complete naturals from the day we have a baby, but that’s not true. Uncertainty is a natural part of motherhood.
I feel guilty all the time. I feel guilty when I leave Sydney, I feel guilty when I leave her and I don’t miss her. There’s something that happens to moms that makes us believe that our entire identity must now conform to our tiny humans and causes us to feel guilty whenever we do anything for ourselves. You are not alone. I’ve not met a mom yet that doesn’t have some level of mom guilt. Mom guilt is just something that seems to come along with the territory and I'm convinced that a lot of the reason that we feel guilty as moms are directly correlated to the other emotions that we feel like inadequacy and uncertainty. I feel it every day but I try not to let it rule my decisions. I'm a better mom when I do things for myself and whenever I feel those guilty feelings, I remind myself of this.
All of these feelings are normal and if you are a mom that is feeling the same way, I wrote this for you. So often, when we’re having these emotions, we feel isolated and alone…like we’re the only ones experiencing it. That leads us to feel like awful mothers because everything that we’ve been taught has told us that motherhood is pure euphoria. While motherhood can be heavenly, it also has some hellish moments. One minute you find yourself staring at your growing baby and wanting them to stay little forever and the next minute, you find yourself counting down the minutes until they’re 18! Motherhood is tough. Like, really, really tough. Probably the toughest job that any of us will ever have. Even worse, for most other jobs, you get some sort of training, whereas, with motherhood, you’re given a baby (that can’t communicate I might add) and expected to just figure it out! The reality of it all is that it's not an easy transition and we may be mothers but we’re also human and its okay to cry, its okay to be sad, its okay to feel resentful. Feeling these emotions doesn’t make you a bad mom and it doesn’t mean you love your child any less. It just means that you’re human and you get to have bad days and bad moments too.