Whether you’re a new mom, have toddlers running around or a seasoned mom with teens, some days are just tough.
It’s easy to get discouraged, especially when we’re tired. Just having kids is usually enough to keep us tired, and that’s without even counting the ferrying the here and there, keeping them fed, clothed, educated, and happy. Some days it feels like we’re not keeping up. Other days I’ll admit it feels like we’re outright failing. I’m here to tell you: You’re not failing as a mom. And here’s why:
They’re still breathing.
Go ahead and laugh, but that’s a win right there. Take credit. You’ve kept them fed and mostly clothed. (We don’t need to talk about that day they streaked around the back yard. We’re going to assume no one remembers that moment.) First of all, it’s no easy feat to be responsible for another life. And even on the days it seems like all they’ll eat is cheerios, they’re eating. Save the peas for another day.
And if they’re older than toddlers? Kudos, mom. You’re not failing as a mom. You’ve done the sleepless nights. You took care of someone who gave nothing back to you but a dirty diaper. You taught them to talk, walk and share. You’re resilient, determined, and have done something right to get them this far.
The failures don’t define us.
Sure, we have moments that we regret. We yell. We cry. And we hide in the closet to eat the chocolate. As a result, there are plenty of times we don’t quite fit the “ideal mom” model. It’s so easy to let these “fail” moments become the only moments we remember. Don’t let yourself define your mom abilities by those. If they stand out, it’s usually because they’re not the norm. So start focusing on the other moments — the ones where you loved, you listened, and you provided. Let those moments paint the more accurate picture.
You can still make them smile.
Chances are, you know your kids so well that you know what makes them truly happy. Maybe you are the only one that can get a deep belly laugh from your baby. It might be as simple as a heart-shaped sandwich at lunch for the littles, or a sticker pack from the dollar store. It might be a Dutch Bros. surprise for the teen. Don’t forget that you have this magic, this insight, this goldmine in your head. Because the moments you create with this insight are more valuable than the world!
If you have teens, know that on some days their smiles are eye rolls. For real. I think I read that once on a blog somewhere. (Okay, not really.) Just know that fiercely loving your kids is worth the effort, and even if you don’t see the payout with your teens right now, chances are you will when they’re a little older. You’re not failing as a mom. Not when you’re loving your kids. No, not a chance.
When you’re tired, everything feels worse than it really is.
Did you get the sleep you needed last night? If you’re like most moms of littles, there’s a good chance you didn’t. And if you didn’t, there’s a good chance today might be a bit rocky. Cut yourself some slack. You’re not failing as a mom. You’re just worn out. Curl up on your bed at naptime. Afterwards, your outlook will most likely improve, and you’ll be so much happier with everything after some down time, even if it’s just 20 minutes.
Happy kids are worth more than a clean house.
Do the voices in your head tell you that your house isn’t clean enough? That you should be keeping up better? Don’t let them shame you. You’re not failing as a mom. Being a parent is tough, and it takes a whole lot of time and energy. Do what you can, but don’t be too hard on yourself. And know that most other parents (and us) are right there with you in the mess. And I can tell you that right now my house has clutter on the floor and my toilet needs to be cleaned.
You’re not failing as a mom. Your standards are too high.
We all have an ideal in our head of what a mom is supposed to be like. Whether it’s modeling our own upbringing, doing everything completely the opposite, or somewhere in between, you probably have your sights set really high. When we get pregnant we dream of what it motherhood will look like. We dream of tucking the baby in every night, singing happy nursery rhymes, and all the perfect moments of motherhood in between. I have one thing to say: Throw them out. Life rarely matches up to our ideals, so set yourself free and start loving what you have. You will have some magical moments as a mom, but it’s not always perfect. You’ll be happier if you let go of perfection a result. I guarantee you’re doing much better than you think you are.
Social Media isn’t accurate.
Okay, let’s take a reality break for a moment. How many times have we searched Pinterest for the perfect recipe, the perfect baby room décor, or the perfect teen basement hangout? Or seen your friend’s beautiful family vacation photo on Facebook? Or the neighbor’s kitchen remodel? Everyone’s hair is always perfect and all their clothes not only fit them well, the whole family coordinates. Moms, don’t believe that’s their everyday reality. It’s not. And most likely just outside the photo edge is a laundry pile that’s at least the size of yours. Don’t get sucked into the lie that you’re the only one with breakouts and yoga pants and boxed mac and cheese for dinner. True life and Facebook land aren’t the same thing at all.
Take a deep breath. Stop and think about how amazing your kids are.
How their bodies work, their hair grows, and their minds develop. They’re creative and resilient. You have a roof over your head, food to feed them, and blankets to cuddle in. There are so many little things to celebrate every single day. Start noticing them. Write them down if you need help remembering. The wiggly toes, the way they eat grapes, the love notes they leave. The amount of food your teen son can eat, the creative dances your teenage girl and friends perform. The way your daughter’s hair holds a curl. The way they need you and love you for who you are. You’re not failing as a mom.
You’re not failing as a mom. You’re winning, mom. You really are.
Baby Nest Birth Services provides pregnancy, birth and postpartum support with Doula services in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington metro areas. As professional labor support, our entire focus is to empower, educate, uplift and comfort those on the journey of becoming parents, because we know first hand, it is hard and challenging, but so worth it!