Thursday, July 27, 2023

Why is Being a Mom So Hard?

If you are a momma, you have probably asked yourself “Why is being a mom so hard?” If you find yourself struggling with the concept (and execution) of being a modern mom, you are NOT alone! Being a new mom is one of the biggest life transitions you will ever experience. Although it is beautiful and rewarding, there are moments when it is also catastrophic. This may seem a bit dramatic, but if you find yourself in the thick of an identity crisis and feeling like you are failing at everything, (and can’t ask for help), catastrophic” is actually completely accurate. Many moms don’t seek the support they need for various reasons; one being that our culture’s expectations of modern mothers are near to impossible to meet!

If you think about it, modern moms are still expected to work and make a “successful” living independently; modern moms are expected to be fun but authoritative, patient but stern, sensitive but not hovering. We shouldn’t let our kids watch too much TV, play video games or the iPad. We should be engaging with our kids constantly; be teaching them something and helping them navigate their delicate and confusing emotions. We are expected as mothers to tend to our children’s every need without babying them. We are expected to work and earn a successful living without asking for help or getting special considerations from our employers. We are constantly expected to be better than previous generations.

We are also expected to be in control of the household, of our children, of our own autonomy and financial freedom, yet if we are perceived as too controlling, we went off the deep end. If we need help, then we are really asking for too much. On top of this, we also have the pressures from society as women, to be sexy and youthful; as wives/partners, to be attentive and patient. To not be needy, and to be confident. We are expected to have it all together.

Modern moms are expected to carry on traditional gender roles, all while thriving in the modern privileges of gender equality.

Well, aren’t these expectations too much?

If you were anything like me prior to becoming a mom, you had all your ducks seemingly in a row. You controlled everything; you were on a tight schedule, you took care of yourself, and your needs. You had a career, you were driven, and passionate. Hell, you even brushed and flossed daily. You, were seemingly on top of your game and then all of a sudden, your life literally turned into something you couldn’t recognize anymore. Your body was wrecked, your relationship sucked and you couldn’t sleep more than 4 hours at a time. Even though everyone told you, “sleep when the baby does,” you piled more and more to do’s on your plate because nothing seemed to ever get done. Eagerly attempting to get back to some sort of resemblance of your old self, you felt like you were failing at everything you attempted. I asked myself every 5 minutes it seemed… Why is Being a mom so hard? Is it this hard for everyone else? Unfortunately, I became a martyr and blamed everyone else for my setbacks. I was hormonal, exhausted, and was depleted from trying to do everything I had once been able to do, all while being a perfect, attentive, loving mother.

It was too much, and I was frustrated that no one talks about it.

Instagram influencers and the media all portray how glamorous being a mom is. With all the accessories and expensive gadgets, it seems odd that as a mom you would be struggling with regret or loneliness, when everywhere else tells you you should be happy. It’s amazing how our culture continues to promote modern women on these social media platforms; Instagram promotes “real” lives, yet none of it portrays the whole story. Social media is so counterintuitive to what is reality, yet we continue to use it as a barometer to gauge our level of success/beauty/normalcy/acceptance. Society creates so many judgements already, which divides us mothers, and makes seeking support additionally challenging.

The reality is, moms are over worked, under appreciated, and feel lonely. They also encounter judgments on all sides from other mommas that keep them feeling more and more isolated; working moms verses non-working ones, adoptive moms verses “natural” birthing ones, vaginal birthing moms verses c-section moms, breast feeding moms verses formula feeding ones, religious moms verses spiritual ones. The list goes on… It’s challenging enough being human, let alone raising one and not feeling you have unconditional support in any corner. We haven’t even started to discuss the division within your partnership and how challenging managing responsibilities in a modern household can truly be. Moms often feel unseen by their partner, especially if they are men, and the loneliness of not being understood as modern mom really sinks in. Then, if you’re a millennial mom, you may have many friends that don’t have kids, making it even more isolating to feel understood with others around you.

The year 2020 really threw a wrench in the mix and caused a lot of moms to “fail” even more, (I know I did!). Some working moms had to quit their jobs, take leave of absences, got laid off. Some stay at home moms had to learn how to support their child’s every academic/emotional/social/mental need all while taking care of the households. Some working moms had to do that and work. The year 2020 only glorified the lack of support mommas face and many of my clients (including myself at times) felt completely lost.

I personally think women’s rights and the journey to equality are moving in the right direction. We as women, have made it so far with being able to have the liberties that we have always deserved. This, in theory is GREAT! However, I still think we as a society have a long way to go. Modern mothers are constantly asking themselves, “Why is being a mom so hard?” “What happened to me?” “Did I ruin my life?” “Why am I failing at everything?” and are pushing themselves too far to accomplish perfection in everything they are expected to do, (which isn’t attainable!) Then, often times, we get stuck with the shame and guilt of needing to ask for help, or admitting to ourselves and others that sometimes this is just too hard. A big part of our pressure as moms is society’s fault, but another big source of our pressure is self induced. I think modern moms are generally more educated and embrace self care more than previous generations. Many mommas want to advocate for being a “better” parent than the one(s) they had because they struggled in childhood.

Many mommas push themselves too far because they are struggling with self love.

As moms, we have to acknowledge that no matter how much we love our families, we cannot feel whole until we prioritize self love. We have to take care of ourselves, our needs and prioritize our own emotional well being. We can’t continue to prioritize perfecting our responsibilities, in a subconscious attempt to find purpose.

We are still going to mess up; we are still going to negatively affect our children; we are still going to fail; we are human. We have to take the pressure off ourselves by admitting these truths. No matter how much we work on perfecting our lives, we may never have it all together. The most successful children come from parents that are able to acknowledge that; that give them an example of what it looks like to be insecure. We all grow and learn from leaning into our fears verses trying to control and cover them.

If you feel as though you are juggling bowling balls and can’t catch a break, it isn’t because you are flawed, momma, it is because our society puts too much pressure on us. We put too much pressure on us. Don’t let your guilt take over and make you feel like a horrible person. Your guilt is often being activated by fear and sometimes we need to just admit to ourselves we are fearful. We have to accept we don’t have control of the world; we don’t know what is going to happen politically, socially, environmentally. We don’t know how this year is going to affect our children in the long run. We don’t know how to manage our day-to-days! We are doing our best and it’s OK to be afraid that you don’t have it all together.

You are not the only mom that feels this way. I promise. Take time to nurture yourself daily, even if it is 10 minutes. Take time everyday to connect to your inner child and work on healing yourself from what you’ve been protecting your kids from. This will be the key to self love and exploration that helps you connect to your true inner strength and purpose. Us moms do a lot, and we don’t have to continue to be burdened by this unattainable expectation of perfection.

We can help!

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