I always knew I wanted to become a mother; it was something that felt so important to me while growing up.
Now, as a working mother of two toddlers, I am recognizing that at times the picture of what I assumed motherhood to be, and the reality, are vastly different.
Although I am eternally grateful for my children, no one warned me about the weight, exhaustion and overwhelming feelings that are associated with motherhood.
Most of what I understood about motherhood was taken from my upbringing, education and the social network of fellow mamas.
I observed that once you became a mother, you also became a supermom of sorts.
I am in awe of the mothers and mother figures that I meet, and there definitely is a strength that women possess that is unmatched.
Why I'm retiring my supermom cape
However, I have retired my supermom cape.
In the beginning of my own motherhood journey, it felt as if I was supposed to suffer through, in blessed silence.
I saw others doing it all and assumed that I would need to do everything for my home and my children while still maintaining a therapeutic practice.
I was assuming the role as supermom.
I remember one day struggling to find time for a shower and honestly breaking down wondering what I had done.
This dream of being a mommy I had did not feel like the vision I had for myself.
Accepting your limits
The truth was, I had to recognize in my motherhood journey that doing it all was just not the goal.
I cannot be everything to everyone; not as a mom, a wife or as a professional. I was burning out.
In that moment, I recognized that something had to change.
So, let's talk about the change.
Firstly, I began to intentionally prioritize.
I just stopped and looked at what was important in my day-to-day life and began communicating that truth.
What could I put off for another day?
But more importantly, I began being mindful of not labelling myself a failure or incompetent if I didn’t get everything done.
Now I see myself as a human being who is entitled to be flawed and authentic, and who has respect for her feelings and acknowledges her worth.
Isn't this an awesome model to show our children?
Reclaiming me time
Secondly, I now intentionally ask myself if I have reclaimed my time.
I had to recognize that my needs must be met so that I can be more available and present with my family.
I had to see that trying to do every chore that needed to be done each day created a real level of resentment and I wasn't enjoying this dream that I had for myself.
So sometimes for dinner we eat sandwiches after we play.
A four-course home-cooked meal isn't the order of the day on a Wednesday after work. But I am still a good mom.
Being my authentic self
Thirdly, I had to stop putting that ‘supermom’ pressure on myself and be more authentic.
I am doing a good job and so are you.
I believe I am becoming a better mom because of it. I may sit on a toy or two, but at least the mess in my house means that fun is happening, my children are content and so am I.
Look at your day-to-day life and really reflect on how much of it is the stereotypical pressure of motherhood versus reality, and what is rationally achievable.
Check in with yourself, your emotions, your thoughts and notice what needs are not being met.
Then, think about how you are going to meet these needs and what are the steps involved.
Being a better mom
- Take the time to make yourself a priority in whatever way you can, even if it's just for five minutes in the car before work listening to your favorite song, doing a breathing practice, or taking a walk outside.
- Schedule ‘me time’ and commit to it.
- Ask for help. This may seem like a challenging task, but asking for help is a good practice to model for your children.
We don't have to break for the sake of being strong.
If it can't be done today, it will be OK.
Prioritize your tasks, stay organized and take a breath.
Take care of you mama. You are a superb mom!