Whether you work outside the home, in the home, or you don’t work at all, every mom is hard on herself. Part of this comes from the relentless list of to-dos we have running through our brains. But at the end of the day, if your kids are fed and alive, it’s really a win.
Why Can’t I Just Be Better?
I have days where I get really down on myself. It's not every day, but there are days where I can’t let it go that I forgot that load of laundry, and I haven’t mopped the floor in ages. I take every little little thing I didn’t get done, and turn it into a giant ball of overwhelming self-resentment. Why can’t I keep my house perfectly clean? Why can’t I stay on top of the dishes? Why am I taking so long to potty train my kids? You can see how this tendency is unhealthy and unproductive. The truth is I have to work at it every day. Moms have a monumental mental load
. At any given moment, here’s a sample of what’s running through my brain:
- Must remember to take out the trash.
- I really need to clip my toddler’s fingernails.
- When’s that doctor’s appointment again?
- We’re almost out of dish soap.
- Whoops, there’s a mess I wasn’t expecting.
- I have to find time to go through clothes again soon. The closet is overflowing and disorganized.
- What should I make for dinner? I need to go grocery shopping.
Multiply that by financial stress and holiday business, and you have yourself a real hot mess. But even though all these little things matter and need to be taken care of, we women and mothers don’t have to let it all pile up. Here are some things I remind myself of to get me through:
Know You Are Not Alone
We need to remember we aren’t the only ones going through this. Since the dawn of time, mothers everywhere have had a never-ending to-do list, most of which they don’t get done. And that simple fact helps us realize that we aren’t, in fact, failures. The day might be over, and we didn’t get a shower and the dishes didn’t get done, but the kids are alive and loved. This is one of the reasons that I think moms need other moms. Even if it’s a get-together once a month where you can talk, relax, and relate, it makes a world of difference.
Recognize the Small Victories
You might not have made a dent in the mountain of laundry or gone on a fantastic outing, but here’s a list of things you most likely did accomplish:
- Fed your children breakfast
- Inspired your child by reading books with them
- Changed countless diapers
- Built your child’s self-esteem with praise and attention
- Gave your toddler confidence when you helped him/her practice a new skill
- Fed your children lunch
- Witnessed your baby reach an important milestone such as laughing
- Prevented your toddler from dumping all the flour on the floor
- Kept your children safe
- Fed your children dinner
- Gave the kids baths
- Put them to bed
At the end of the day, your kids are happy and safe. You did what you had to do. As long as your children know you love them, that’s all you really need to do. The other stuff is gravy; sometimes it gets done, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Realize You Are Enough
You might not be a perfect mom, and you might not always be the mom you want to be. But the important part is that you are trying. And that is enough. It’s enough for your kids, trust me. Trust their love for you. If you’re beating yourself up for the little things, you won’t get to enjoy the best parts of motherhood.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and try again tomorrow. If you allow for some flexibility on the mental to-do list and engage in a kinder inner monologue, you’ll know that you are actually pretty amazing. Because you are a mother, and all moms are warriors—taking it one day at a time.