Let's be real, being a mom is not for the faint-hearted. You will have days where you think to yourself, "This is my life now?" Because for all the perfect Instagram moments, you'll have 10+ more full of poop, circles under your eyes, and tantrum-throwing toddlers.
PC: Rachel HarrisObviously, parenting is also rewarding and beautiful and incredibly meaningful. But to get you through those hard days, it's always nice to have someone to talk to, especially someone that understands what you're going through.
When Commiserating with Your Spouse Doesn't Cut it
We often turn to our spouses in these moments, which might not always result in the empathy we want. I know for me, all I want in these situations is a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. If my husband replied with, "That sucks, sweetie. I know that's hard, but you're doing great. It'll get better," I would be content. But instead, he typically tries (as most men do) to solve my problem with logical solutions. Sometimes I don't want to be logical---I just want to commiserate!
Find an Unassuming Friend
This is where a good friend and fellow mom, a sister, or your own mom comes in handy. Sometimes talking to all three types of people helps! Let's face it, commiserating helps us feel less alone and more like our troubles aren't so horrible. It makes a huge difference to know other people understand and get what you're going through. They've been there!
The trouble is, it's often hard to let your guard down and actually admit that motherhood isn't roses and rainbows all the time. Finding a good friend or confidant who won't judge can be difficult, and requires complimentary benefits from you too.
Be That Friend for Someone ElseIt takes energy to listen to complaints. As mothers, we need someone to talk with and empathize with, but it is possible to overdo it. Don't be that friend that always wants to complain but is never willing to listen to other's problems. Just like with any relationship, maintain a balance of give and take so you both can get some relief and reassurance that you're not the only one struggling. Validate each other's opinions, and provide comfort and support rather than advice. In the end, this makes a huge difference and helps you keep on keeping on.
Find a Release That Works for You
My last tip would be to find a release other than commiserating with someone. As helpful as that can be, there are other productive and healthy ways to cheer yourself up when you're feeling down.
Writing is one really useful way I unleash the beast within. I don't publish everything I write, but I find it very therapeutic to let out my anger and frustrations in this medium once in a while. A while back, I wrote a blog post about how motherhood is so wonderful, and I wished people wouldn't always talk so negatively about it. I felt high and mighty then, but I now understand why so many more-experienced mothers commented saying, "Yeah, but it's also nice to know people are going through the hard stuff, too!" John Krasinski recently said in an interview that he wished more parents talked about how hard it actually is, and he's right!
Choose a healthy and harmless way to release your pent-up frustration, anger, or sadness from time to time. It can be exercise, meditation, stress-cleaning, playing a musical instrument, dancing, journaling, or anything under the sun. If it helps you feel less burdened and better about your life, find and make time to do it. The people in your life don't deserve to get all the flack, and you'll be a much happier person in the long run.