Motherhood is challenging for a lot of reasons, but one of the hardest obstacles many face is feeling fulfillment in each day. Although you know in your heart your job it important, that you’re irreplaceable to your family, and that their life would be completely different without you– it’s still easy to feel unimportant and forgotten.
The world holds completely unrealistic, impossible, and contradicting expectations of us mothers. It expects us to stay home with our children, but then belittles us when we do. We’re told that we stay at home because we’re not smart enough, talented enough, or capable enough to do anything else. But if we go to work we’re bad moms. Stupid. We’re also expected to be “super moms” and be an expert at everything-even though we’re too stupid to hold a “real job”. We have to be musicians, beauty contestants, the fittest of our lives at 4 months post-pardum, gormet chefs, scientists, mathmatitians, crafters, doctors, experts on every world event and every political crisis…. the list goes on. Oh, and you better never make that boxed cheezy crap for your kids even though you’ve been up all night with your new baby–which also makes you a bad mom because your child should be sleeping through the night at 3 weeks old. Good moms know how to get their kids to sleep. No, you better be feeding them 100% organic, no sugar, and no processed foods. And your house better be spotless while your children make memories and play– so figure it out, stupid. Stupid. And your kids better go to the best schools, play every sport, play a musical instrument, be on student counsel, and you better not let them out of your sight ever just in case they get hurt or someone is mean to them– but you better not do any of that or you’re a helicopter mom. And never get mad. EvER. Or your children will grow up doing drugs and end up in prison- especially if they already talk back. You’re doomed. So really there is no winning by the world’s standard. Stupid.
But we’re not victims. Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion on– especially for those who don’t have children. So annoying right? In reality, it’s a lot harder than it looks. Well, it doesn’t even look easy when a mom has three kids screaming in the grocery store; it actually looks pretty miserable. But good moms wouldn’t have screaming kids in the grocery store, duh. We should’ve let the experts handle it and stuck with cleaning toilets for a living because that’s the peek of our intellectual capacity. Stupid. But, no, we’re not victims. That’s not sarcastic. We don’t need a mommy movement… please no! Enough with the movements for every complaint that possibly could exist! Anyway, the point is never take it personally.
Being a parent is the hardest job on the planet. It demands more physical energy, more emotional energy, more dedication, more intellect & brain power, and more care than any job. It is also the most rewarding, important, world-changing, and joyous job. It can also pretty entertaining at times! Kids are hilarious. But never take the rejections, failures, or anything else for that matter- personally.
Really, moms, just don’t take any of this crap personally. YOU are enough. YOU are what your kids need. Not the unrealistic version of you. Not the stressed version of you trying to accomplish all of these expectations, you. They NEED YOU. This is a nonnegotiable and constant need. They will actually turn out better if you’re your raw, messy, imperfect self striving everyday to become better. They will admire that.. you. They will feel more comfortable approaching you when they have problems. Think about it. That “perfect” friend we all have and wish we were, but never can be so we just pretend we’re perfect too so they won’t know how messy our life is– we don’t want to be that to our kids. We want to be approachable and trustworthy. We want them to know that it’s OK to mess up as long as you keep on trying and keep on working to improve. Little secret– that friend isn’t perfect either and they don’t want you to know it 😉
You also need you. You need to laugh, sing, dance, and anything else that makes you happy. You need to love yourself. My dad told me many times that you can’t love anyone if you don’t love yourself. I didn’t understand what he meant until my mid-late twenties. I thought he was talking about prideful or narcissistic characteristics. I don’t know why I thought that is what he was meant, because my dad isn’t that way so he wouldn’t teach me to be narcissistic. He was talking about finding joy in who you are: your role, divinity, purpose, and strengths. To best love your children, your spouse, your family and friends you must first love you. You’re pretty great so take that time you need to get to know you. Let go of all of these crazy expectations the world places on us and be your messy, beautiful, worthy, fun, authentic, and Christ-like selves.
It can be very difficult not to take harsh criticisms personally- I get it! Especially if it’s from someone we love or from other parents. I’ve had number of times when good friends, strangers, and family let me know I wasn’t measuring up- as many of us have. I’ve taken it a number of ways: getting offended probably being number one, not caring what they thought probably being the end result after hurt feelings, and everything in-between. But I think the lesson to be learned was not to push these heavy expectations on myself or on my kids. That is when life opens up and you will feel a huge burden lifted off of your shoulders. Your anxiety levels and blood pressure levels will return back to normal 😉 ! You’ll feel lighter (best diet plan), happier, and more at peace. It doesn’t mean not to take responsibility for you or your kids’ actions. It means be to be reasonable with your expectations. You’re not perfect, kids aren’t perfect, and neither are your accusers. We just need to be the very best we can and never stop trying.
You’re enough, mama. You’re loved! Just keep doing your very best and that is enough. Your soul is important. You’re not forgotten. You’re important. Tell yourself that everyday and you’ll start to believe it. Lastly, remember to take it personally 🙂
“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” Doctrine & Covenants 18:10