I entered motherhood in my late twenties. Like many people, I was transformed for the better through parenthood. It was a transformation I eagerly welcomed and feel immense gratitude to be able to experience.
As fulfilling and transcending as motherhood has proven to be, it’s the one role that has me questioning myself – ahem criticizing myself – for every seemingly wrong choice and stumble I’ve made along the way.
On any given day, motherhood can feel like an emotional roller coaster. There is a surplus of emotions readily available to ingest, like: love, calm, joy, curiosity, humour, care, pride, confidence, awe and fierce protection. Oddly enough, within the same day, hour or sometimes minute, it can quickly and without warning shift to: worry, fear, surprise, disbelief, doubt, frustration, sadness, anger or complete and total bewilderment.
Motherhood is complex! Yet, the buy in to be 110% devoted to the role, has felt very simple. I’d go to the ends of the earth for my children. Some days it feels like I’ve done exactly that.
My devotion stems from my desire to first and foremost, keep them safe and alive. Then it’s to support them to be who they are, to know the importance of liking who they are, and to always treat other human beings and animals with kindness and compassion along the way. Of course, I also want to encourage them to make a life of meaning and happiness by their definition.
It’s a small wonder I worry on a regular basis if I’m qualified for this notably big and important role. The pressure I put on myself to get it right has always been the culprit for being unnecessarily critical and hard on myself. But there is no such thing as perfection in parenting, or being human for that matter.
Of course, I’m qualified for the role as mom. I’m a human being and like most I’m not perfect but I’m a good person. I make mistakes. Sometimes I get impatient and frustrated. I’ve said and done things I wish I could take back. But I also love with every part of who I am. I show up, every day in all of my momness and humanness. I can always be counted on to be there – to be really there – when it counts.
The picture above of my boys and I dressed up as superheroes is displayed in my office where I see it regularly. This picture doesn’t serve as a reminder of my superpower as a mom – though I’m pretty sure all moms and nurturers possess superpowers – the image serves as a reminder to be gentle with myself.
The picture was taken on October 31, 2011. The year when my boys were obsessed with all things superheroes. It was also the day, when hours earlier, I got to the hospital in time to hold my sister-in-law in her deep grief as her mom took her last breath.
It was the day I witnessed my mother-in-law, my husband’s mom – my children’s nana – take her last breath. After which, all I wanted and needed to do was crumble. But everything felt like it was crumbling, and I didn’t feel like there was room for me to fall apart. So, I went home to my babies, who didn’t understand what was going on, and I got them dressed up for Halloween. We gathered together as a family to attempt to hold each other up and make sure the kids got to be kids, knowing that’s what Nana would have wanted. After everyone was tucked in at home, and there was nothing else I could do, and nobody to witness me, I crumbled.
It was a time in my life when I regularly ran myself ragged, literally, and then beat myself up for not doing enough, or being enough. I look at that picture now and tear up at my complete and utter enoughness.
What I’d tell my younger mom-self, my current mom-self and my future mom-self is: you are doing a great job, you are a good mom and a good person. It’s okay if you don’t really know what you’re doing. Don’t pretend you do. Show them that it’s okay to go easy and be gentle on yourself. It’s okay to be sad and to grieve and to feel big emotions. Just as okay as it is to love with every part of who you are. Let them know it’s normal to make mistakes. It’s good to learn and even grow from those mistakes too. Being human isn’t something we get right, it’s something we get to be. Enjoy the ride, wherever it takes you.
To all the moms, parents and caregivers alike – you’ve got this. We’ve got this! If we can remember anything on the parenting roller coaster, let it be to go easy on ourselves exactly as we are today. Let that be the daily devotion and gift for the kids to witness and allow in their own lives too.
If you’re looking to implement some helpful new habits to prioritize your self-care, and still be a nurturer, come check out my E-Course that can be completed in under an hour.
In the ‘3 Simple Self-Care Solutions for Busy Moms Course’, I aim to help busy moms by giving them 3 simple self-care solutions they can implement right away.
These simple self-care solutions address getting used to putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, and making yourself and your self-care a priority.