Lies we tell ourselves about motherhood
Growing up, my mother stayed home with my brother and I. When my mom decided to stay home, it wasn’t a difficult choice for her. She had us at a young age and in her country mothers stayed home with their kids. It was wonderful having my mom pick me up everyday, being there for me in order to help me navigate the difficult transitions throughout childhood. Meals were always prepared, she went on school trips with me and my teachers knew her well.
When I was 11 she decided to finished her high school diploma and eventually became a teacher; it was a profound moment for all of us. She tells me, how she came to believe that she had to be a certain way to be a good mother and it took her a long time that this wasn’t true. My mother discovered a passion of hers and followed through on making it a reality. She let go of many of the lives she told herself about motherhood and in whatever role she played in my life I learned a great deal from her.
I am a working mom now, however, I had the privilege of staying home with my first son for the first two years of his life; it was great and life altering. I am so grateful for the time I spent with him but boy did I lose myself in motherhood. I became so engulfed in being his mom that I lost my identity and he became all I knew. When I finally returned to work I slowly started to feel more like myself. Don’t get me wrong, there is a beauty in being a stay at home and it's damn hard work which is often underrated but I just prefer to work outside the home for now. It just works for me.
As I reflect on the roles my mom took on for our family and then, later, the roles I took on thinking that this was the right way to mother, I realized that as moms we place a ridiculous amount of stress on ourselves. We come to believe that the only way to be a great mom is to mother in just the right way. We lie to ourselves about the perfect picture of motherhood.
NEWS FLASH: There is no one right way to be a mother.
There is no one right way to be a mother.
In my reflection, I started thinking about why we place this pressure on ourselves. After some soul digging and reading ideas from other moms I realized that we have internalized three big lies to be truths and these lies drive us to drive ourselves crazy!
Here are the top three lies we tell ourselves motherhood:
#1. You have to be available at all times.
What I mean by this is that we have to come to believe that we have to be available for our families all the time. We think:
-We aren’t allowed to find time for ourselves.
-We are expected to be able to solve every problem at all times.
-The second we aren’t there for our families, the whole thing will crash.
Truth: Our families come to depend on us because of how much we give to them. When my mom went back to work, I had to step up and adjust. It was a challenge but eventually I was cooking and cleaning to help out in my house. The world didn’t end because my mother wasn’t there for us 24/7. Instead, I became a self-sufficient teenager and better task manager. Simply, there is no law that states you have to be available and ready for your family at all times.
#2. You can’t ask for help
You have come to see asking for help as a sign of weakness. You believe:
-Other moms don’t ask for help so why should you.
Truth: Moms ask for help from their parents, spouses, and friends. We just don’t share how often we do this but if more of us did share when we needed help and how we went about getting the help, then more moms would feel comfortable doing the same.
-People will judge your ability to parent because you needed support.
Truth: If another mom is judging you for asking for help then they are more likely judging themselves for the same thing and are projecting
-You are the only one who struggles with being a mother and so no one would understand why you need help.
Truth: Again, this simply isn’t true. Every single mom on this earth has struggled at one point or another. There is no perfect parent or life. Not one mother on this entire planet has to parent not found difficulties in doing so.
#3. You have to do everything
This might be a self-imposed lie. When my son was born, my husband had already been a parent for several years so he knew a lot of things I didn’t, however, I was convinced that if I didn’t do everything myself, my son would be screwed in life. It wasn’t because I didn’t trust my husband its because I believed I had to be the one to do all the cooking, cleaning, food shopping. I knew what was best and had to be the one to do it. What a crock! When I finally let go and accepted that my husband can do many of the things I was doing, I became a better mom. Instead, of scrutinizing over every little thing my son needed I was actually able to breathe and enjoy the time with my son.
Truth: We don’t know everything and don’t have to do everything. I am not an expert in ALL things mother and neither are you. If you hate doing laundry, then pass the task on. If you suck at singing kids songs, find songs that you can lip sync to. The point is, no one is expecting you to do everything. Instead, find some time to enjoy your kids.
I wish for you that you would start breaking free of these and any other lies you tell yourself about motherhood. You may have realized a long time ago that you were forcing yourself to believe something about motherhood that wasn’t true. You felt it was wrong but did it anyway. Now, it’s time to break free from these lies. In this post, I have included a pdf journal page that you start using. As you journal, I want you to listen to yourself and tune into the stories about motherhood you have come to believe. I want you to explore those stories for yourself and break apart the lies in them.
Then, I want you to step into your truth.
After you have completed your journal page, come back here and tell us what are some lies you are breaking free from. Also, tell us what self-truths are you stepping into!
Sending you lots of love,