When I first found out I was pregnant, I threw myself into motherhood with everything I had. I prepared like never before - I read parenting books and articles, I subscribed to online parenting classes, downloaded baby development apps, and spent thousands on everything I thought my baby needed.
My idea of what a ‘great’ mom was formed well before I was a mother myself. I would tell myself that once I become a mom, “I would do this, I wouldn’t do that, I would do this better”, I had everything planned - or so I thought. All this was before I had any idea how all-encompassing being a mother was before I had any idea how important it is to have a strong support system before I had any idea what life as a mom would really look like. Safe to say I was naive, and my entire belief and expectations of a ‘great’ mom were straight-up unsustainable.
Matrescence taught me that I needed to do the best with what I have, to keep striving for better, and to work harder every day like never before. It has moulded me to become a whole new person and without noticing it, I started looking at the world in a whole new light.
I faced the reality of parenthood and accepted all the ambivalent feelings that came with it. I am also starting to get comfortable with not sweating the little things and the big things, and I’m learning to say no to mom guilt and shame by constantly reminding myself that I’m “good enough”.
There are days where I would look in the mirror, see a whole new person, and feel proud of myself and the acceptance I have found in this uncharted territory. I love the freedom I have to be myself, be true to myself and the way I choose to parent. I have the freedom to choose what’s best for my baby without anyone else telling me otherwise. I allow myself to make mistakes and the chance for do-overs by picking the elements I want to repeat and those I want to do differently.
Of course, there are times where I would feel the pressure to want to get things right all the time, but I have to acknowledge that this is also part of being a mother. Sometimes things can get overwhelming and that’s just part of the process.
In any case, for me, and I hope for you too, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the physical and emotional demands of motherhood, please reach out to a friend or family member to talk about how you feel. The more we talk about our struggles, the more we will feel less alone. One thing I have learnt from this is that people are more understanding and helpful than we think. I used to be scared of reaching out to others for help or for support because one, I didn’t want to burden them with my issues, and two, I felt like they wouldn’t understand me.
But once I overcome that fear of reaching out, I immediately felt less isolated and felt like I was part of a community. A community of moms who are all going through the same thing - motherhood - and all that it encompasses, the good and the bad.
To be a great mom in a sustainable way, one of the most important things to remember is that you can’t do it all by yourself. Learn to let go, ask for help, accept help, and don’t stress about the little things. You are now taking care of both your baby and yourself in the same amount of hours and days you had before.
Be realistic with your schedule and the things you want to achieve, and do the best with what you have. Whenever you can, lean into your family and friends and build the support system you need.
Take care of yourself, & I wish you a wonderful day ahead! P.S. Motherhood: The Ultimate Learning Curve