Picture this: You are on your way home from a hard day of work.
The day has been super stressful and you realize half-way that you still have to go to the grocery store to restock the fridge before you pick the kids up from school.
Before you became a mom you would have thought that this would be the hardest part of your motherly duties, but there is so, so much more that awaits first time moms.
Being a mom is hard and it can even be terrifying, but it’s also so worth it.
I’m here to help you ensure that your efforts don’t go unnoticed, and to help you organize the sudden mess a new mom has to deal with.
The image of a mom tends to vary a lot depending on what your household is like, but it all boils down to the same things: you work, you take care of the kids, and you make sure everything is always in its place, as if by magic.
Sure, there are families where this is not the case, but most of the time it is what it is.
Then there are those underlying factors of peer pressure that you get when you browse your social media feeds.
You’re inundated with adverts and stories of celebrity moms and how they cope with the stress of raising children while managing healthy diets, perfect bodies, and luxurious vacations – and then they post tweets with hashtags like #momlife so the whole world can see.
Then you look at yourself in the mirror and the reality is very different.
Let’s face it, most moms don’t have the money (or multiple assistants) to enable them to achieve the same kind of perfection.
Sure, it’s not really as nightmarish as most people will have you believe, but it can be really draining, especially when you realize that the plan you made for your life when you were a teenager has just become a whole lot harder with all the new responsibilities that come with being a first-time mom.
It all sounded so blissful when your favorite celebrity had twins and you saw them strolling down a sidewalk.
What you didn’t see was all of the hard work that was needed for them to even leave the house.
It hits you the hardest when your first baby comes into the world – after the initial bliss of birth has passed and the postpartum anxiety has set in.
Now, the free time you once had is taken up with breastfeeding, trying to resolve tantrums, the walls of your house absorbing the foul smell of poop from the many accidents that have happened, and lack of sleep.
Having to deal with this day-in and day-out takes a massive toll on your mental health and sometimes you just want to have a good cry or scream.
You can even lose motivation to do the things you love because, honestly, you feel like a slave.
And this is just some of the stuff you have to do for newborns – I haven’t even started delving into the rest.
Let’s go back to the beginning of this article and imagine a full day for a mom who works full-time and has a child that is at least 2 years old:
- 8 hours of work – 16 to go
- Groceries for the day (roughly 10 minutes) – 15h 50m
- The drive to and from work and picking your little one up from daycare (usually two hours total) – 13h 50m
- Making lunch (30 minutes on average) – 13h 20m
- Cleaning up any mess around the house (another 20 minutes) – 13 hours to go
- Doing the laundry and ironing for the day (another hour) – half a day down
- Dealing with tantrums and helping your child learn basic skills as well as giving them attention (2-3 hours) – 9 hours to go
- Time left to yourself if you intend to have a healthy amount of sleep – maybe two hours
And this is if nothing bad happens – if it does, you’ll have even less time to unwind.
It’s easy to see how you could suffer a mental breakdown trying to keep up this sort of schedule.
It’s a bit easier being a stay-at-home mom, but taking care of your child will still occupy most of the time that your job did, plus most households these days require two incomes to function normally.
I know all this because I’ve been there.
And I know everyone makes mistakes the first time around, probably even the second and third.
Heck, some moms spend their entire life making the same mistakes.
I was there. I was on the verge of tearing my hair out at certain points, I frequently screamed into my pillow to muffle the sounds, I regularly broke into tears when I couldn’t hold them in anymore.
I even had to put my career as an educator on hold because I was in no state to teach other children when I was so preoccupied and overwhelmed by my own that I didn’t even know if I had brought my head to work or not.
I did it so I could find some time for myself, so I wouldn’t burn out or have a damn stroke because I just wasn’t going to make anything in time.
I was such a mess. In some aspects I probably still am – you would have to ask my kids or my husband about that though.
So, how did I get back on track?
By realizing that I did not have to do everything alone.
By recognizing that I was shouldering everything myself and telling everyone that I could do it, that it was okay when it evidently wasn’t.
What being a mom is all about?
Being a mom is not just about raising your kids and doing stuff around the house to make sure everyone is prepared for the day.
It is also about learning how to juggle all of these new obligations without squeezing yourself dry.
Being a mom is realizing that you do not have to do this alone.
What I am trying to say is that you have friends and family, many of you have partners as well.
Remember that they are there for you, but it’s up to you to open up and accept that sometimes you just cannot handle everything alone.
Being a parent is not a one-person job – you have to share the responsibility, the work, and the praise together.
So, reach out to your best friend, your mom, your siblings, or your in-laws to either come keep you company or help out from time to time so you can get some time for yourself, so you can let your thoughts settle, and so you can refresh your mind and body.
They will all be ready to lend a hand from time to time (just make sure you don’t abuse this privilege), especially your mom, since she knows what a handful you were (besides, she is your mom, no matter how old you get).
When your kids get older, as they learn how to take care of themselves, and the amount of work it takes to care for them starts to dwindle (no more poopy diapers, no more need for you to dress them, etc.), you can ask them to help out as well, so as to ease your load.
You will be surprised to know how ready they are to help you to free up those precious minutes of you-time – as long as they are made aware of the situation.
The hard part is asking, I know, but it does not hurt.
All those people that think you are a bad mom because you can’t handle it all by yourself, do not really exist, and even if they do, so what?
They can think whatever they want, but try to not let it get to you.
There is no shame in asking for help.
Nobody knows everything and nobody is the best mom because nobody is ‘as advertised’.
Why it’s worth it
While everything I said stands, it’s the little things that keep you going despite adversity: coming back home is still the most satisfying feeling after work: seeing your children smile or do something simple like take out the trash, seeing them progress and grow, seeing your significant other and greeting them as they greet you back.
To me, that is worth all of those smelly diapers, the tantrums, the illnesses, the crayons on the walls, all of the headaches.
Yes, the process made me go from loving kids to hating them, but once I managed to get my act together, I wound up right back at the start with a reinvigorated love for my children.
I could go back to being a teacher and loving life with my two little troublemakers and my dear husband.
I guess I might be a simple woman, but if you don’t find joy in things like these, then I don’t think you will fare well on the tough road of motherhood.
It definitely is not a glamorous job and it requires you to put a lot of yourself in, but boy does it ever pay off.
From one mom to another
I know I am but one of countless blogger moms out there on the internet and on social media.
But I do hope that my writing about my experiences and the insights I have collected over my years of parenting are helping make your own motherhood journey a bit easier and your household happier.
I urge you to not follow it to the letter because every mom deals with a different combination of messes and problems.
Instead, use my articles as guidelines to help you recognize the problem and formulate your own solution. Good luck, mama!
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