Let’s dive into 3 big challenges of MOM LIFE and how we can best support ourselves through the challenges.
Notice that I didn’t say “fix the challenges” or “remove the challenges”. Being a mom is like surfing- 24/7. Sometimes you catch a great wave and you ride it for a really long time feeling strong, happy, and excited- wind in your hair! Other times, you wipe out, then the next wave hits you before you can get up again- choking on salt water, eyes burning and sand stuck in your bathing suit. And then everything in between. Life is kinda like that, right? And this happens to everyone! Everyone. So we’ll talk through the challenges, the big waves that are hard to navigate. Then we’ll learn about surfing- not literally- but hypothetically- riding the waves of life and mommyhood.
Mom Life challenge #1: Contradictions:
Dealing with the contradictions of motherhood… It’s sometimes hard to know what you want when everyone is telling you something different. From family to friends, to the media and society- everyone has an opinion. It’s a very noisy place.
The contradictions and contradictory advice of mommyhood start in pregnancy, sometimes even sooner! Natural birth, C-section, baby’s own time, schedule it. Due date! Don’t eat sushi! I ate sushi… Don’t eat soft serve ice cream, I did and I’m fine. Due month vs. due date. Exercise, hypnobirthing, Bradly method, Lamaze, epidural, and the list goes on.
As a mom, you’re hearing about breastfeeding, bottle feeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping, sleep training, when to wean, when to introduce solids, vaccines-CDCc schedule, alternative schedule, no vaccines, working moms, stay at home moms… and on and on I could go…
Is your head spinning yet? I know mine is. So how do we listen, learn, get inspired, gain knowledge, yet not get confused, overwhelmed or want to put our head in the sand? (under our pillows and reemerge when our kids are 18).
It’s a lot. So how do we know what’s right? How do we know what’s best? Sometimes we don’t. I always say, listen to different ideas, take in the best and leave the rest. So how do you differentiate between “the best” and “the rest”?
Many times it’s trial and error. One friend told me “you have to get baby mittens so your baby doesn’t scratch her face with her sharp fingernails, they are a must have item!” So I got them. AND I used them once and threw them away. For me, they were on the list of obsoleted must not get items. “You’ll even see it occur between your first child and any siblings that come along after” My first daughter loved things my second daughter wanted nothing to do with. So as a mama it’s all about trial and error and finding out what works for you!
Other times it’s all about intuition. Tuning into your Mama-bear wisdom. Gut feelings. When do you move your baby from a crib to a bed? Do you do cry it out? Etc. How do you know. So you have to tune into your intuition often as a mama. How do you do this? Getting quiet. Taking deep breaths and making decisions from a place of love over fear. The more you tune in, the stronger your intuition muscle will get.
Momlife challenge #2: Guilt
Mom-Guilt is REAL Sometimes mom-guilt comes from fear of what others think. Trying to please others over our own inner wisdom of what is best for us or our children. Sometimes it comes from the high expectations that we put on ourselves. Feelings like we’re not doing enough. Mom guilt can be internal and external.
Three weeks ago I was at t he grocery store sitting in the café section where they have a few big TVS on the walls. Saturday morning after Gabriela, my 4 year old’s ballet class we go there for a snack and I get a latte. As she was eating her cooking, she was watching the TV that was playing cartoons. Now, this was a total of 15 to 20 minutes out of my 24 hour #momlife day. A man was staring at us. Then began telling my daughter over and over not to watch tv. It’s not good for her… on and on. Thinking he was being silly, I made a joke to lighten the mood and try to assess why he was talking to us. He then looks at me and makes rude and aggressive comments about the fact that I was letting my daughter watch tv. and referencing the fact that I must let her watch tv all day long. Can I tell you- it took me almost a week to get over this encounter. The mom guilt I felt was intense. Even thought I knew he was wrong- I felt horrible that someone thought I was a “bad mom”. The next few days when I was doing engaging things with my girls out and about, the thought would fly through my head: “Where’s that guy now!? See, I’m not a bad mom, I don’t just let my kids watch tv all day”.
I have a secret. One that I forget often and have to remind myself- but here is the secret. Are you ready? You are going to be judged no matter what you do or don’t do! I don’t say that to upset you, but as a realization that no one can ever please everyone. And that is totally ok!!! We might be mom-shamed at one point. We might feel mom-guilt at times. We might feel like a bad mom sometimes. These are like those big monster waves. These moments are hard to maneuver through. Click here to see a short clip from my talk at the conference. You’ll hear a little story that will help ease your need to be a pleaser and tune into and honor what is best for you and your family.
MomLife Challenge #3: Overwhelm
How do you maintain perfect Balance? It’s a trick question. It doesn’t exist. All of life is an ebb and flow. The trick is actually in learning to ride the waves with more grace and ease. Balance… pure consistent balance doesn’t exist. It’s a fallacy. We’re in a constant state of adjusting, moment to moment. What’s the one thing in life that you can always count on? Change. Change is constant.
I have a children’s that I love called, The Way I Feel. At the end of the book it reads something like this, Feelings come and feelings go, you never know what they’ll be. Happy or sad. Angry or glad, they’re all a part of me. Even though our feelings and our children’s feelings are always in flux, the trick is to manage the waves more easily.
Imagine a seesaw. . Determine if you’re feeling agitated, anxious, stressed… what can you do to calm, get grounded, get rooted? Take a bath. Deep breathing. Give yourself a timeout. Magnesium tea (calm) Try this: 3 Part Breath
If you’re feeling depressed, tired, or lethargic- what are some things that can lift you up, bring you energy? Latte, a walk outside, private dance party in your house- party of one + kids. Try this: Raise your arms above your head.
I believe in the Law of Attraction: Focus on what you want vs. what you don’t want. What you focus on you get more of. Works with kids. Tell your child “don’t touch that!” or “Don’t run”. What do they do? Exactly what you told them not to do. According to the law of attraction, the universe is like kids, they don’t hear the word “don’t”. So we focus on the positive. The other aspect to support with feelings of overwhelm is changing your thinking.
Your mind believes everything that you tell it. So if you’re telling yourself that you’re overwhelmed or tired- that’s what you’re going to get or feel more of. Calm negative thinking. Not only for you but for your kids. They’re like little sponges and they pick up on our energy- even little babies. If your kids are acting up, you have to calm yourself first. Check out Conscious Discipline for some incredible calm breathing exercises.
Taking care of you is essential to riding the waves of motherhood and life. The best tool to take essential care of you is called SELF CARE. In the final post of this series, we’ll dive into self-care. Join us next week…