If you know, you know. Being a mom is hard.
Motherhood is a journey like no other. It is a confusing mix of the highest highs and lowest lows. Some days I pat myself on the back because I’m killin’ it. On other days I drop too many f-bombs and am angry at myself for having thin patience or for not being present enough for my family.
Sometimes I still can’t believe my own words when I tell someone I am a mother of four.
I gave birth to four children. Four children of different ages, different needs, and different personalities. Four incredible children that I thank God for every day. But just because I am grateful doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle.
My story as a mother has changed every time our family grew. I have learned so much over the years, but nothing about being a mom has gotten easier.
Luckily I give myself more grace than I did in the past. With everything that is happening in our world right now, I know there are moms stuck at home everywhere being their own worst critics while trying to master the role of mom, teacher, worker, and wife.
I want to write some words of encouragement to let you know that you aren’t alone and you’ll get through this. We all will.
Why Being a Mom is Hard
Being a mom requires so much time, energy, sacrifice, commitment, and patience that yields little outside reward. The everyday routine, responsibility, and emotional weight can sometimes suck the life out of you. There are moments of pure joy and bliss where everything feels right. There are other moments when you feel isolated, overwhelmed, and alone.
The Hardships of Motherhood
1. Postpartum Anxiety and Depression
I battled postpartum anxiety and depression after my second daughter was born. I felt numb, cold, and unavailable to care for my children. It was the worst feeling in the world. So many moms suffer from postpartum depression every day, which is why it will always be at the top of the list of reasons why being a mom is hard. If you are experiencing the baby blues, I urge you to seek support from your family and doctor.
You can read about my story here.
Even with all the support in the world from a father, the responsibility of breastfeeding falls on the mother. It’s something that we’re told is supposed to be the most natural thing in the world.
Truth? It’s difficult, uncomfortable in the beginning, and inconsistent from baby to baby. It’s one of the hardest parts of the newborn phase, and it’s one of the greatest pressures first-time moms put on themselves. While I have been able to breastfeed my children, I know that many women cannot. And that’s ok.
3. Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is especially relevant for moms during the newborn phase (re: breastfeeding). Our bodies need sleep to function properly. Lack of sleep as a mom can make everyday life feel very hard.
4. All the Judge Judys
As moms, we’ve all experienced the judgment, whether it’s from a fellow mom, an in-law, a doctor, or our parents.
Why are moms always the target of judgment? If a child misbehaves, it must be because the mom isn’t enforcing rules. If a child isn’t sleeping through the night, it’s probably because the mom hasn’t put a schedule in place. And if a toddler is watching TV, the mom is being lazy.
Give me a break.
Judgment from others should not be added to the list of why being a mom is hard.
5. Mom Guilt
Honestly, mom guilt is a universal reason why being a mom is hard. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, working mom, or work-from-home mom, it rarely feels quite right. Why do moms get that overwhelming feeling of guilt when they invest in something for themselves?
Whether it’s a career or a time-consuming hobby, there’s always that little voice in the back of your head reminding you that it’s taking time away from your family. I think women are wired that way. I used to think I was a mom first and everything else was second.
My family is still my number one priority, but I’m a strong believer that you can have a career and be a wonderful mother at the same time.
Things I Wish I Knew Before Being a Mom
1. It might not come naturally to you
We see it in movies, commercials, and on social media…the loving mom swaddling her beautiful baby effortlessly with a blissful smile on her face. Growing up, I always knew I wanted kids and was excited about the anticipation of starting a family. I felt like it was something I was born to do.
When I had my first daughter, mom life did not come naturally to me. I felt inadequate, and that was a terrible feeling. But guess what? It gets better and it becomes second nature over time. It’s also completely normal to feel like you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.
2. Embrace the chaos
Seriously. Just take it as it comes. Being a mom is hard, and we simply can’t control everything that comes our way as parents. One day we’ll miss the noise and disorder.
3. Everything else can wait
We all have those days when you just can’t seem to get it together. Kids are crying, you have work to do, and the dog just peed on your new rug. Give yourself permission to push pause and just be. Snuggle up with your kids and watch movies all day. Eat ice cream. All of your responsibilities will still be there tomorrow.
When I was struggling with two kids under three, I couldn’t understand how other moms could fully enjoy motherhood. Every day and night was a struggle for me, and everyone else seemed to always have it together. Today I am a different person, but I never forget the mom I used to be.
Don’t allow yourself to be compared to another mom, whether in real life or on social media. Please remember that we are all at different points in our journey. Just know that for every pretty picture on my Instagram feed, there was probably some bribery and maybe even tears going on behind the scenes.
5. Balance is bull.
How many times has someone told you, “Oh, you just need to find the right balance.” Bull****. Half the time I feel like I am spending too much time on work and not enough with my family, and the other half of the time I feel the opposite. There is no magical formula to have true balance. Each season of your life and your child’s life is a different season and you just adjust as you go.
6. You can lose your patience and still be a good mom
Have I mentioned that being a mom is hard? When things are hard, we sometimes lose our patience and our temper. We are human, and it’s ok. The good news is losing your patience does not make you a bad mom. It just means that you probably need a break, some sleep, or another cup of coffee.
7. It’s the most challenging thing you’ll ever do, and it’s so worth it.
Even after all the sleepless nights, the cheerio-filled car, and the messy house, there is no other way that I would like to spend my day-to-day life. Being a mom is hard, but it’s also the greatest gift that I could ever have.
How I Cope With Mom Stress
1. Take a break
We all need a break now and then. As I write this, we are amid the Coronavirus pandemic, which means that families around the world are stuck inside their homes. You need time to yourself to practice mental health self-care. Take a bit of time every day to do something that relaxes you and quiets your mind. Take a bath, exercise, meditate, or read a book.
2. Take time to laugh
Laughter is so important, and a great way to release stress from our bodies. When the chaos of momming gets to be too much, embrace the madness and just laugh it off.
3. Date night
Being a mom is hard on your relationship with your partner. Take an occasional date night when you can. It will make a great difference for both you and your partner. Sometimes it just feels good to get out and feel like a couple again. Even if it’s just to get a coffee or a quick trip to the grocery store, every little bit of time together helps.
4. Do what you love
I realized early on that I was not cut out for being a stay-at-home mom. I needed a creative outlet. For me, my escape is reading, writing, and photography. Whatever it is for you, make the time to do it. See my post Why You Should Make Yourself a Priority for my opinion on this.
When Does Motherhood Get Easier?
I know… being a mom can feel overwhelming. When it does, we often think, “Will this ever get any easier?”
The answer depends on a few factors, like the size of your family, whether or not you’re working full-time outside the home, and how much support you have. But there’s one thing that’s true for all new moms: what seems like an endless struggle, in the beginning, will eventually get better.
As soon as your baby arrives, you may find yourself waking up several times a night to nurse him. But this is just temporary; by two months old, most babies start sleeping through the night (that means they go six or more hours without waking up). If this isn’t happening yet, don’t worry—you’ll get there eventually!
One day you’ll start feeling more confident about your new role as a parent and being able to take care of your baby. And… you’ll start sleeping—a lot better than before!
How Can You Support Other Moms?
So many moms feel alone and removed from the outside world. Let’s all do our part to support fellow moms in person and virtually on social media. Becoming a mother has made me more empathetic, selfless, and loving. I try to never judge another mom, even if her opinions or parenting style is different than mine. Every mother has her own story and battles they are fighting. Doing a small act of kindness or just showing human compassion can bring a smile to another mom’s face.
Send a nice text message checking in on a mom friend you haven’t seen in a while.
Offer to babysit a friend’s kids for a few hours so she has some time to herself.
Make dinner for a new mom and drop it off on her doorstep.
Comment on a mom’s social media post letting her know what an incredible job she’s doing.
Set up a carpool schedule with other moms. It’s a win-win for all involved.
What is the hardest part about being a mom for you? Comment below and let me know! Hang in there mamas, you are raising our future and you’re rockin’ it.