Becoming a mom is the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
When I became a mom, I had a picture in mind of what my family would look like. My house always would be clean. I would make a delicious supper every night, (complete with vegetables). My kids would pick up after themselves. I would read books to my kids every night before bed, and everyone would be happy.
Well, 19 years later, I’m happy to say that I managed to read to my kids most nights before bedtime. I had to let go of the picture-perfect idea in my head and realize that being a mom isn’t all about my organized, well-fed family. It’s about love, connection, letting go and doing the best I can every day.
You might feel this way, too.
Motherhood is fraught with insecurities, and many times, we feel as though we are failing if we aren’t living up to someone else’s definition of perfect.
So, how can we find the joy and happiness that we thought we would have as a mom?
Let others know how you feel and seek connection.
When I was struggling with one of my daughters and feeling like I had let her down, I posted on my Facebook page about it, and not one mom agreed that I had let her down. Instead, they lifted me up, encouraged me to stay the course and reminded me that things would get better.
Be real. Let’s show each other what lived-in houses really look like. Although the Pinterest pages and Instagram posts look perfect, you most likely can’t see the laundry baskets that had to be moved before the picture was taken or the mess in the rest of the house.
Don’t be afraid to show what your house looks like after you get the kids out the door in the morning or at night, when you finally get the kids in bed and are too exhausted to pick up one more toy or random sock. That’s real life.
Let go of what you thought being a mom would be and embrace what is in front of you right now. Leave the dishes in the sink, and instead, read a stack of books to your preschooler. Put your feet up and let your baby snuggle on your chest after feeding. Order dinner to be delivered occasionally so that you have one less thing to worry about.
Find joy in the small things. If you’ve ever taken a walk with a toddler, you know that they find joy in every rock, weed and bird they see. Let’s try to be more like them and find wonder in the world around us so we can share our joy with others.
Love yourself and your family. Remind yourself that you are doing the best job you can and that you are exactly the mom your kids need you to be.
Becky Franzen is an international board-certified lactation consultant in private practice at Statera Integrated Health and Wellness in Dubuque.