Motherhood: The Hardest Thing Ever.
Motherhood is hard, but it's also beautiful, and we need to talk about all the parts of it that are hard and beautiful at the same time. Social media is a terrible fool for motherhood. It isn't all glamourous, it's the hardest and yet most beautiful job you will ever get to do.
No One Warns You About How Toxic the Mom Community Can Be.
I say this to warn other new mothers or mothers-to-be - no one prepares you for the actual lack of village. The quote we're always told is "It Takes a Village," surely it does, but where is the village? I don't know if it's the hormones from postpartum or that some mothers put themselves on a pedestal and think they're better than everyone else (news flash - we're all at home with messy buns, food stains, spit-up stains, and probably on the third day of wearing the same clothes) -- but seriously, the mom communities in things like Facebook groups, or Reddit forums, or even TikTok can be grossly toxic.
From Crunchy moms to silky moms (I'm chuckling even typing this out), who literally cares what type of mom you are... Is your baby dressed? Bathed? Happy? Healthy? Cool, good. That's all that matters. I don't agree with a lot of things that are posted in moms' groups but guess what I do when I don't agree, I scroll and move on. You won't always agree with everyone's decisions as parents and that's totally okay, you're allowed to have differing opinions but parenthood is hard enough. Why would you want to make it tougher on someone mentally by judging the way they do things?
It’s Okay To Ask For Help
You don't have to do everything yourself. It's okay to ask for help. Asking for help does not mean you stop being a mother, or that your children will be raised by someone else and not by you. You are still their mother and no one can take that away from you, ever. But if something comes up that requires more than just your own two hands (or four), then maybe it's time for someone else to lend theirs as well.
It Takes a Village, so Find Your Village.
A village is a group of people who are there to support you and your family, both emotionally and physically. It's also important to have people who will hold you accountable for the things that matter most in life--like health, wellness, and happiness.
The best part about having a village? You get to choose who makes up your own personal support system. This can include friends from work (who may also be parents), neighbors with kids, neighbors without children but whose schedules allow them to check in on your family every now and then; family members who live close by or far away but still want to help out however they can (and maybe even take care of some household chores).
You can lean on people who love you and support you even if they're not moms themselves.
It's okay to ask for help. It's also okay to say no to things you don't want to do, or can't do right now. You don't have to do it all alone. You can lean on other people who love and support you--and even if they're not moms themselves, they will still care about your well-being and happiness as much as anyone else would in their position (or more).
There Is No Manual for Motherhood
As a mother, there is no right or wrong way to be. You will make mistakes and you will learn from them. You will find your own way as a mother. Don't compare yourself to others. Period. Don't compare your children to other children either--their personalities are unique and different from everyone else's in the world. Every child truly does things at their own pace.
You Will Never, Ever Be Good Enough.
You'll never be good enough for other people and they won't understand why you do what you do, but it doesn't matter because they aren't raising your kids so who cares what they think? You're still not going to change anything about yourself or the way you raise your children because nothing is ever perfect and it's okay if things are messy sometimes (or all the time - and let's be real here, motherhood is literally quite messy, lol).
You Deserve To Feel Happiness and Joy in Motherhood, Too.
You can find happiness and joy in motherhood, even if you're not perfect (and no one is). I know what it's like when your child cries from hunger or pain, or because they're tired of being cooped up inside all day long; I understand how frustrating it can be when someone tells their own story about raising kids while completely ignoring yours (or worse yet: judging).
But here's what else I know: You deserve this time with your kids--it's precious. The days are LONG but the years really are SHORT. So get outside with them once in a while so they don't forget what fresh air smells like versus being inside all day long; take them out on walks at night just so they can see things differently than during daylight hours; set aside some time every week where everyone gets dressed nicely together (even if only for dinner). Have fun together doing silly dances around kitchen counters while cooking dinner together after getting home from work each day. Most important of all, take care of yourself! Go book yourself a spa day because you deserve it for mom-ing so dang hard!
The thing about motherhood is, there's no manual. Motherhood is hard because of all these things: the mystery, the unexpectedness, comparison, social media pressures, and the fact that someone else (or many other people) depends on us for their very existence.
We need to talk about those parts more often--and not just because it will help us feel less alone in our struggles as mothers, but also because we owe it to our children to teach them how to navigate life with all its ups and downs, even if that means asking for help when they need it.
So there you have it, a list of things that no one told me about motherhood, and while I might not have been ready for them all at once, I'm glad they came along when they did. I hope this article helps some other moms out there realize that they're not alone in their struggles. Just try to remember that every single parental experience is completely individualized and unique.