Listen friends. Motherhood is hard.
I didn’t want to admit this. It felt … weak … to say it out loud.
Before I was a mom I railed on women who whined about how hard motherhood was. Then I realized they weren’t whining. They were being stone-cold honest. They were saying it out loud because that’s empowering.
I’m on a journey of self-care and kindness. I’m trying to learn to love myself well. And a part of this journey has been learning to cut myself some slack.
Take a break. Catch my breath. Treat myself.
It’s really hard for me to do this. I feel guilty. I question it. I tell myself to just push through. But pushing through isn’t always good. It leads to burn out. It leads to resentment and an unsettled life.
So if you are like me and you just find it hard to give yourself a break, here’s your homework.
Stop the comparisons.
In Jill Savages’s book No More Perfect Moms, she writes that her friend imparted some timeless knowledge to her when she was busy comparing herself to the other moms who seemed to have it all together. These are words we should take to heart: “Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” It’s so much easier to make the outside look good.
Learning to stop comparing is not an easy thing to do, especially if you’ve made it a habit. What I’ve learned is that the first step is recognizing it. A lot of times I would be comparing myself to others and not even realize I was doing it. Once I was on the alert for this behavior it was so much easier to catch it before it snowballed.
Break the rules.
Personally, I find it really empowering to say, “Forget the laundry and the dirty dishes. Today we are going to a coffee shop to share a dessert. Today we will cuddle up and watch a movie because we can.” Sometimes the rules we make for ourselves are just bondage and breaking them is incredibly liberating.
Be honest about how hard this is.
Sometimes I just need to vent to my friends about my frustrations with motherhood. Being vulnerable with someone I trust is incredibly empowering. When we hide our struggles we become ashamed of them and that isn’t good for anyone.
Do something for yourself because you want to.
Just do it. Don’t question it. Don’t talk yourself out of it. JUST. DO. IT. Go for the pedicure. Book the sitter. Eat cookies. As moms we have a lot of obligations. Our lives are crowded with things we don’t want to do: laundry, dinner, errands. It’s overwhelming. Do something YOU want to do for a change.
I throw parties for no reason. I send out an evite and go out to dinner with friends. We don’t need an excuse to get together and have fun. My friends always say they appreciate this. We don’t need a reason to celebrate. You be the one who makes plans!
Turn off your phone.
Unplugging might feel like a no-brainer, but for people like me–it’s just not. I have to physically put my phone away sometimes to recenter myself and be more present.
Build a routine that has margin.
If you feel like you are constantly running around like crazy, you need to reevaluate your routine. Being busy is a good distraction but it will wear you down and rob you of the sweet things in life. Build a routine with more flexibility in it. This isn’t an easy thing to do. Sometimes it means saying no. Sometimes it means changing your plans or adjusting your priorities. But it’s so worth it.