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“Have kids,” they said, “It’ll be magical,” they said. On many levels, motherhood is magical. It’s everything I ever imagined it would be and so much more. But motherhood is also incredibly hard. It’s supposed to be a gift, but it doesn’t always feel like one.
A huge factor in this is the myths we have believed about what a “good mom” looks like. These myths have been ingrained in culture over decades, even centuries. But I’m here to say it’s time we shed some light on the truth about these motherhood myths.
I hope these myth busters help you identify the lies you may be believing. It’s time to discover the truth about good moms and put these myths to rest once and for all.
The days of motherhood are often ordinary and mundane. Diapers, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and tidying. Can I be honest? Some days there’s little to like. That doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids.
As soon as our bundle of joy enters our world, everything changes. Our hearts are stretched. Our marriage has shifted. Our bodies are foreign. Our homes are louder. Our hair is dirtier.
There is no shame in admitting this gig is hard. It’s perfectly natural to love your child and dislike elements of parenthood. The endless and overwhelming demands can lead to sadness, anxiety, and fear. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.
Always remember, you’re probably doing a better job than you think.
From the moment our babies are born, moms start living life on the back burner.
In those first few hours and weeks, babies have multiple and thorough check-ups. Meanwhile we have just been through the most physically challenging year and event of our lives, and we get a quick glance over 6-8 weeks later and a pat on the back to do it all over again.
It’s in the fourth trimester where the world shows us our new role. At a time when we are most vulnerable, we are told good moms devote every ounce of time and energy towards their baby. Even if that means neglecting our own healing and needs.
Friends and family are excited and consumed with the new baby. Rarely does anyone dote on us. We become background noise. We become last. Unfortunately, we start to believe it’s normal.
Moms cannot come last. Our families need us to be healthy, and we need to understand we’re worthy of good health. We are not ignoring our family when investing in ourselves. Instead, we’re equipping ourselves to be whole and healthy moms.
Taking a shower and running errands by ourselves is not self-care. Neither is staying up late when we should go to bed early. Or eating a pint of ice cream when we should be moving our body.
Let’s fill our buckets with healthy and energizing activities that are good for the mind, body, and soul. If you need to dive deeper into the pressures of being and doing more, check out my book Breaking Busy.
Remember, no one understands the pressures of meeting the needs of others better than Jesus. He knows what it was like to be constantly touched, interrupted, and needed. He knows what it’s like to desire breaks.
Mark 1:35 and 3:7 show Jesus withdrawing from people to a solitary place to pray. He knew the power in spending time with his Father in order to do the work he was called to do. To help you pursue his presence, keep this book handy. Bible Promises for Moms by Heidi St. John is so encouraging.
You are called to be a mom and ignoring your needs is self-neglect and will only lead to resentment. Make sure your priority list includes refilling your own bucket and caring for your soul well. The best thing you can do for your family is take care of you!
We are not martyrs to motherhood. Many women were independent before having children and feel the need to maintain that independence once they enter child-rearing. Guilt or judgment make us politely decline any offers of help because we think we should be able to handle it on our own.
Are you chasing a version of motherhood that is unattainable?
Next time someone offers help, accept it. Welcome it and believe you are not falling short. It’s important that you pace yourself and prevent burnout. Motherhood is a lifelong marathon.
There are many complex stigmas for both stay-at home-moms and working moms. Century-old stereotypes say that a good mom focuses solely on her family and finds it to be more fulfilling than income-producing work.
These days, however, stay-at-home moms are viewed as giving in to traditional and outdated gender norms. At the same time, working moms are viewed as less attached, neglectful, and selfish.
So which is it? Be at home? Work?
The most important thing is establishing and developing healthy parent/child connections with our children. This is about quality, not quantity. A working mom can do this just as well in the mornings and evenings as a stay-at-home mom can throughout the day.
Our worth is not defined by our job title, paycheck, our child’s academics or athletic accomplishments. A pause in our careers to raise babies does not diminish our value. Whether you decide to return to work or stay home long term, your decision is exactly what you and your family needs.
Many expecting women are hopeful that a baby will improve their marriage. Together their bond will deepen over the joy a baby brings to their union.
Kids provide endless opportunities for arguments, bitterness, jabs, and passive aggressiveness. Not to mention we’re completely depleted at the end of the day. After holding a baby or having a toddler hang on our leg for hours on end, our spouse better not even think about touching us!
That’s not to say you can’t have a strong, healthy, and thriving marriage. Everyone has issues behind closed doors; you’re not alone. Trust in your marriage, believe in your spouse, and seek help if it’s beyond you. For more helpful tips, listen to my chat with Gary Thomas on how to strengthen your marriage.
Our child’s behavior does not validate our ability to be a good mom. All of our children are susceptible to being THAT kid that is known to bite, hit, and kick.
Our children are born with their own personalities, gifts, and quirks. While we are a powerful influence, we cannot control how they turn out. Freewill is a beautiful and scary thing, and our kids will make bad choices. There’s no getting around it.
It’s important to see our children as separate from us. We can’t take their choices personally. They will make decisions and test boundaries in ways that will question if they are even our children!
Almost every mom I talk to says they are shocked the hospital let them leave with a baby. Can we be honest? We’re all just winging it!
Yet culture says being a mom will come naturally. Instincts will kick in, they say. Good moms know what to do when a baby won’t latch or has colic. They know how to sleep train and discipline. Good moms know how to navigate a teenager’s attitude.
The truth is, nothing can prepare us for our first, second, third, and so on. While we have more resources than ever before, conflicting information and opinions only further the confusion and frustration. Our intuition can be suppressed by all the voices around us making us feel like we don’t have intuition at all.
Can we all just agree that being a good parent is sometimes just a process of elimination? She just ate, so she can’t be hungry. She’s not due for a nap, so maybe it’s gas? Are his teeth coming in, or did that broccoli disagree with him? Does he have a fever? Want a hug? Need a time-out?
Every season and child are different. What worked for one kid might not work for the other. Every day is an attempt to learn who our children are and what they need at that moment.
When you feel ill-equipped, remember that motherhood is mostly learned, not instinctive. Take a listen to my conversation with Andy and Sandra Stanley who do a great job modeling how to prioritize one simple and overarching goal for raising kids.
Remember the days when we could leave our house with just our keys and a small purse and not have to worry about returning by the next feeding time? Oh, the freedom!
It’s totally normal to miss our life before kids. In fact, it’s common to feel a sense of loss at the lifestyle we left behind to start a family. Getting coffee with a friend, taking a weekend trip, or simply winding down cannot happen without many logistics and managing our child’s needs first.
It’s also OK to mourn the person we used to be. The girl before kids enjoyed happy hours, weekday concerts, kept up with friends on a regular and consistent basis, and had extra money for the trendiest clothes. These days we’re the chef, maid, chauffeur, butt wiper, and boo boo kisser. Our world has changed. Our lives are different. It’s okay to miss what was and still embrace what is.
When each child is born, a new woman is born too. She’s the same, but new. Underneath the stretch marks, spit-up stained shirt, and empty social calendar, you’re still you. But a whole lot wiser, stronger, and capable.
Well that just disqualified 100% of mothers. At least 99.9 of them.
There are plenty of opportunities in motherhood to get angry with our children. And I mean plenty. Every. Day.
Mistakes are unavoidable. We are broken people raising broken children so expect to ask for forgiveness every now and again. As long as yelling doesn’t happen often and there are more positive interactions in the day, you will not damage your child.
Good moms care enough to get emotional. If we didn’t, that would be a red flag. Sometimes our elevated emotions elevate our voices. (That sounds reasonable, right?)
It’s what we do after yelling that is powerful. Modeling how to apologize and ask for forgiveness instills healthy reconciliation habits in our children’s future relationships.
For centuries, society deemed motherhood to be the culmination of a woman’s existence. It was assumed that every woman’s goal is to become a mother. It’s expected that we should be fully satisfied with being a mom.
Goals and motherhood are not mutually exclusive. Dreams don’t have to die on the altar of motherhood. It’s not a mark of superiority to live a passionless life that doesn’t have interests outside of kids. It’s not self-indulgent to pursue something we love.
Even though our biggest title is ‘mom,’ we are so much more.
Just as we look at our kids and see their potential and possibility, we must see the same in ourselves. We have an opportunity to show our kids how to achieve goals and show them they can pursue great things too.
Good moms celebrate their kids’ passions while honoring their own. A coach can come alongside you to help make your dreams a reality while in the throws of motherhood. Check out this page to learn more information about coaching.
Each one of these creates an unnecessary burden that we’re not meant to bear. Many of us struggle with more than one.
Being a good mom is entirely dependent on busting myths and creating your own standards and expectations on what it means to be a good mom. You are unique and your combination of gifts, talents, and passions makes you the perfect mom for your kids. To find out more about your uniqueness, take this SuperPower quiz.
Being a good mom doesn’t depend on a checklist of rights and wrongs, do’s and don’ts. Being a good mom is all about being physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy ourselves, and then pouring that out over our children. Just as God pours out his goodness over us, his children, let us pour that same blessing over our children.