Your Kids Need a Mom Not a Martyr
There is no guidebook to what it takes to be a good mom; for the most part, if you look around, it may seem like putting everyone else’s needs before your own is part of the job. However, lately more moms are struggling with burnout, disillusionment, and stress, feeling overwhelmed while questioning what it means to be a good mom.
Society glorifies moms who are doing it all. While moms may accept the burden of doing it all, they’re struggling with immense pressure and sacrificing their own wellbeing. Trying to do it all for your kids isn’t good for you, and it’s not good for your kids. Feeling exhausted and resentful makes you less effective in communicating and disciplining your child. If you’re too tired to set boundaries and stop a child from acting out in public, you’re showing your child that they’re in control. You want your children to know you love them while expecting them to behave and encouraging them to embrace their independence.
We can’t change society’s pressure on moms overnight, but we can make changes within ourselves to reduce the load. These suggestions will make your expectations more realistic.
1. Learn to say “No” to requests that sacrifice your free time. Women are socialized to accommodate others, and we often put other’s needs before our own. Prioritizing your time is not selfish – it’s taking responsibility and caring for your mental health.
2. Ask for help and accept it. No one can expect one person to do it all. If you are doing the majority of everything, speak up. Make a list with your partner and share the load. Enabling your partner to avoid chores and childcare hurts you and stunts your partner’s ability to grow up.
3. Mentor healthy self-care for your children. Our children watch us, and they will do what we do. When your children see you set limits and protect boundaries so you’re able to exercise, take classes, or engage in hobbies, they learn that this is what a responsible parent does.
4. Get excited and interested in something other than motherhood. It’s easy to get resentful or feel left out if you make your whole life about raising your kids. Children and moms do better when they have other interests and activities outside of motherhood. Volunteer, get involved with your community, start a new hobby, and then talk to your children about what you do. Children are more excited about education and the world around them when their mom is invested, too.
5. It’s not your job to make everyone else feel good. It’s easy to become so responsive to your kids or friends that you lose touch with how important it is for others to be responsible for their own situations. Letting a child face a natural consequence is a powerful learning opportunity. Someone else’s choices are not your problem unless it specifically involves your child. Many moms struggle with the fear of disappointment – accept that you cannot do it all.
Being a mom means making sacrifices. However, making sacrifices doesn’t mean giving up the things that bring joy to your life. Let your kids learn how important it is to get exercise, volunteer, socialize with friends, and draw energy from experiences that don’t include them. Your kids will be happier if they can see that you are creating a life you love that includes them but isn’t totally dependent upon them.