When someone asked me the other day what I’ve learned about motherhood, my immediate answer was “It’s really fucking hard.” The work of motherhood has stretched me in every way possible. It has made me stronger, more capable, and, let’s be honest, more exhausted than ever before.
I feel like there is this idea that motherhood shouldn’t be so hard. Day after day we are all told to "savor these moments because they go by so fast" when in reality many of us feel like we are holding it all together by a thread.
What would it look like if we created more space for the honest struggles that we face as mothers? What would it look like if we supported one another in feeling held through the hardships? Because let's face it - motherhood in all of its many chapters is full of hardship. What we need more than anything is to embrace the struggle and equip ourselves with the tools to help us navigate these turbulent waters.
The 3 game-changers that have worked for me and the mothers I’ve supported over the last decade are:
1. Setting healthy boundaries: Boundaries are guidelines we create to protect our time, energy, and physical and emotional wellbeing. Boundaries are one of the clearest ways to communicate to others our expectations and how we want to be treated. This process helps us reclaim our power and find more agency over our lives. Yes, this includes boundaries with our children. There, I said it.
2. Getting in touch with our desires: It is so easy to lose ourselves in the love and labor of motherhood. It becomes second nature to bypass our own needs because we are so busy with taking care of the needs of our family. But the truth is that when we put attention on ourselves, that has a supportive impact on our entire family system. When we get in touch with our desires and focus our attention on our own well-being, we can show up for the work of motherhood. It may not seem like it. In fact, it might seem just the opposite. But the truth is, our families need us to focus on ourselves.
3. Finding our voices: One of the most powerful and life-affirming things we can do is to stand in our truth and let our voices be heard. In sharing our truths we not only liberate ourselves, but we inspire others to do so as well. For too long, mothers have suffered in silence, maintaining a myth that motherhood is first and foremost about sacrifice and self-effacement. We know this is not how it was meant to be, and it is not how we can best care for our children.
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