Who is a good mother?
I wrote about the motherhood fallacy that sets us up to feel like nothing we do is good enough. Often, we feel like we need to be all in to be a good mom. Reading up on all of the blogs, the latest trends in parenting, nutrition, sleep schedules, and cognitive enhancing toys. Given that there are 24 hours in a day, if most of our time is dedicated to our children and their upbringing, then less time is devoted to… our friends, our partners, our identity as women. Even though our energies and attention are devoted to our own little human beings- this overwhelming feeling of loneliness and isolation creeps in. Why? Because the attention and energies are focused on the “other” and it tends to not be reciprocated once it’s all said and done. Even when talking with our “mom friends” about parenthood, there is just a brief stint of connection and compassion that ends when the conversation is over because the topic is about other people. Isolation.
All of the reading and talking about parenthood can create a mental loop that prohibits us from being present with the ones we are reading and talking about all day! Isn’t it ironic? We are all up in our heads about how to say what (which at the beginning of changing habits and conversational styles -this is normal and expected) but we forget that we foster deep relationships with our loved ones when there is a reciprocity of attention and connection between us. Your Kids Feel It. They are adept at checking in when you are fully present or not (cue in behavioral issues and other bids for attention). For some parents, they can never catch a break from parenthood. By the time they are with their kids, they have mentally checked out because they are drained from the incessant blabbing in their minds about schedules, meals, fights, etc. Being present, take breaks.
Most of the women I speak to in therapy say that their biggest motivator to improving their life is their kids. To be a better role model. To be calmer, happier with them. With Them. Their reason to improve is their reason they feel isolated and stuck. Creating a better version of yourself for your children is an amazing goal but you are completely sidestepping the most important person in this story. You. Focusing on you, taking those hard steps to create a better life for you will create a better life for your children. I am speaking in gross generalizations, but if you start the day with your needs met, you are more likely to give off a calmer and more content version of you to the ones you care about. Less resentment, less stress. You will talk with your friends about your kids but also about what drives you as an individual. Don’t let isolation, distraction, and lack of breaks take over your mom-life.