As mothers, we have a lot of responsibility placed on our shoulders. At times, it is a burden we gladly carry. Other times, the weight of it is heavy and it’s all we can do to put one foot in front of the other. I’ve laughed with my children and I’ve cried with them and over them and for them. They are some of my greatest joys and present some of my greatest challenges. Motherhood, it seems, is full of contradictions. So it’s understandable that as a mother, it can feel at times that we are stuck in this middle ground, where we’re not sure if what we’re doing is making a difference. Mom guilt is real and it can cause us to question our methods, our abilities, our strength and endurance. But I’m here to tell you that you are doing better than you think you are.
Comparison is the thief of joy
I have a love/hate relationship with technology. On the one hand, I’m grateful for how it connects me to my family and friends and information. On the flip side, my feed is filled with pictures of people visiting exotic locations, beautifully decorated homes and creative craft ideas. This can make me feel like I’m missing out or that it somehow diminishes what I’m doing at home with my children. From a young age, I remember being told that I was in charge of my own happiness and that no one could make me feel a certain way. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t affected by what we see or hear. The problem comes when we begin to compare what we see to our own lives and continue to think about it and wish that our lives were like those we see on social media, believing them to be reality. Women especially get caught up in this and we are quick to get down on ourselves. It’s easy to compare our imperfect lives with the seemingly perfect lives we see on Facebook and Instagram.
Everyone is fighting their own battle
I’ll admit that there are times when I’ve made unfair judgements about those around me. Usually it’s in a moment of weakness when I’ve had a bad day or I’m feeling overwhelmed. But the truth is, everyone is fighting their own battle and they are simply fighting it the best way they know how. And we can either choose to offer them the benefit of the doubt or make a hard situation worse (knowingly or not). I think more often than not, we try to do this with other people, but what about ourselves? We deserve a little bit of grace too. So cut yourself some slack and remember that you are doing the best you can. And odds are, you are doing better than you think you are.
Focus on what you are doing right
A few weeks ago, my husband called me during his lunch break to see how my day was going. My reply: “The kids are dressed and fed and we’re all alive.” Sometimes you just have to take your wins where you can get them! Let’s face it: being a mom is tough. It’s so easy to think about what’s wrong in our lives or what we wish we could be better at, or beat ourselves up for handling a certain situation the way we did. But if we give ourselves a little bit of grace, it’s easier to focus on what we are doing right. One way I’ve found to help myself do this is by writing in a joy journal each night. No matter how hard the day was, it helps me finish it off on a positive note when I think about the things in the day that brought me joy. Some of them are small, like taking a shower or getting a load of laundry done. I’m not saying we should pat ourselves on the back for every little thing we do. But on the days when life gets us down, it’s totally okay to take a few minutes and think about what you did right. You are doing better than you think you are.
You are amazing
If there is one thing you take from this post, it is this: Listen to the voice in your head that’s telling you that your doing a good job, not the one that says you aren’t doing enough. As women, we have to remember that we are specially equipped to do what we do. We are strong. We are brave. We are amazing. I love this quote: “To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle–and all will–I say, be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are.” (Jeffrey R. Holland)