I am a mother of three (ages one, three and four years old), and since becoming a mom my life has been non-stop. Between feeding, cooking, cleaning, reading books, bedtime routines, laundry, dishes, and so much more; the days are exhausting. But even despite that, there are nights when I go to bed and feel like I still somehow didn’t do enough.
Originally, I was going to share with you a post full of things I strive to do every day to be a better mom. But as I started writing it out, it just felt insincere. So, today I am not going to share with you a list of ways on how to be better, that actually makes us all feel less. You are already enough. And as you read the words below, my hope is to share encouragement with you; by sharing the very things that I often need to tell myself…
1. You are the Perfect Mother for Your Child
Comparison is all around us. We feel less than if we buy store-bought decorations for a birthday party when the last party we went to was full of Pinterest worthy DIY creations. We compare our old, messy kitchens, with the bright white, staged ones on people’s Instagram feeds. We are beautiful, yet feel ugly because we can’t shake those last 10 lbs of baby weight. There is so much opportunity to feel inadequate as women and as mothers, especially when we are comparing our insides to everyone else’s outsides. So, let’s stop comparing.
No matter your belief system, you and your child are the perfect match. Though we may envy the idea of it, our kids don’t need the Pinterest mom. Or, the mom all dolled up in her sparkly new kitchen. Our children don’t care what size jeans we wear; they don’t need the mother who is skinnier. They need YOU. We see our imperfections, but our children do not.
Our kids don’t care about how grand the party decorations are, or if a meal wasn’t picture-worthy. They don’t care about our disorganized cabinets or our cellulite. They look at us and they just see mom. They see someone who loves to tell them stories, the one who gives the best hugs, the one who is there every night when they go to bed, and every morning when they open their eyes. They see their playmate, their buddy, their best friend. If only we could all see ourselves through the eyes of our children. To them, we are perfect… So, on the extra hard days, remember this - you are the perfect mother for your children; not your neighbor, a friend of yours, or a stranger you came across on social media. But, YOU.
2. You Can Make Magic in the Small Moments
I work from home, and this affords me a lot of time to be present with my children. My best friend, on the other hand, works outside of the home; a normal 8-hour work day plus travel. And, she usually only has a couple of hours at home with her daughter at the end of each day. The demands of motherhood look different for each of us, but one common thread: there never seems to be enough time. Whether we are stay-at-home moms, moms running businesses from our home, or mom’s going out to work each day, we are all limited on the amount of time that we can fully devote to our children
You know that saying, “quality over quantity?” - it can be applied to so many things, especially our limited time as parents. Having more time with your kids doesn’t make you a better mom. But what we are doing with that time, is what matters (i.e. being present and off our phones while with our kids, engaging in intentional play, etc.). The small moments like a story before bed, a tickle fight, an impromptu dance party - these are often the most memorable and don’t require hours on end.
There are amazing moms who have very limited little time with their children, especially during the weekdays. And even for those who stay at home, the demands of the home can be so much that the minutes you do feel fully present, aren’t always as many as we wish. But limited time doesn’t have to mean limiting the magic you bring to your kids. So, whatever your situation; don’t hold on to the guilt. Being fully present and being the best mom you can be in the moments your schedule allows - however long or short, is what matters. Magic, not minutes.
3. You are Worthy of Self-Care
Sometimes as moms we get so wrapped up in caring for others that we forget about ourselves. There are many ways that we can take care of ourselves, but it can often be really challenging to fit these practices into our day to day lives. However, not being intentional about doing so, can be harmful to us over time.
Over the last couple of years, I have struggled particularly with time away from my family. Making plans to do things for me (time out with girlfriends, or my sister, etc.) is often met with feelings of guilt. I question if it’s okay to leave my kids and husband for the night for some “me-time.” At times, it has even felt selfish to do so. I have had to fight through those feelings and remind myself that I am not only worthy of time away (a form of self-care), but it is also necessary for me to keep balance.
Another big area that I believe a lot of us women struggle with is wanting to take care of ourselves physically, but not knowing how or where to start. We look at a healthy eating plan or exercise goals and feel completely overwhelmed. Or, maybe we don’t like the way we look today and those feelings of inadequacy hinder us from starting a plan to achieve a healthier tomorrow. But no matter where we are at in our journey, we are all worthy of self-care.
And when it comes to self-care, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Maybe you start with just one healthy, balanced meal a day. I have a delicious Blueberry + Banana + Avocado Smoothie recipe that you can be found here. Simple changes here and there can eventually become part of our daily routine. And, one more piece of encouragement; if you’re struggling with how you feel about your physical appearance right now, I want you to take this in: what our bodies enable us to do as moms is amazing. My friend Ashley over at @ashleysfreshfix shares this quote often and I love it: “If your body is breathing, it’s carrying you through the life you want to live. No matter what it looks like – it is amazing.” How beautiful is that!?
Self-care looks different for everyone. For some, it is taking time out for a relaxing bath after a hard day. For others it is journaling, or going for a walk in the morning. Other times, it is as simple as allowing yourself to say “no” when you need to, or giving up on trying to please everyone around you. Whatever self-care looks like for you - don’t overlook it. You are worthy.
Dear mom, you know what? - You are worthy of self-care. You can make magic for your kids no matter what kind of schedule you keep. And, you are the perfect mother for your child. YOU, yes you, are a thousand times enough. In the business of the holidays, and in the craziness of mom-life, please don’t forget it.
And, I challenge you to share some of this encouragement with another mom; someone else who may be feeling like she just isn’t enough today. - Remind her, she really is. This is a reminder we could all use.
This important story is by Lunches & Littles. Check out her Instagram for more inspiration.