Moms today are under more pressure to get it all right than that fancy little Instant Pot resting on every mom’s kitchen counter.
You may think the greatest pressure moms face is to get it all done, but I want to challenge that thought for a moment. I believe the greatest stress mothers carry every day is the feeling that they have to get it ALL RIGHT, ALL THE TIME.
In other words, you should already know how to do this mom thing, and when you struggle to figure it all out or make a mistake – you’re a bad mom.
Have you ever felt like a bad mom or had the sinking feeling that your choices are failing your kids? I know that I have too many times to count!
And that feeling is stealing every ounce of joy in your moments, days, and life. The joy that is our strength in doing the hardest work on the planet – being a mom.
So let’s explore some not-so-talked-about lies moms believe that keep the pressure to get it all right alive and well.
1 – We Believe We are Responsible for our Kids’ Happiness
Even as a parent who firmly believes in the power of positive parenting and connecting with our kids – we are not responsible for our children’s happiness in life. We are, however, responsible for supporting our children in their emotions and teaching them healthy ways to manage them.
When a mother believes she’s responsible for her child’s happiness, she’ll feel the pressure to “manufacture” happiness by any means necessary when her child feels strong emotions like disappointment, anger, anxiety, and sadness.
This is not healthy for our children because they first hear the message that they should avoid their strong emotions instead of feeling them and working through them. Secondly, they never learn the skills they need to create their own joy and happiness.
I know I’ve struggled with this lesson head on this year in 2020 with so many closures and disappointments our kids have had to face. I know I’m not the only parent who tried to make it work out or attempted to fill the void so my kids wouldn’t have to feel lonely, disappointed, or scared.
But one of the gifts I learned in this hard place was that my children didn’t crumble under the pressure…they were fine. Disappointed…but fine. And they learned new and creative ways to thrive. And that’s exactly what we want as parents!
2 – We Believe We Need to be More
Can I just say that you are amazing right where you are! You are enough just the way God created you. I believe that when you become a mother (whatever your story) God matched you perfectly with your child.
So just because you are unique and may think and act differently than your other mom friends or the momfluencers on Instagram, you are exactly who God created you to be for your child…flaws and all.
When you feel the pressure to simply be more, stop this thinking in its tracks. It’s a boldfaced lie sent to steal your joy as a mom. And this lie doesn’t just attack what you do but it attacks the very fabric of who you are.
You are a special and capable child of God who was created before the foundation of the world just the way you are. You are a whole person beautifully made up of beautiful moments, mundane and messy moments, and downright don’t-want-to-share-them-with-anyone moments and they all work together to make the best version of you.
We’re all a work in progress and that’s why our focus needs to be off of us and on Christ and how He fills in the gaps with His love and grace. We don’t need to be everything because He already is!
Related: Finding Your True Value as a Mom
3 – We Believe We Have To Do It the Way We’ve Always Seen it Done
Greater peace comes when we learn to trust the wisdom and intuition that God placed in us as mothers. We spend so much time second-guessing and doubting every decision we make.
This usually happens when we feel pulled to veer off the popular course. When we decide to do it differently than our own mom did it or the way we see society doing it.
I remember when my husband and I first decided to homeschool our daughters. This was something that we both individually felt God calling us to do so we undoubtedly felt it was a move of God for our family.
Unfortunately, our families didn’t take to the idea and this made us doubt our decision. Even though we committed to it, I personally struggled with the negative stigma of homeschooling. This really sucked the joy out of what we were doing.
Please know, that we’re more than capable, as moms, of making choices that are best for our families but also may go against societal norms. If you’re struggling, take heart that you know best and remember you’re not alone in taking the brave and less traveled path.
4 – We Don’t Trust What God Put in Us
I’ll never forget that day when my son was just 3 days old and we were freshly home and getting settled. I was changing his little diaper after a feeding and through my exhausted eyes I though he looked off.
His eyes seemed yellow to me and his skin was paler than I’d remembered. I asked my spouse and he didn’t see a difference. I remember my Dad was getting ready to come by and see the baby before he returned home out of state and this was his only opportunity for a few years.
I felt deep in my spirit that something was wrong but I also felt the pressure to not overreact and miss an important visitation with my Dad. But this feeling was so strong that my husband and girls rushed him into the emergency room.
When I checked him in, the nurses all said he looked fine and didn’t think he needed to be seen but I insisted. When the doctor began to check him out, he said my son looked normal but would run the blood work just to check.
When the bloodwork came back the doctor said he needed to be admitted immediately because he was severely jaundiced and needed several days of constant light therapy. We remained in the hospital for several days until he was strong enough to come home.
I’m sure you have your own story of sticking with what you felt in your spirit and may have saved your own child’s life. God put this gut-feeling into your hardwiring as a mom. Trust it even when everyone around you doesn’t!
5 – We Don’t Give Ourselves the Freedom to be Imperfect
One of the biggest pressures of being a mom is the feeling that you always have to be that good example for your kids to follow.
But somedays we just want to have that tantrum, complain till it hurts, throw the covers over our faces, and stay in the bed and watch Netflix all day because we want to sulk in our misery.
But we don’t because we don’t want to set that example for our kids and we hold our tongues and get out of bed and go on.
This feeling stems from the belief that we can’t be human (aka imperfect) in front of our kids. And the truth is, they need to see our realness in all its glory because we are their examples, mentors, and guides in life.
Let me say it like this, have you ever had a mentor, leader, or even a pastor that never talked about their struggles? Did you find it hard to relate to them or even measure up? It tends to make us feel alone in our struggles.
What about when you had a mentor that was transparent about their struggles? Different, right?
We all need good and right examples to follow but we also need to be able to see the imperfections and struggles in those individuals too. This doesn’t mean you need to reveal or share everything with your kids but don’t shield them from your less than perfect self.
6 – We Believe Our Mistakes Will Irrevocably Damage Our Kids
I started my motherhood journey as a work from home mom right from the start. This wasn’t easy and caused me to feel divided in my time with working and caring for my children on a daily basis.
However, I didn’t have a grasp on how to manage my time, stress, or my emotions and felt overwhelmed much of the time. Oh, and I yelled a lot. This inevitably led to mounds of guilt and shame for many years.
I also had a nagging fear that my mistakes and bad temper would damage my kids for a lifetime even after I’ve learned to overcome my terrible temper for several years.
If you’re struggling with this, here’s something to think about that’ll hopefully set you free. Your choices both good and bad are indeed shaping the personality and future of your children. There’s nothing we can do about that.
If your children ever see a therapist (which is a great thing) as a child or later as an adult, chances are, there will be many discussions about you and your parenting choices. And some of our parenting choices helped shape our kids in positive ways and others impacted them negatively.
And making peace with both of those outcomes is par for the course of being a parent. Our goal is to invest in ourselves so we can become the best version of ourselves so we will be better able to positively impact our kids overall.
What do you think is another pressure moms face? Leave your comment below!