I apologize for not posting something recently. As you may know, my family has been super busy preparing for the arrival of baby number four! Between trying to get as much done as possible, while keeping up with the cleaning and laundry, and finding time to take the much-needed breaks, our house has been a bit crazy! So this post will be a bit brief, but I had to share my thoughts with you.
During a break yesterday, I saw a news story that both saddened me and got me thinking. They talked about moms that take antidepressants anti-anxiety medications to get through the day.
First let me say, I completely understand that there are medical circumstances that deem these medications completely necessary for one’s mental health. I do not intend to pass judgement on anyone who uses, or has used these types of medications. That decision is between an individual and their doctor. So for the rest of this discussion, I want to set aside the medical aspect of this because, well, I’m just a mom, and I am not qualified to really discuss it. Being a mom, however I am qualified to discuss the difficulties we all share in our journey of mommyhood.
The moms interviewed in the news story expressed feelings of inadequacy. The feeling of being overwhelmed by the day-to-day responsibilities placed on a mom. I can totally relate to this. Mom or dad, we all face these types of feelings, to some degree, and struggle with the ultimate question: am I a good parent? But what is “good?” What justifies a good parent varies so greatly from family to family. Most would probably agree it includes providing a safe, healthy environment filled with nurturing and love. But everyone achieves this in their own unique way, which is very much influenced by their own upbringing and beliefs.
I think what is important to remember is just because one family’s methods are different from our own does not make it wrong. I believe when we start comparing our parenting and family dynamics to those of another family, it contributes to the feelings of inadequacy. Often in comparing, we only point out those things we perceive the other mom is better at doing. Notice I say “perceive” because it’s not necessarily better, but different.
As for feeling overwhelmed. I believe it is so natural to feel this way. Whether the kids are extra rowdy energetic one day, financial situations are a concern, maybe you’re a working mom, or maybe it’s just one of those days that you feel like if it can go wrong, it will, everyone has been there. Yes everyone. You are not alone. I also think it’s hard because we feel we are expected to control our child’s actions. We aren’t. It is our job to give guidance (and discipline, when necessary) so that our children can learn to make the right behavioral decisions on their own. So what am I saying? Children misbehave, it is normal. It is how they learn their limits; what is right and wrong. Is it overwhelming? Absolutely!! Is it frustrating? Most definitely. Is there something wrong with you or your child? NO.
We need to stop comparing ourselves to who we perceive as the perfect mom. No one is perfect. No one. We need to realize that every family, large and small, young children or grown, all face difficulties. Each stage of child development presents new challenges, a chance to learn and grow with your child. Remember that no way is the only way or the right way. The sooner we can learn this and be supportive of each other as moms parents human beings, the sooner these horrible feelings of inadequacy will be lessened. We are all in this together, never be afraid to reach out for support from family, a friend, or if necessary, a doctor. It is not a sign of weakness, but the greatest strength.