I have a confession to make: Motherhood is hard work. Really hard work. There are days I struggle just to keep it together—like on those have-a-good-cry-in-the-pantry type days. Yet as mothers, we never give up.
Eventually, we get out of the pantry, dry our tears and we keep going. We do this because we love our children and we take pride in our job of raising them. No matter what we might be dealing with on any given day, there are a few simple words I think can make us feel instantly better.
1. "You are doing a great job."
Every mom knows that what we do every day is hard work. Some may argue that it's the hardest job in the world (it is definitely the hardest job I have ever had). It feels great when someone else recognizes your effort and acknowledges that we are doing it well.
2. "All your kids need is for you to love them."
There is so much pressure that society puts on mothers and pressure that we put on ourselves, to do everything that our kids need. But the reality is, all our kids really need is for us to love them as best we can. That is it. When you're having a tough day, don't worry if you are giving them too much screen time or not enough vegetables, remind yourself that you're loving them with your whole heart—and sometimes that reminder is enough.
3. "You are doing better than you think you are."
Everyone has bad days. But even on your worst days, you are most likely handling motherhood way better than you think. Take a step back and just focus on what you are doing, rather than what you feel like you are not doing.
4. "It's okay if you feel like you're losing it sometimes."
Kids will do that to you! There will be moments as a mother when you do not feel particularly proud of your behavior. At times, you may feel like you have no control and it's normal to feel this way. It happens to the best of us. Use this as your reminder to pause and make sure you are making space for yourself in this busy life.
5. "No one is as perfect as they seem on social media."
This is a big one for me. While I will admit that I get caught up in the world of social media, it is so important to be able to separate that out from reality. I personally don't often post those moments when I just yelled at my child or was unkind to my husband for no reason. So why would I assume that anyone else is? Just because we don't see others having these moments, does not mean they are not happening.
6. "Do you need a break?"
Self-care is essential for everyone, but as a mom, I can't survive without it. Take a long shower when your partner gets home or when you get home from work, grab a cup of coffee with a friend or go on a date with your spouse. Taking a break from your children will allow you to return to them with a better capacity to give them what they need.
7. "It's okay if you don't 'love every moment.'"
I don't love the sleepless nights, the fussing and the times that my son looks me straight in the eye and does the exact thing I just told him not to. The list actually goes on and on. This does not make me a bad mom. It makes me human. Same goes for you, mama.
8. "You are not alone."
One of the best things about motherhood (outside of our extraordinary kids of course) is the community of other moms that exist out there. I think it is pretty safe to say that for everything you have felt as a mom, there is another mother who will be able to relate to it. Knowing that other mamas have walked this exact same path before you is an incredibly powerful tool in getting through those tough moments.
9. "Trust your instincts."
There are so many conflicting opinions out there about what we should and should not be doing when it comes to raising our children. And while a lot of those opinions are based on research, none of them are based on your child. You know your child better than any expert or professional out there.
10. "You are the exact parent your child needs."
I read this quote by Rachel Marie Martin of Finding Joy that said, "Today in an auditorium full of parents, my son scanned the room looking for me. When he saw me, his face lit up the room. He wasn't looking for the perfect parent. He was looking for his mom." It is such an important reminder that our kids do not care one bit about all of the little things that we feel make up the "perfect" parent. They just care that we are theirs.
So to all the moms out there, you may not necessarily hear these things every day, but you can read this list every day!
Remind yourself of all the wonderful things you are doing for your children and how important it is that you are in their lives. If you see a fellow mom struggling (we all know what that looks like and we have all been there), offer her something off this list. It's amazing how far a few words can go in shifting someone's day for the better.