Yet another day goes by, seeing post after post sharing how great their day’s been and how much fun they’ve had together.
And you’ve had another bad day.
The smiles and laughs, and clean looking angelic kids smiling at the camera. Gives you that kick in your stomach.
Yet you continue to scroll.
For the first time today, you’re flaked on the sofa, exhausted from yet more tears, tantrums, and screams after the millionth floor sweeping and dishwashing episode.
It’s not like what you see on the ‘gram, let’s be honest (you know that, yet it still gets to you)
And so, if you’re not enjoying motherhood as much as you’d like, this post will offer you some respite. New mothers, in particular, this is written with you in mind.
The first thing you must do is ask yourself why you’re not enjoying it?
Be straight with yourself and see what’s going on.
Are you putting too much pressure on yourself?
Are you getting sucked into the “Make the most of it, the years are short” talk?
Is it several hard days in a row with your partner working all hours and you’re alone with no one to talk to?
The good news is, that you can do things to help yourself.
At the end of the day (here comes a truth bomb) nothing will change unless you change it. That’s the best way to get back into a positive viewpoint.
What to do next
You need to delve deep and ask what’s bugging you about your life right now.
Is it the kids?
Lack of free time?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not immediately going to get you to that ‘happy family’ stage.
But whatever it is, get clear on it and then make firm plans to change it. Tiny steps.
Changing what’s going on may involve asking for help, getting a babysitter, taking an early morning walk or run, and having a night or two off where the partner takes over as some examples.
Good times are allowed, you know! Not just allowed – they’re a necessity!
You must decide what you need, and then plan for it.
This is a key moment of motherhood, when you finally stop being a victim and take ownership of yourself and your family.
Positive things come from positive resolutions.
Striving to meet your needs is a necessity, lovely.
Every human has needs that must be met, mums included!
Good things come from asking for what you need.
Perhaps it’s something so trivial and easy that you feel embarrassed to ask? Say it’s a half-hour of quiet time? Or a Saturday morning shopping trip?
Maybe you’re battling with postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, and hard times happen frequently?
Even more reason then to ask for what you need, to bring in some good days.
You may not even know what your needs are at this point which is why I’m a huge advocate of journaling – this will help establish your needs and clear your head.
And honestly, things always seem worse in your mind.
If you simply got your thoughts out on paper (and/or talk to someone about it) then made a plan of action for yourself, ideally, including getting help and support from others, you’d feel better in no time.
Comparing yourself to others is another big contributor to not enjoying motherhood.
You may be looking at others (real life or online) and think they have it better? And you want the same? Or their clean house
is that much cleaner than yours?
Seriously, remove the comparisons you’re making. It always ends in tears.
It’s great if you’re inspired by other mums and want to improve things for yourself and family by implementing good bits that others are doing.
But if you’re dwelling and wishing, hoping, and moping, but not taking action to change how you’re feeling, how on earth will you ever get there?
Any form of comparison leads to feelings of inadequacy.
You are the perfect mum for your kids, and that’s all there is to it. There’s no need to compare yourself. You have young children and you’re doing the best you can.
This is your life and your chance to make the most of it, so don’t allow the actions of others to dictate how you should feel or what you should be doing.
Focusing on the wrong stuff
Where’s your mind at when you’re in mum mode?
Likely it’s on the state of your home or the fact that the kids have destroyed yet another blind in the bathroom window.
Focusing on the wrong stuff is another reason you may not be enjoying motherhood.
Always ask yourself when the frustration builds up: “Will this matter in 5 years’ time?”
Because honestly, in 5 years’ time when your little one’s in school, you’ll miss the chance for a cuddle on the sofa and a snuggle in bed.
Or a lazy Monday where you really don’t have to go anywhere, except to the train track your toddler pulls you to play with.
The softness of their hair, the looks they only give you, the feeding and the bath times.
The chaos and the giggles. All of it.
These are moments to be cherished, so try and focus on enjoying the wonderful bits (rather than fixating on the bad bits) and make the most of them while you can.
This is your motherhood journey to enjoy your way.
Another reason for not enjoying motherhood is having outrageous expectations. Expectations lead to disappointment, because it puts the pressure on ‘something’ outside of yourself to perform.
And we can’t control anyone or anything else but ourselves!
Maybe you’re expecting too much of yourself even? Or of your kids? Or your partner? Trying to be the good mother rather than the real mother?
Motherhood can become an eternal treadmill of trying so hard to please everyone, but neglecting yourself.
It’s tough to get the right balance between being mum, being a wife or partner, keeping the house in order and having a job & social life. Yet expectations will make this SO much harder.
Expectations can come from expecting certain ‘milestones’ in your kids, or having a dream about what motherhood would be like, when in fact, it’s the opposite.
When you remove any and all expectations, you take tremendous pressure off yourself and your little people.
You start seeing them as real little humans, just seeking love, comfort and guidance (much like you are!)
Try and tune into what’s happening with your feelings and ask yourself whether your expectations are too high?
If you can tweak some of those, it’ll remove the pressure and allow you to relax, bringing the joy back to being a mum.
Not living in the present
Perhaps your mind is often elsewhere, in the past or future? This is super common, and many people struggle to maintain a present perspective.
This is where mindfulness can be amazing.
Practising present moment awareness is key to developing emotional control.
This is where a mindfulness practise can be life-changing, to ground yourself in the moment you’re in.
Mindfulness is a practise because we choose to do it. And the more you practise it, the easier it gets. A journaling practise is a great way to get mindful – check out my e-book on the topic (see recommended reads below)
Try not to take on too much at once if you decide to give mindfulness a go. The early days can be tricky, where you lose motivation and give up too easily, expecting too much at once (back to those expectations).
Small steps and daily micro-commitments are needed when you begin a mindfulness practice. 2 minutes here and there can make a world of difference.
Another way to get present is having a change of scenery. Taking the kids out for an afternoon walk to somewhere new, or experiencing a new coffee shop can really get you feeling present and content.
Negative Self Talk
Talking down to yourself and making yourself feel bad almost certainly ends in a miserable motherhood experience.
When you’re on your own with screaming kids all day, every day, it can be a lot to handle emotionally.
(You’ll find this read great if you’re just having one of those days today)
Essentially, you need to strengthen your inner ‘good voice’ and boot out the bad one.
Saying affirmations out loud can help, as does giving yourself a compliment. Try it when you brush your teeth. It doesn’t take much time, just a quick wink in the mirror!
In truth, the more often you talk kindly to yourself, telling yourself you’re doing amazingly well (cos’ you are) the more you’ll start to believe it.
So buff up that good voice as often as you can.
There is such a thing! Don’t roll your eyes just yet.
Motherhood can be the most amazing experience if you apply any or all of these suggestions in this post.
It’s meant to be the best time of your life, where you’re at your best with gorgeous little ones running around you.
Modern media tends to focus on either the negatives of motherhood or the super duper highs.
Moaning about the sleepless nights and challenging moments or the baby snuggles and cute booties.
But in reality, you can create your version of a happy moment and have a wonderful time every day with your children.
Spending quality time together as a family and not buying into the negative things you hear.
Leaving behind the hectic life in favour of actualising those family values you want to see in action.
This is your family life to create, you are the head of your household!
This is your season of motherhood, and it’s up to you to step up and make the most of it.
Practising gratitude and being thankful every day. These are keys to enjoying motherhood and making more positive moments stand out.
Now go mama and take a deep breath. Appreciate any little moments with your kids today, and rediscover the joy of motherhood right now.