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I love being a mom. It’s a dream that I’ve had my entire life. There was a part of me that thought when I finally become a mom, it‘s going to feel like everything flows so easily!
And then… I actually became a mom.
Yes, there were some things that felt very natural, and then so many other things that just…didn’t. (Like, is anybody really good at handling all those bodily fluids?)
The truth is that being a mom, hands down, is the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. Motherhood has an incredible way of bringing out the best part of you and also bringing you to the very end of yourself on a regular basis.
On this beautiful (and crazy) journey of motherhood, there are so many thoughts that go through our minds and a lot of them straight-up lies about motherhood and what being a great mom really means.
These lies of guilt, shame, and comparison are an unnecessary load that can rob us of experiencing the simple wonder of being a mom and truly enjoying our kids.
So let’s take a few minutes to talk about the most common lies that moms around the world are struggling with. Moms just like you and me.
Lie #1: You can’t be a great mom because you weren’t raised by one.
For so many moms, there was some wounding in their childhood that has crept into their own story of motherhood and led to thoughts like how can I be a good mom if I didn’t have a healthy role model growing up?
No matter what situation you grew up in, you can be a great mom! Remember, you were created in God’s image. He is your potential, not your earthly mother.
One of the best ways to break off this lie is to focus your mind and your heart on who God says you are. Grab your free copy of these 26 Identity Statements from God’s Word!
The truth is no one had a perfect mother. Even if you had an amazing mom or a decent relationship with your mother growing up, there are still things about your mom that you probably don’t want to emulate in your own relationship with your kids.
I want to encourage you that you are not stuck! There’s actually scientific evidence that your brain can change, your personality can change, and most powerfully of all you can change your mind about the type of mother you’re going to be. You are not powerless on this journey of motherhood.
Lie #2: The quality of your connection with your kids is measured by the amount of time you spend with them.
I’ve been listening to a podcast called Unbusy Your Life with Neill Williams and she said something recently that stopped me in my tracks… “Connection is a feeling, not a measure of time.”
This is so powerful! Whether you’re a stay at home mom, you work outside the home, or work from home, we all carry this guilt as moms that we should be doing more and spending more time with our kids. The thing is, it usually leads us to exhaustion and burnout.
The quality of your connection with your kids is NOT measured by the amount of time you spend with them. It’s measured by the quality of your relationship with them.
When we start guilting and shaming ourselves for not spending more time with them, we are robbing our kids and ourselves of a true, quality relationship.
Connection can happen even in small increments of time. It’s not about how much time, it’s about how you make those moments you do have count. Instead of trying to clock a certain amount of time with your kids, shift that focus to the quality of the relational connection that you’re building together in a way that brings life and joy to both you and your child.
Lie #3: You have to enjoy every minute or you’re doing it wrong.
A lot of us carry the weight of this concept, even if it hasn’t been spoken directly to us – this lie that if we aren’t enjoying every minute of our children (or motherhood) then we’re doing something wrong.
That is not how humanity works. God designed you to experience both positive and negative feelings for a reason. If you only felt good and happy all the time, before long that would be meaningless. Happiness would be meaningless because there would be no low moments to remind you what’s truly important and help you be grateful for what you have.
The beauty of motherhood is not in enjoying every minute, but in giving yourself the freedom and grace to embrace both the highs and lows, because you know you are doing real life with the people you love the most.
Break that lie off right now that you have to enjoy every moment! I encourage you to start embracing the ups and downs. You can let go of the need to feel happy in every aspect of motherhood and allow yourself to feel grateful for the journey in its entirety along the way.
Lie #4: Your child’s happiness is your responsibility.
For so much of my motherhood I held onto this lie that if my kids aren’t happy it’s my problem and not theirs. Say this with me right now, “my child’s happiness is not my responsibility.”
You cannot control any other person on this planet. Ultimately, we have no control over our children’s happiness. Sure, we have opportunities to invite them into a different experience. But no matter what you do, you don’t get to choose if they’re happy or not – only they get to choose that.
If we try to force happiness or facilitate an environment that helps our kids only experience happiness, we’re actually not giving them an accurate picture of real life.
Here’s what you can do if you struggle with this:
- First of all, give yourself permission to let go of the responsibility for your child’s happiness.
- Secondly, recognize that always feeling happy is not authentic, and it isn’t a good picture of life.
- Thirdly, recognize that your kids are more likely to do what you model than what you try to force them to do.
If your kids aren’t happy, instead of trying to MAKE them happy, try modeling contentment in your own life. Our kids learn by example! When everything is falling apart, rather than getting sucked into that whirlwind, choose to focus on gratitude, contentment, and go with the flow.
Lie #5: Other moms are doing it better.
For whatever reason, all moms struggle with this lie that other moms are doing motherhood better than we are. But here’s the crazy thing – I’ve talked to so many moms and none of us feel like we’re killing it on all fronts! Nobody does!
We do ourselves a disservice when we look around at other moms and think, oh, she’s doing it better than I am. When we look at another mom as competition rather than as an ally, we are taking away the opportunity to build community and friendship with them and benefit from each other!
I am not a good cook. And I am TERRIBLE at crafts. But I love to plan a good party. So, instead of being discouraged by my lack of cooking and crafting skills, I could team up with Jen (who is great with crafts) and Jess (an amazing cook) and I can plan the details of the party!
Now I’m not looking at my own weaknesses, but instead, I’m building a community of people with different strengths and we are all benefitting from each other’s friendship.
Here’s the other thing – your kids don’t care. They aren’t sitting there planning the perfect mom with this aspect from this mom, that aspect from that mom… You are their mom! You were handpicked by God for this journey and to be their mother. Do you know what your kids want? You. Just you. It’s okay not to be good at all. the. things.
Lie #6: Your needs are not important.
This lie parades itself in our lives as true love and healthy sacrifice for our kids, but it’s not. The more we neglect our own needs as a mom, the more we are setting ourselves up for failure. We’re setting an unrealistic expectation for our kids of what healthy self-care looks like.
When we sacrifice our own needs over and over again for our children, thinking we’re showing love, we are really doing them a disservice. We are showing them that, someday when they grow up, their needs will not matter either.
Instead, we have an opportunity to model healthy self-love to our kids. This can look different for each of us, but we can show our kids everyone has needs and everyone’s needs are important. It’s okay to recognize your needs and do things to keep yourself healthy and filled. It’s in that place, when you’re healthy and filled and refreshed, that you can be the best YOU to help everyone else.
If you’ve been hanging on to that lie that your needs aren’t important, I want to encourage you to think of one thing that you can do to refresh yourself. Allow yourself to take care of your own needs so you can be a better mom.
Lie #7: You have to be perfect or you’ll mess them up.
We recently went through a difficult season of family health issues and loss. It shifted so many things in our lives, it stirred up so much anxiety, and I found myself coming out of that season being angry.
I’ve never thought of myself as an angry person, but I had so much anger that kept trying to come out. Several times it would come out at my kids, my husband, or even my dog! I felt like I was messing up everything.
In those moments, we need the grace of God to come in and be our redeemer, our healer, and our comforter. Let Him come in and be your strength and safe place! The truth is, you are never going to be perfect.
You are going to make mistakes in motherhood and that’s okay! You are going to go through rough seasons where you’re not your best self and that’s okay too.
You don’t have to be perfect to be a great mom. Keep going, keep inviting the presence of God to come and transform you…to give you hope, give you life, and walk you through it.
One of the most powerful things we can do for our kids (and spouse) is to be willing to admit when we’ve made a mistake, to apologize, and to truly ask for forgiveness. This shows your kids that it’s okay not to be perfect. It teaches them that when we hurt someone we can go to them and make it right and reconcile that relationship.
Let me tell you something. You are an amazing mom! The fact that you have struggled with any one of these lies proves the fact that you’re a great mom because you care.
No matter which of these lies has been stealing your joy, I want to encourage you to take a minute and bring it before God and share your heart with Him.
Ask Him to show you HIS truth about who you are as a mom and to give you the strength and the tools you need to continue becoming a better mom.
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