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Back in my early twenties (waaaay back), I thought I had figured out what kind of mother I wanted to be. I thought motherhood was this thing where you feel in love with your child, you somehow magically knew what you were doing and everything just came together.
What I wasn’t prepared for, what how much motherhood has taught me about myself. And even more surprising, has been how much my husband taught me about being a mother. These are some of the things he has shown me:
1 – It’s Okay To Ask For Help
I’m the first person to admit I’m a little bit stubborn. Okay, very, very stubborn. For some reason, I thought that in order for me to be a good mother, I had to be able to do it all on my own. I had to be able to take care of the house, my husband, my kids and manage to have a career of my own in there somewhere too.
Perfectly doable right?
Uh, no. Not at all. Not even close.
The thing is, I didn’t ever have to do it on my own. My husband was always there, always wanting to help and always doing things to help. It was only my expectation I had put upon myself thinking I should be doing it all.
After my first big burn out, my husband made sure I started accepting more help. And slowly I’ve been able to start accepting help from others too – not just him. It feels good to feel like you don’t have to do it all on your own.
2 – Not Everything Has To Be Perfect
Prior to having children, I was a bit of a perfectionist. Like ‘if it’s not going to be perfect is there any point in doing it at all’ kind of perfectionist. A luxury that is really only afforded to those without tiny humans demanding their attention.
But my perfectionism wasn’t just in how the house looked or how the bed was made, it was in how our holiday was planned or even just my general plans for life.
I created all of these ‘perfect’ scenarios and if reality didn’t reflect them (which let’s face it, it never does) then I would get anxious and upset.
My husband has taught me that sometimes when things don’t go to plan, and when things aren’t perfect, the real memories are created. And it’s true! Think of some of the happy and funny memories you have, was it because things went to plan?
I’ve learned to not hold so tightly onto my idea of what’s perfect, and embrace what happens each day.
(Although, if you want to see ‘perfectionism’ in an amusing form, you should see my husband stack the dishwasher!)
3 – To Appreciate The Little Things
Because I felt like I had to do everything on my own and because I was caught up in the idea of being a ‘perfect’ mother, I wasn’t seeing the little things that make each day so wonderful with children.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed and only look at the big picture. The pile of laundry that needs to be done, the toys that are scattered on the floor, the shoes in a pile next to the shoe bucket. All of these things are part of the everyday life of having children, but so are the truly important things.
When your child looks into your eyes when they are talking to you – take a moment and soak that in. When they wrap their little arms around your neck and say ‘I love you’ – breathe them in. When they are so excited to show you the picture they drew, take a moment to be excited with them.
These are the little things that make the days amazing.
Read This: 9 Must Watch TED Talks For Parents
4 – Time Alone Is Just As Important As Family Time
As an introvert, my husband has always valued time to himself to recharge. He has always know that he needs time out to just be and reset in order to keep going and tackle the everyday. This was something I hadn’t quite figured out yet.
I was of the opinion that time to myself was selfish and that as a mother, all of my time should be given to my children and family…
The problem is, when you give and give and give and don’t take time to recharge, you have nothing left to give.
My husband has taught me that it’s not only okay to need time out for self care, but that I absolutely must take it.
Read This: 11 Self Care Habits of Successful Women
5 – I Am Far Stronger Than I Ever Imagined Possible
My biggest supporter and my biggest fan is my husband. We have been through some crazy full on and emotionally demanding times, and just when I felt like I couldn’t keep going, he was there supporting me and showing me that it’s possible.
He reminds me all of the time how amazing it is to be a mother and how strong I am, a strength I never realised I had until I became a mother.
It’s not about being physically strong (although lifting a toddler up and down over and over again each day does require a certain amount of physical strength), but it’s about being mentally and emotionally strong too.
Motherhood is turbulent, emotional, draining, exhausting, empowering, overwhelming, and more rewarding than anything you could ever imagine. And that’s all in one day. You have to be strong to be able to take it on. And my husband reminds me of this every day.
I never thought my husband would be the one to teach me so much about motherhood and myself as a mother, but I am so glad he has. Because these are such important lessons to learn and ones that have made me a better mother.