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One of the first things I noticed when I ventured into this realm of motherhood is that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was firmly on the side of ‘when you become a mother, you’ll know’ because that’s what I’d heard over and over again. Looking back I find it kind of laughable that I believed that once my baby was earthside some switch would just flick and I’d be like ‘downloading Motherhood information now’. Beep.
Yeah, so that didn’t happen…
Instead, I had a baby, I was a mother, and I just had to figure it out as I went along.
Over the years I’ve learnt a few lessons. Some were big obvious lessons, others were more subtle lessons I didn’t realise I was learning until I looked back. Either way, after a while I realised there were a few things I knew for sure about motherhood.
Sure, I’m still winging it most of the time, and I’m learning as I go, but these are 7 things I know for sure about motherhood and I hope that by sharing them, they might help some other Mamas out there who were in the same boat as me.
1 – Some Days Are REALLY Hard
You know when you’re on a rollercoaster that is scary AF, you feel a little sick and you are a little bruised from being knocked side to side, and all you want to do is get off the ride. THAT is what motherhood feels like, sometimes.
Some days are honestly so, so hard. I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s all sunshine and roses because Mama, you and I both know that is not the truth.
There have been days when I’ve sat in the shower crying, there have been days when I’ve looked at my children and wondered if I was really the best mother for them, there have been days when I’ve called a friend or called my Mum and said I just needed a break, and there have been many, many times I’ve called my husband for what we refer to as a ‘sanity call’ because I’m about to lose mine.
But here’s the thing, SOME days are hard. Not all. And that’s what I keep telling myself over and over. Not ALL days are hard.
My friend Caitlin and I actually created Motherhood affirmation cards and they are my go-to on the hard days. I usually pick one each day to focus on, but on the hard days, I tend to surround myself with them and as reminder that it’s okay.
2 – Some Days Are Absolute Bliss
On the other end of the spectrum, some days are absolute bliss. When I see my kids running around together and having fun, when they snuggle in together or when my daughters face lights up the moment she sees her brother, it makes my heart explode.
Some days everything just clicks. Your to-do list gets done, the kids don’t argue about the food you offer them, the house stays somewhat tidy and their arms wrap around you as they tell you they love you.
These days are the ones I make sure I stop and just soak up as much as possible. Most days are somewhere between hard and bliss, but when you have a full-on bliss day, it’s just like nothing else.
3 – Everything Is A Season And Will Pass
I stopped trying to figure a lot of things out a long time ago. Why my daughter all of a sudden doesn’t want to eat her dinner. Or why she has started waking up at night again. Or why my son has to start every sentence with the word ‘actually’. Or why every morning seems to be like absolute chaos…
Everything is a season and it will pass.
This has been our biggest affirmation when it comes to sleep. We would think we had it figured out, and then it would change, and then it would change again.
Instead of stressing about everything (yeah, I still do sometimes) we try to just go with the flow and allow things to change as they do, because resisting is just going to cause more stress. It will pass, it always does.
4 – You Don’t Have To Get It Right All The Time
I heard this saying from a child psychologist somewhere and it was like someone had given me permission to not be perfect. It honestly was the biggest weight off my shoulders. You don’t have to get it right all the time. Actually, I think she said something like ‘you only have to get it right 30% of the time’ which was pretty darn awesome.
But you can’t get it right all the time. That’s not how we work as humans, it’s not how we work as parents. It’s just not possible. And who is to say what is ‘right’ anyway.
So give yourself some space Mama. It’s okay to get cranky every now and then, it’s okay to not be Pinterest perfect. As long as you love your children and are doing your best, then you’re probably well past that ‘30% of the time’ rule.
5 – A Hug Fixes Most Problems
My son used to throw the biggest tantrums. Out of nowhere. Usually, they would only ever happen when we were at home, and most of the time they were when he was tired. I read up on how to deal with tantrums and tried all the calm talking at his level techniques. They didn’t help most of the time.
And then one day I just looked at him and said ‘do you need a hug’ and he said ‘yes please’ and the tantrum was over. We sat and hugged and after a few minutes everything was calm and back to normal.
Since then, that’s our first response when an explosion happens. Or when the kids are upset. ‘Do you need a hug’.
And you know what? It doesn’t only happen for the kids. Most of my stress, my upset and my anger can be resolved or at least calmed with a hug.
6 – You Can’t Do It Alone (And You Don’t Have To)
This isn’t representative of whether you’re a single Mama, a FIFO Mama or whatever situation you’re in. This is about the fact that this is hard, and you need support, in many areas of motherhood.
Thinking back over the first year of my daughter’s life, I had support from my Midwife, a Lactation Consultant, my friends, my family, my husband, my work, my colleagues, daycare, doctors, Facebook groups, online forums, just to name a few.
That’s not even taking into consideration the amount of support I needed as a mother. Going at it alone, without anyone to talk to, without any help or support, is not sustainable. You’ll run yourself into the ground and you deserve better than that.
There are so many options for support from Mother’s Groups (if that’s your thing) to support organisations, to friends and family, to churches. There’s so much available, you just have to take that first step and get out there.
7 – There’s No One Right Way
I have lost count of the number of times I thought I was doing something wrong… each day. What is right for one Mama might not be right for another.
Our daughter still sleeps in our bed and that’s what works for us. My husband loves having her there, I love having her there and we all get more sleep because of it. But, with my son, having him in my bed was a disaster. He would wake at every movement and needed his own space.
Even what is right for one child might not be what is best for your next child.
It’s bloody confusing because it means you can’t just follow a clear set path to get things right. But at the end of the day, as long as you are responding to your child’s needs, loving them and making them feel loved and safe and knowing you are there for them no matter what, then I think you’re doing it right.