The day you become a mom is also the day where you really step it up in the skills department. Although you can’t be everything, it’s the only “job” where you are expected to do just that.
- Keep your house spotless, check.
- Laundry, check.
- Gourmet (and also inexpensive, organic/grass-fed/free-range) meals, check.
- Ultimate patience; never yelling at your kids, check.
- Breastfeeding as long as your child wants, check.
- Always being on time (despite having three kids in car seats), check.
- Looking svelte every time you leave your house, check.
- Bringing in money from a job you love while simultaneously creating harmony and a feeling of wellbeing in your kids, check.
- Having a house worthy of being on a magazine, check.
- Creating Pinterest worthy holiday/birthday decorations, gifts, and treats, check.
- Stay on top of well-child visits and dentist check-ups, check.
Aren’t you tired of checking off boxes yet? I could add a lot more items to the list of things where moms are expected to excel.
The truth is, trying to be good at everything will actually just make you just so-so at a lot of things. It can also contribute to your unhappiness.
Great at nothing
Eons ago (you know, during the dark ages), when I was a senior in high school, seniors had the opportunity to apply to become a “Sterling Scholar”. Sterling Scholars had to apply for the award and, if chosen would go on to represent the school in categories like Music, English, Math, Foreign Language, etc. These students often went on to receive scholarships at various colleges and universities throughout the state. I wanted to be a Sterling Scholar so badly.
My grades were good. I was involved in sports, band, honor clubs, choir, I played the piano, I even went to math competitions with the math club. I didn’t know which category to apply for, so I applied for nearly everything. As you’ve probably guessed, I was not chosen for anything. I was heartbroken. I felt like a failure.
I had tried to be good at everything, which made me just okay at everything. And it sucked.
Mom’s can’t be everything
So, how does this apply to motherhood? It’s nearly impossible to be amazing at everything you do. Now, wait! You might know one of the few moms’ who seem to be good at everything. I’ll let you in on a secret. They are failing somewhere. I promise that they are.
to be amazing at everything you do. Now, wait! You might know one of the few moms’ who seem to be good at everything. I’ll let you in on a secret. They are failing somewhere. I promise that they are.
How do you succeed and find joy in motherhood when it seems like everyone expects you to be a paragon of awesomeness? Embrace who you are. Have an honest discussion with yourself. Be okay with failing at some things. Try asking yourself the following questions.
1. What are my most important priorities?
Maybe it’s time with your kids. A clean house. Extra activities as a family. A hobby that makes you happy. Only you can decide what should be most important in your life.
2.What am I good (or not good) at?
Are you naturally good at cleaning your house? Have a knack for entertaining your kids? Do you burn every meal you make? Make an honest assessment of your talents and strengths. Remember you can’t be everything, so really take the time to think about this.
3. What can I outsource?
If you are struggling to keep up on housework, maybe you can hire someone to clean your house once a month. Money tight? Assign your least favorite chore to your husband. Or perhaps you can ask a friend to watch your kids for a few hours while you get some things done.
4. What can I drop?
Does it really matter if you volunteer at every party in your child’s kindergarten class? Do your kids really need an Elf on the Shelf that creates havoc in your home every day leading up to Christmas? Can you simplify your child’s birthday party or traditions?
5. What brings me joy?
Some parts of motherhood bring you more joy than others. Lean into the parts that make you happy. You might not be able to avoid all of the things you don’t love or aren’t good at. But you can focus on improving and loving the parts of motherhood that make you happy. You can’t be everything.
Don’t beat yourself up. Sure, work to improve the areas where you don’t shine. But, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have the time, energy, or desire to spend on the things that don’t bring you joy.
It’s okay if you aren’t good at every part of motherhood. You aren’t failing your children and your family. They’ll survive if you burn the toast, if the bathroom still stinks, or if you need to work instead of stay home with your baby. In fact, if you lean into the parts of motherhood that bring you joy, it’ll allow your family to feel that joy. They won’t remember the dishes in the sink, they’ll remember the dance parties in the kitchen. They won’t remember you were always late to their dance recital, but they’ll know you showed up. Lean into joy mama.