“Dear Coach Deborah,
My kids, family and life are amazing but I don’t love being a mother. Why do I feel like this? Is there anything I can do to love the season I’m in right now?”
Thank you for being brave and saying the thing that many of us think or feel at some point on our motherhood journey.
If we were sitting across the table from each other having tea, I would ask you, “What is it exactly that you don’t love about being a mom?” But because we’re not together, I will fill in some of the blanks. Maybe you don’t like the constant running around and all that needs to be accomplished and done as a mother. Or perhaps it’s the constant laundry, house cleaning, meal planning, etc. Or maybe you’re a mom of one and it’s having to be the parent, friend, playmate, etc.
Here’s the point I want to make – perhaps it’s not that you don’t love being a mother. Perhaps it’s the different tasks that you’ve linked to what you think you have to do to be the “perfect mother.” So here’s the thing: the things on the list definitely have to get done. But who says those are the signs of a perfect mother? Who says that you are the one who has to do all of those things?
If it’s the laundry, perhaps it’s time for everyone to get their own washer/dryer training so they can begin doing their own laundry. (Fourth grade is a great time to start this.) If it’s the constant activities, can your kid be part of a car pool, or can you and the other parent tag team for who goes to what some of the time? And if it’s feeling like you have to be all things to all people all the time, then stop right there and get off that hamster wheel. Sometimes “No” is the most powerful word you can say in many different situations.
Taking Care of Yourself
What I would like to tell you (and any mom reading this), self-care for your mind, spirit and body should be a nonnegotiable. Sometimes we feel like we’re at the end of our rope because, well, we are. We’ve poured attention and energy into everyone making sure they’re good, but we haven’t taken even a few minutes to check in with ourselves. Pouring into yourself can widen and deepen your capacity to be there for others and bring clarity as to the things that are yours to do versus the things that need to get done but can be done by someone else.
“You don’t have to set yourself on fire to keep everyone else warm.”
Can you get away for an overnight staycation alone? Can you take a Sunday afternoon to do something just for you? If neither of those work, can you protect one hour that is just for you? You might say, “What can I do for an hour that will benefit me?
I’ll end with this: you don’t have to set yourself on fire to keep everyone else warm. An atmosphere that fosters growth for everyone is worth striving for in each of our homes.