In my business, our motto is “Making Motherhood Easier.” As a registered nurse, I have supported some very exhausted, very anxious mamas through pregnancy, breastfeeding, infant sleep issues, and potty training. A piece of advice I give many mamas to make motherhood easier is to be a “mother” not a “martyr.”
Martyrs sacrifice themselves for a cause. You do not have to sacrifice yourself for the cause of motherhood. This is a big revelation for a lot of mamas. This is something we’re doing to ourselves, and I’m giving you permission to change it. We’re worth more than being a martyr. Our mental health is important!
Here’s what I mean: The mom who hasn’t showered in three days. Why, in a 72-hour period, can a mom not find time for a 20 minute shower? Of course she can! Every single minute of every day doesn’t need to be scheduled and structured around the kids. Schedule in those minutes for yourself, too. Say it with me: Self care is health care! You need minutes for brushing your teeth, showering, putting on deodorant, getting dressed, movement/activity/exercise, quiet/alone time, sleeping, and eating.
Eating is a whole other thing! I am begging you to stop eating your kid’s leftover chicken nuggets and macaroni standing at the counter and calling it a meal. Make a meal and sit down with your family and eat it. You’ll be more productive with a real meal in your belly.
And only make ONE meal. Kids don’t need separate meals. They are capable of eating real food. However, I’m not denying that making a sheet pan of nuggets and fries for the whole family is a totally fine meal once in a while. Sitting down to eat it is the key.
Ask and Allow for Help
Who is your support person? Significant other, in laws, neighbor, best friend, your person — expect and ALLOW him or her to support you! Your support person can do things just as well as you (yes, even if it is different) and maybe even better than you.
Express your expectations, accept offers of help, and be specific about your needs. Be appreciative of the efforts and don’t complain. Getting this load off your shoulders is where you get those minutes for self care that we talked about.
You’ve also created your own army of helpers: Your children. Delegate, delegate, delegate! They’re not only good for making messes, but they can clean them up, too! Teach them the right way to do chores and expect them to get done. If it’s not up to snuff, don’t redo it yourself. Send them back to do it correctly as many times as it takes. It will build endurance and responsibility.
If a toddler can work a tablet or smart phone, he or she can clean up that pile of toys with some direction. If a kid can outsmart you and change the Wi-Fi password, he or she can work a dishwasher. If a teen can drive a car, he or she can work the washing machine and do laundry (and put it away)!
Said children also do not have to participate in every single sport and activity ever invented! If it is stressing you and your child out, then let it go! If you spend more time in the car than anywhere else or you have your own storage closet at dance class, maybe it’s time to take a break from being a martyr.
What other things can be done differently in your life to stop the martyrdom and make motherhood enjoyable again?
Give us some ideas that work for you in the comments.