As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s easy to feel challenged and maybe even a little cynical, especially if you’re feeling underappreciated or unsuccessful in parenting, or both. This is hard work, and there are really no promotions! I loved the pie graph of what moms really want for Mother’s Day at Babble.com and “What Moms Really Mean When they Say They Don’t Want Anything for Mother’s Day” from Scary Mommy. (Hint: they both talk a lot about sleep and not a lot about bling).
Last year at this time, I ran a piece featuring local moms and their thoughts about the day. Recently, after reading something Joanna Eddy of the Holistic Mothering lactation consultant practice had to say about mommy self-judgment, I asked if she would elaborate in this year’s Mother’s Day guest post. Here are Joanna’s inspiring words:
“It is too easy to feel inadequate as a parent. It can happen quickly through an article shared, a pediatrician appointment, even at a well-intended playdate. Sometimes, I just can’t measure up to my own unrealistic standards. I see other moms doing things that I wish that I could incorporate into my parenting, my meal planning, my marriage, my friendships, my wardrobe and I find myself feeling less than.
And when I sit down with my computer, quietly typing next to sleeping babies, I realize how wrong I am; how hard I make things for myself when I am comparing. I have to remind myself that not every child is the same, not every marriage, home routine, beauty routine, financial situation is the same. But this is an ever-evolving process for me.
Am I a good mother? Absolutely. Are there areas that I could improve on? Definitely. Am I too hard on myself, Yep. And why?
I have great friends, awesome kids and a super supportive partner. I have a job that I love, a warm bed and a faith in something bigger than me. I should be my number one cheerleader. Instead, I find myself beating up on the things that I haven’t accomplished rather than all of the good happening around me.
Raising kids isn’t easy, and sometimes the task feels too big. On top of just making sure that everyone is content at the end of the day, I put on endless pressure to make sure that I am handling each tantrum appropriately (if you know the answer on how to do this, please message me ASAP), give each kid the attention they deserve, not brushing off too many requests to “play with me, mom,” to put healthy food on the table and in our fridge, to be healthy for my family, to treasure my marriage and find time for us while also dealing with separation anxiety from my youngest. And some moms seem to have mastered many of these things…things still on my to-do list. And instead of being happy for them AND happy for me, I’m hard on myself.
For Mother’s Day this year, I am giving myself the gift of grace. I am going to be kinder to ME. I am going to unfollow the articles that aren’t helpful on my facebook feed, I’m going to spend more time with the friends that leave me feeling better than when I arrived, I’m going to give myself a pat on the back for the small victories each day, but most importantly, I am going to remind my mom friends that they are enough.
Because there is something special about hearing the words of reassurance from someone else in this exact spot. To be seen by our peers and recognized for our efforts…that’s huge! It restores me. It is what has pulled me up from some of my darkest mom moments. The kind words stick with me. The grace that my friends have allowed me, I am now allowing myself and I am passing along to you, mom warriors.
So this Mother’s Day, consider sending a note to mom friend to tell her what a great job she’s doing and that YOU ARE NOTICING! Mention something specific that she does that inspires you. We all deserve to hear it this Mother’s Day and it’s the message that needs to ring louder than any other message.
Mom friends, I’m noticing YOU, I’m proud of YOU, I’m inspired by YOU. Happy Mother’s Day!”
Joanna Eddy of the Holistic Mothering group is a postpartum doula who has served the DC area for the past six years. She is a member of Lactation Consultant Association of Greater Washington (LCAGW) and a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA). She has a graduate degree in Women and Gender Studies and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two daughters.