Enjoying Motherhood [How to Love Being a Mom When it’s Hard]
It’s no secret that motherhood can be hard. For some women, it’s a breeze and they love every minute of it. But for others, it can be a real challenge. There are so many things to juggle – work, kids, housework, etc. – and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. If you’re struggling to enjoy motherhood, don’t worry – you’re not alone! In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to love being a mom even when it’s tough.
Why You’re Not Enjoying Motherhood
Motherhood comes with a lot of expectations. You’re supposed to be:
- And Happy
Plus you are supposed to do all of this on top of running a household and probably working full-time.
In the meantime, the baby won’t stop crying, you’re sleep-deprived, and you haven’t had any quiet time in weeks – or years depending on how old your kids are.
This isn’t exactly a recipe for happiness.
It can be tough to live up to all of those expectations, especially when we’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
Not to mention that in the U.S. 1 out of 7 women will experience postpartum depression within a year of delivery.
Taking all of that into consideration, it’s completely understandable why you may not be enjoying motherhood.
At the same time, you don’t want to feel this way.You want to be the happy mom you envisioned you’d be when you were pregnant.
Well, the good news is that enjoying motherhood is possible, even when it feels challenging.
How to Enjoy Motherhood When it’s Hard
***If you feel like you’re struggling to enjoy motherhood, and you don’t know where to turn, you can call the National Parent Hotline at 1-855- 4A PARENT to speak to a trained advocate you can provide support and resources.***
1. Establish Your Priorities a Parent
What’s most important to you?
When you know the answer to that question it’s so much easier to focus your time and attention on tasks that align with your priorities as a parent.
If you want to be a hands-on mom, then put your effort into being fully present with your children when you are with them.
Or maybe your focus is on being a great working mom.
In that case, you may need to let go of some of the household tasks or delegate them to someone else so you have more to spend with your kids when you are home.
It’s important to be clear about what your priorities are so you can make choices that support them.
Action Step: Make a list of your top three priorities as a parent. Circle the one priority that is non-negotiable for you (ie: spending quality time with my kids every evening). This will help keep your focus on what matters most.
2. Accept The Ups and Downs
The first step to enjoying motherhood is accepting that it’s not going to be easy.
It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed and exhausted at times.
While it may seem like your day is just one challenge on top of the other, there are moments of joy, peace, and happiness sprinkled in – you’re just too stressed out to see them.
- A hot cup of coffee (when it happens)
- The sound of your child laughing
- The few minutes of quiet sitting in your car while you wait to pick up your kids from school.
All of these moments are there if you look for them.
As crazy as it sounds, once you accept that motherhood is hard and everything will not go as planned it makes it so much easier to tolerate those challenging moments.
Action Step: Make a point to notice 3 positive moments every day.
3. Go Easy On Yourself
You don’t have to be perfect at this – no one is.
It’s easy to question your decisions and focus on your mistakes, but ultimately that won’t do any good. Instead, extend the same grace to yourself that you would offer to anyone else.
Remember that you are doing the best you can with what you have and that you have good intentions, even if you don’t always get it right.
Action Step: Write down one thing you did well today – no matter how small it is.
4. Build a Support System
It’s important to surround yourself with people who can support and encourage you, especially on the hard days.
While it’s great if this is your husband, friends, or family members, but sometimes that’s just not the case.
If this is your situation, consider joining support groups online or in your community. There are numerous Facebook Groups and other online forums specifically for mothers who are struggling to enjoy motherhood.
Action Step: Join a parenting group that offers support and resources where you can ask questions and feel encouraged.
5. Find What Works For You
Every mom is different, and what works for one may not work for another.
That’s why it’s important to embrace your strengths and spend more time focusing on what you do well.
Maybe your friends are crunchy moms, but that parenting style just doesn’t work for you.
It’s empowering to know that your journey through motherhood is your own, and you don’t have to follow anyone’s rules or live up to the expectations of others. In fact, you’ll be so much happier when you don’t.
Action Step: Identify one thing you’re doing well as a mother and celebrate that.
6. Really Listen to Your Kids
Sometimes enjoying motherhood means enjoying the little things, like the funny or sweet things your children say during the day.
When they come running up and tell you all about their day or ask questions that seem never-ending – listen with interest. Talk about what’s going on in their lives, ask them questions, and just enjoy their company.
Soak it in because these moments won’t last forever. One day soon they will be too busy to talk to you (or worse, they’ll be too busy to want to talk to you).
Action Step: Use a list of fun questions to ask your kids as conversation starters after school or around the dinner table.
7. Find A Hobby
Having a hobby can help you enjoy motherhood by giving you an outlet for your creativity, emotions, or frustrations.
You’ll feel more refreshed and fulfilled when you have something outside of the house that brings joy to your life.
Plus it will give you something to talk about with adults other than babies, potty training, and milestones.
Action Step: Choose a hobby that you’ve always wanted to try or revisit an old hobby.
8. Take Care of Yourself
This one may seem like common sense, but it’s often the first thing to go when motherhood becomes hard.
You need time for yourself – even if it’s just ten minutes each day – to do things that make you happy and relax.
This can be something as simple as reading, taking a bath, or going for a walk.
When you’re feeling more relaxed and at ease, enjoying motherhood will come much easier.
Action Step: Schedule time each day to take care of yourself – even if it’s just a few minutes.
9. Practice Being Present
It’s so easy to get caught up in the constant to-do list that comes along with being a mama.
How often have you been on your phone while your child was trying to tell you about their day or show you something they made?
Or told your child, “just a minute” then continued to move from one task to another for the next hour.
It’s hard to be fully present when you’re constantly multitasking or thinking about the next thing on your list.
When you make a conscious effort to be more present, enjoying motherhood will come easier. You’ll begin to recognize and appreciate all the little moments that make being a mother such a joy.
Action Step: Give your child your full attention when they’re talking to you and practice being in the present moment.
10. Let Go of Control
As a mom, it’s natural to want to control everything.
We want our homes, our children, and our lives to be exactly how we envision them to be.
But the more you try to control, the harder it becomes to enjoy motherhood.
While it’s not easy, try to relax and let go of some of that control.
- Trust that you are teaching your children to make good decisions through the values and example you set in your home.
- Realize that you can’t do all the things all the time, and you’ll wear yourself out if you continue to try.
- Accept the idea that raising a family and running a household is hard work, but you can make it easier on yourself if you try.
Action Step: Take a deep breath and acknowledge that it’s impossible to control everything all the time. Allow space for flexibility and spontaneity.
11. Celebrate the Victories
No matter how small, find joy in the moments when things are going right.
- When you finally get your child to sleep through the night, give yourself a pat on the back.
- When you get through a day without yelling or screaming at your children, enjoy that feeling of accomplishment.
- When you get everyone out the door on time in the morning, pass out a round of high fives.
These little victories may not seem like much at the moment, but they are proof that enjoying motherhood is possible – even when it’s hard.
Action Step: Keep a journal where you write down your successes as a mother whenever they happen.
12. Learn to Laugh at Yourself
Being a mom can be hard work, and enjoying motherhood is not always easy.
You will make mistakes and have bad days – that’s just part of being human.
When you’re having one of those moments, give yourself grace and laugh at the situation instead of getting frustrated or angry with yourself.
Action Step: Next time things are going wrong, try to find the humor in the situation. A little laughter will instantly improve your mood and outlook on the situation.
13. See the Big Picture
When enjoying motherhood is hard, it’s easy to pay attention to the little things that are driving you mad.
I know it can be infuriating when your child won’t eat their vegetables or stop hitting their sibling, but it makes it nearly impossible to enjoy being a mom when you let yourself dwell on these things all day long.
Instead of focusing on the negative and letting those things consume you, step back and try to see the big picture.
Remember that this is just a moment in time – these are things your kids will ultimately grow out of.
In the grand scheme of things, you are a good mother and you love your family, even if it’s not always easy.
Action Step: When you feel stressed, take some time away from your children to recharge and get perspective on the situation.
14. Simplify Your Home
Did you know that a messy, cluttered house is scientifically proven to increase your feelings of stress and anxiety?
If you are constantly irritated and overwhelmed, it’s time to declutter and simplify your environment.
A clean house will help you enjoy motherhood by keeping stress levels low and making you feel more organized and clear-headed.
Action Step: Grab this Quick Declutter Checklist to get started.
15. Appreciate What You Have
When life is hard and you feel like you spend every waking moment running from one task to the next, it’s easy to wish it would all go away.
But imagine if it did…Nothing in this life is guaranteed, and everything can change in an instant.
When things are really challenging and you’re struggling to find the motivation to look on the bright side, take a moment to consider how you would feel if something were to happen to the people you love the most.
As dark and gloomy as this may sound, sometimes it takes the worst-case scenario to make you realize how fortunate you are and how much you are taking for granted.
Action Step: Start your day off with gratitude by writing down three things you’re thankful for before the kids wake up.
16. Have Fun as a Family
The family that plays together, stays together.
Take some time out of your week to have fun as a family and do something that you will all enjoy.
This will help boost your mood and remind you why you wanted to become a mom in the first place.
Action Step: Create a list of fun, family-friendly activities and make it a point to spend time together each week.
17. Make Time for Yourself
There’s nothing wrong with taking some time out of your day to enjoy being alone.
It’s important to make self-care a priority and not let yourself fall apart under the pressure of taking care of everyone else.
You have probably heard it before, but you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Action Step: Prioritize some me time each day, week or month in order to recharge and give yourself some breathing room.
Final Thoughts on Enjoying Motherhood
If there is one thing that I can guarantee, it’s that as a parent you will have good days and bad days.
Parenting is a journey and it’s impossible to understand what you’ve signed up for until you’re in the middle of it.
The days are long, the behaviors are challenging, and your time and energy are always in demand.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy motherhood.
It just means that you have to be flexible, patient and willing to change your perspective when things get tough.
Don’t allow a difficult moment or isolated incident define your motherhood journey.
And no matter how things have gone up to this point, you can have a happy family, even in the midst of a hectic life.
The important thing to remember is that even in the hard times, you can always choose how you respond to your children and to yourself.
Remind yourself that you are doing a good job and you are a great mom.
And above all, remember to laugh, love and live life to the fullest – even on the days when enjoying motherhood is hard.