First and foremost, a huge thank you to Natalie Bennett for asking me to be part of a collaboration with a bunch of other amazing moms across YouTube and instagram for this collab where everyone is sharing the mistakes they have made as a mom, and lord knows I have made a TON!
If you’re new here, I am a recovering perfectionist, and since becoming a mom I constantly felt like I need to be this ideal version of a mom I had in my head when I was a little girl, and I am so far from that, and I’m constantly f-ing things up and not able to do all the things I wish I could do or be as a mom, and I don’t want you to feel alone if you thought you were going to be a certain way as a mom, and you’re not. You don’t know what your kids or your family is going to be like, and it’s impossible to plan how you’ll be as a mom until you’re actually doing it and you’re always going to be learning and growing. So I hope hearing my mistakes and the mess ups today help you.
Alright so the first mistake I made as a mom was trying to do it all myself or as much as I could by myself. I dive into this in my last podcast episode if you want to check it out, but I thought I would make my husband so happy if I was doing it all, taking care of everything, and was this “super mom” air quotes there who was sacrificing myself and my happiness and my sleep and my sanity. And that was completely unsustainable. I still have times where I take on too much, but I’m learning it’s okay if that happens to cancel things and say no because if I’m not getting my basic needs met- if I’m not sleeping as much as I can with a 5 going on 6 month old, if I’m not drinking enough water a day, if I’m not doing some form of exercise, and if I’m not giving myself some alone time and self care time, I will feel miserable every single day and my family will suffer.
Another mistake I made is setting too high of expectations for myself. Anytime I’ve taken a personality test, I always get told that I’m an achiever – and I feel like that goes along with my perfectionism a bit- it stems from childhood in school getting that positive praise over good grades and has carried into every job I’ve ever had- trying to work as hard as I can and go the extra mile. But in motherhood, that’s not actually necessary. You don’t have to have a perfectly clean house, all the laundry done, all the closets and drawers organized, and make a homecooked meal every day of the week, and have it all together all of the time. It’s impossible. You might have some great days and weeks or seasons. And you might have some like this last year where if everyone is home all of the time, your house WILL NEVER FREAKING BE CLEAN FOR 5 MINUTES, like ever…..but your babies are going to love being with you. They are going to love seeing the things you do and learn why it’s important. All your baby wants is to see you feeling good and being happy. So whatever you need to feel good and be happy, focus on that. For example, I have gotten some comments on my YouTube channel saying “you’re spending all that time cleaning instead of with your kids, you’re never going to get that time back who cares if the house is a mess!” Well, if it makes you happy and calmer to have a clean house, I think that is better for you and your children. Whereas If you’re making yourself miserable trying to do all the things and having a perfectly cleaned house all of the time because you’re worried what your mother-in-law is going to say if your house is messy, but you actually do not mind a mess and would rather spend time with your kids- then let your house be messy and do what you want with your time! If you’re stressed and living a life for other people’s approval, that is not good for you or your kids. Forget what anyone else thinks or says- or other people’s opinions of what a good mom “should do” because the only rule to being a good mom is be happy as happy as you can be for your kids.
That being said, it is okay for you to NOT be happy all of the time. That’s unrealistic. And leads into Another mistake I made as a mom which was trying to shield my kids from my difficult emotions. When I was losing my dad, I was really really really sad and depressed and angry seeing my daddy just crumble before my eyes. If you haven’t followed for awhile my dad passed away from MS on Father’s Day two years ago, and it’s just a really sick and awful disease and for the almost year he was on hospice, I was a freaking mess- trying to navigate leaving my full time job that was such a part of my identity, doing YouTube full-time, taking care of Landon and Presley which all moms know no matter what other work you do, your kids are the 24/7 full time job that occupy your thoughts anytime your brain is free even if they’re not there, or at least that’s how it is for me….so I was caretaker for my young kids who were only 1 and 3 at the time….and my husband got into a bad car accident where he had a concussion and needed extra care….and I was my dad’s power of attorney and caretaker and yea- I felt so overwhelmed and felt like I could never take care of anyone in my life properly that year, especially myself and I was so emotional and crying all the time and I felt so guilty that I wasn’t being a good mom for my kids because I was so sad about my dad, and I was so scared for the kids to see that, I would do it mostly when I was alone, I think sometimes if I felt brave enough I’d share on a video or on IG stories, but that is not my natural inclination to share those sort of sad moments because I do not like anyone else to feel pain because of me- so I started going to therapy. And the therapist really helped me realize that my kids needed to see how to grieve someone. How to deal with loss. Because just like birth and how we celebrate their birthday each year and how that teaches them how to value life, they also need to see and learn about death and how to appreciate someone’s life and and how to miss someone and how to move on when we lose someone we love so much. And just hearing that from a professional really helped me shed the guilt I was having around being sad. So, if you are going through something hard, you don’t need to hide your emotions. Now the therapist did make it clear that of course there are adult conversations that you don’t have with a 3 year old, like you’re not going to spill your guts to them, but it is okay for your children to see both happy and sad and positive and negative emotions, because they have to learn that it’s human to have many different emotions and that is a part of life.
Another mistake I made was not asking for help. I joke I don’t care anymore if Adam thinks I’m the neediest human alive. I’m sick of suffering in silence and I don’t want to parent alone, so I have challenged myself to say whatever I need help with. Even if I end up doing, at least it makes him more aware of what’s been going on behind the scenes. Because what you don’t want to do is resent your partner either because you feel like you’re doing all the work. You are a human. You cannot do it all yourself. It takes a village, so ask for help. I wish I’d asked for way more help starting when I was pregnant with Landon, and I could have been a much happier mama.
So those are a few of the biggest mistakes I’ve made as a mom. I make new mistakes every single day- it’s all part of being a mom and being human. And I hope it makes you feel less alone if you’re struggling with anything that I mentioned. It’s okay. You’re trying so hard just to be a good mom, and I promise you, you’re a great mama. There’s a reason God picked you to be their mama, and it’s because no one could be better at raising them than you! Thank you so much for listening to the podcast and I will see you on the next episode!