Dealing with the Demands of Motherhood
The role of mothers is full of social pressures and expectations. These expectations are often unrealistic and cause us to feel insufficient. Remember that you don't need to be a perfect mother – just a happy one! With that in mind, we want to talk about dealing with the demands of motherhood.
For many women, becoming a mother is one of their biggest dreams. Therefore, on many occasions, they develop unrealistic expectations that can take away from this gratifying experience. This problem is much more common and relevant than you may realize. So, we want to take some time to talk about dealing with the demands of motherhood.
Demands of motherhood: Social pressure
Every day, women occupy more environments and fulfill a greater variety of roles. Being a worker, friend, mother, wife, etc., produces a mental load that’s difficult to sustain. While there are exceptions and things are getting better, women still tend to take on the majority of domestic tasks.
While we’re working, we have to think about a million different things… What to make for dinner… What to get at the grocery store… When the kids’ doctor appointments are, etc. And, of course, we can’t forget to tend to our marriage. That’s because society expects us to do everything and do it perfectly. And, as women, we tend to be very demanding of ourselves as well.
The self-imposed demands of motherhood only add to the pressure we already receive from society. We feel an immense love for our children and desire to give them the best.
That’s a good thing, of course, but it can also cause us to constantly second guess ourselves and feel like we can’t handle it all. And the fact of the matter is, it’s impossible. And that’s because we’re trying to meet completely unrealistic goals.
We’re constantly bombarded with the ideals of the perfect mother everywhere we look. The media, friends, family… Everyone in the world seems to have an opinion about how we should bring up our children and run our homes. And many times, these opinions are contradictory.
So, mothers find themselves trying to be loving and compassionate towards their children while at the same time setting limits. We want to spend time with our kids but must also fulfill our responsibilities at work.
We’re constantly juggling in order to keep up with all the demands and suggestions that come from our environment. And, when we can’t keep up, we feel frustrated and disappointed in ourselves.
Demands of motherhood: The consequences
The biggest problem arises when social pressures get into our heads and convince us that we need to be some sort of wonder woman… A selfless and all-sacrificing mother who dedicates her entire existence to caring for her home and her family. And, of course, she never makes mistakes, is always smiling, always has a clean home, and her kids never misbehave.
We think we have to be the last to sit down down for meals and the first to clear the table. Having a bad day isn’t allowed – we can never forget a thing and we must be the glue that holds everything together. And of course, we must always be available for everyone else, but never for ourselves.
However, when we believe in that ideal, we stop enjoying the journey. Motherhood becomes a burden because we can never meet our impossible standards. Frustration, guilt, and feelings of little self-worth begin to settle in. We go over and over our failures and slowly drown ourselves in anxiety.
We feel guilty about leaving our children under the care of others. If we have to delegate a task or ask for help, we feel like failures. And if we take time for ourselves, we feel guilty. No matter what we do, we feel like we’re not good enough.
You don’t need to be perfect
- Perfection is relative and unreachable. Each person has his or her own vision of what perfection is. Therefore, we can never please everyone – nor should we try to. The only opinion that matters is your own, so go with your gut.
- Don’t try to control every little detail of your life or the lives of your children. It’s just not realistic and will only leave you feeling anxious, frustrated, and unable to enjoy motherhood.
- Stop punishing yourself for your mistakes and start valuing what you get right! It’s okay to make mistakes and learn. Motherhood is a process and it doesn’t come with an instruction manual.
- You have every right to delegate, ask for help, and take time for yourself. What’s more, it’s your obligation to take care of your well-being and not abandon yourself to the demands of others. A happy mom is the best kind of mom.
- Be flexible. Life isn’t always black and white. Between being perfect and being an utter disaster there are a million shades of gray. So, it doesn’t matter if you lost your cool with your kids today or you left dirty dishes in the sink.
- There’s more than one way to be a mom. Each child and each family is unique and has a different dynamic. Your children don’t need a cookie-cutter mom, they just need your presence, love, and respect.