I recently attended an event hosted by the “Super Mama’s” podcast, and it was brilliant. It was a lovely night out with a “mom guilt no more” theme. It was a great event filled with so many inspirational women, and during the open mic portion there was a reoccurring theme, working mom & stay at home moms. Both sharing guilt, both longing for more, which leads me to believe that women are conditioned to feel inadequate. The mom that stays home to care for her family feels like she needs to bring in an additional income or longs for a career, while the mom that works feels like she needs to spend more time with her children and less time at work.
I fall somewhere in the middle. I’m a working mom that takes my kids to work, and I feel a similar inadequacy. At work, I struggle to accomplish my tasks while entertaining a baby. Then, at home, I think about the stuff I didn’t get done at work while I care for my family. However, I have made peace with the idea that it’s all in a day’s work, and I do what I can. I count my blessings and feel very fortunate that I own my own practice which allows me the choice to take my children to work. A nanny, a sitter, or day care would be the most convenient choice, but I don’t want to miss the important stuff. They grow up so fast and the baby/toddler stage can feel like forever, but it’s not. My daughter is in kindergarten already, and she is gone for 8 hours of my day, but I can truly say I enjoyed her littleness. It’s not to say that the baby won’t start preschool ½ days one day because Elle sure did, and I so enjoyed those hours without her, but a majority of the baby and toddler days will be spent with me, in my dental office, shop, or running around town doing errands.
Back to the notion of being wired to feel inadequate, women are made to multi-task. We can do several important tasks at once, but along the way, we learned somewhere, or someone told us (I can bet money it’s Instagram), that we need to run a business and a home to be winning at this mom stuff. I firmly believe that if it’s what you really want, it’s entirely possible, you can be a mom and have a career (it’s not going to be easy but it’s possible). On the other hand, I also believe that if you are a stay at home mom and nothing more, you have embarked on the hardest journey known to mankind, and kudos to you. We have evolved as mothers, and so has the notion of longing for something for ourselves outside of our children. Sometimes I think that longing makes us feel selfish, but actuality it’s quite the opposite. We need identities outside of our children and being a mom. Mom is a lifetime job, but if we do it correctly, our kids will no longer need our basic mom services one day. If we don’t have something else to focus on it can leave us feeling empty and useless. Therefore, prioritizing yourself, your needs, and your dreams is so very important. Your kids will want to see you happy and fulfilled when they are adults and worrying about their own children.
Another important point, and one of the main issues, on why we feel inadequate is the mom projection on social media. We forget that life in squares is sometimes not an accurate reflection of someone’s life. We are in control of what we post, and in most cases, we post the highlights and the good days. We seldom see images of frazzled moms and dirty kids. Don’t compare yourself and your mom journey to what you see on Instagram, it’s just not real, nor is it fair, to you. It’s an overindulgent filtered version of what it’s like to be a mom. I put myself in that box, even though I try to be as honest as I can on my feed. I know I have some major advantages, most I have worked very hard for, and others I have been blessed with, through the double-edged sword that is social media. I could write an entire blog post dedicated to this theme (I just might), but in a nutshell, enjoy your Instagram feed with a grain of salt. Know those mothers are struggling everyday just like you and know there was some major bribing for that perfect picture.
I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t have it all figured out, but I did learn over the weekend that no matter which mom-route we have chosen, we all feel inadequate, and sometimes it’s just not the case. We all do the best we can with what we can, and that alone is everything. I truly hope that this opens the doors and minds to a little more self -love and acceptance for whatever mom situation you currently find yourself in. We are evolving as mothers, but we need our feelings to catch up to the evolution and just one more thing… You’re doing great mama!