To all the Amazing Mothers

Motherhood is one of the most under-recognized, yet incredibly important jobs that exists.  We take just one day a year to stop and appreciate our mothers and the mothers in our lives. When the reality is that every single day mothers everywhere go above and beyond doing everything they can to create a warm, nurturing, healthy environment for their children.  They do everything they can to prepare them for the day when they leave home and venture out into the world themselves. This is not a minor achievement.

There isn’t a mother out there that I know that hasn’t given up bits of herself to give to her children, myself included. We don’t think twice about what we are giving up. We are giving from a place of complete unconditional love, not expecting anything in return.

We set aside our dreams, wishes and ambitions. Our careers often suffer because of the choices we make, often choices we often don’t feel are truly choices.  How can we be the moms we want to be and still excel in the career that we want? When someone is needed at home, it is often the mom who steps up and often our careers take a back seat.  How many women don’t apply for, or take promotions because they fear the consequences on the family unit. I realize this isn’t always the case, but it happens…and often. We often anguish over these decisions, but in the end, our children end up being our priority. Instead, we place our greatest hopes for ourselves behind the dreams of our children.  We hope that when our kids are older, we may have time for their own dreams, but in the meantime, we put those goals aside.

Even though we give so much, we are often quite hard on ourselves.  We beat ourselves up when we say something we regret to our children, or when we aren’t the role model that we want to be. We feel guilty when have a few minutes of alone time and we don’t miss our kids. We expect ourselves to be supermom every moment of every day.

We beat ourselves up when we can’t make every single sporting practice, every single music performance or every single school event. If we can’t drop their kids off at school and pick them up every day, we feel like we are letting their children down. We don’t want to be that mom that isn’t able to volunteer at school events, or give the most amazing birthday party. We are terribly hard on ourselves.  In fact, we aren’t as hard on others as we are on ourselves. Even more worthy of mentioning is that our children aren’t this hard on us, nor do they have such lofty expectations of us. Much of the pressure we feel is self-induced.

We moms can also be extremely hard on each other.  Have you ever seen a mother struggling in public and judged her?  Perhaps you thought she wasn’t a very good mother and had poor coping skills. Have you also judged another mother because her parenting methods were not the same as you yours, therefore, she must be failing at motherhood?  I think we all have.  Fear is driving that judgement.  If another mother is doing a fantastic job and we’re not using the same techniques or methods, what is that saying about us? We fear we aren’t doing enough, being good enough.

I know there are many mothers out there reading this that know what I’m talking about. I know I’m not alone in this.

I’m here to tell you to just stop. Stop criticizing yourself, stop feeling like you aren’t doing or being enough for your children, stop feeling pressure to be the perfect mom. Stop feeling like you are somehow failing and that your children are suffering, or aren’t getting the best possible upbringing that you could possibly provide.  Stop judging your sisters.  We all have moments when we feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted. We are all doing the best we can. This is worth repeating; we are all doing the best we can, and this includes you.

Here is some more truth. The world is a far better place for the unconditional love, dedication and devotion that you give to your children. Your love and commitment is what is going to help change this world into a gentler, kinder place. Embrace the beauty that you carry within. Embrace the beauty that you are. You are doing a phenomenally, wonderful job. You are more than enough.

It’s time you stop and give yourself a pat on the back; a big pat on the back. Yes, it is wonderful to show gratitude on Mother’s Day to your own mother or whomever you have in your life, but this is also a day for you.  It is a day for you to recognize and appreciate all that you do. I don’t mean briefly acknowledge yourself, but really take a step back and appreciate the selfless giving and loving that you provide.   Take all the love, compassion, empathy and patience you have for others, and turn it towards yourself. You deserve it.  I think you are amazing, and I thank you for all that you are.