*Thank you Minute Maid for sponsoring this post. Regardless all thoughts and opinions are my own and I only recommend products I truly love.
I worked at a church nursery in college for several years. There was one particularly cute 2-year-old, and every time his mom came to pick him up he said “I missed you mommy I love you!” and I remember thinking what his mom felt when he said that must be the best feeling in the world. Fast forward a few years and here I am, a mom with a 2-year-old. And when I come home from running errands or pick her up from places she says “I missed you mommy I love you!”- and I must say, it is the best feeling in the world. But motherhood is still hard.
The first few months of motherhood hormones are out of control and your feelings are all over the place. Happy, sad, excited, anxious… it’s a rollercoaster thanks to all the hormones still in your body. You see pictures of moms on social media with new babies who are smiling, acting like they are on top of the world, and wonder what is wrong with you that you don’t feel the same way. You choke up a smile when guests are over to see your new baby telling them how wonderful motherhood is but the second they leave you burst into tears.
Your baby grows and perhaps you start getting out of the house more and feel more ‘you’. But although you find that you are never actually alone, you experience a level of loneliness that you didn’t even know existed. Your friends go to work, go out to eat afterwards, maybe even go out drinking on the weekends. As a stay at home mom with my first child this is where I really struggled. My friends and husband were at work, I didn’t know many moms who were at home, and I craved adult interaction and didn’t know how to find it.
But life goes on. Your baby keeps growing. You make friends and it’s amazing, you have mom play dates regularly and you are thrilled to have a social life. But you find a new set of complications. With groups of girls there is always drama and you may find yourself facing a comparison trap. ‘What does your husband do?’ seems to always be the first question that is asked. What educational activities do you do at home? Your kid watches TV? They’re going to get ADHD for sure. How is your house not perfectly decorated and clean like everyone else’s? Your baby isn’t walking at 8 months? They must be behind. Work in addition to being a mom? There’s no way you spend enough time with a kid then. Stay at home? Boy your kid must be lacking in socialization and all the educational opportunities facilities outside the home offer. Breastfeeding? Ew, that’s gross, and there’s no way your kid is getting enough to eat. Not breastfeeding? Haven’t you heard breast is best?!? You must not care about your kid. Give your kids fruit snacks that aren’t organic? Your kid will definitely have developmental disorders. But only give them natural options? You’re too uptight – our parents fed us cheesy crackers and gummy bears and we all turned out all right. In other words, no matter what you’re doing, you feel like you’re failing as a mom.
All these uncertainties start creeping in. You get those incredible moments where your child wraps their arms around your neck and says ‘I love you mommy, you’re my best friend ever,’ but you also find yourself in the midst of internal struggles the likes of which only other moms who have been in the trenches understand. The work is never done. I had a friend text me the other day feeling like she was a terrible mom because she didn’t feel like she did enough activities during the day and her house wasn’t clean. She felt like maybe I couldn’t relate to that because on my Instagram feed I showed a clean house and taking my child to the park. I laughed… so hard. You see, my house is actually a disaster. Meanwhile my kids were chilling on the couch with Mickey Mouse and snacks… the picture at the park was one I took over the weekend when my husband was with me. I try, really hard, to keep a clean house, to take my kids on fun activities, to limit TV time, to feed them only ‘all natural options’ – but every single day I find myself falling short. And these are the days that I whisper to myself repeatedly ‘you’re doing the best you can.’ Because I am.
I might have just done one load of laundry. Picked up dinner for the family instead of cooking. Snuggled on the couch for a movie and colored inside instead of going to explore the botanical garden, only read one book to my children, or spot cleaned them in lieu of bath time. But there is only one me. And I only have so much time. And as little or as much as I can do every single day I’m doing the best that I can. And my kids aren’t going to remember what I cooked for dinner on September 10th, 2016, or whether I made them handmade play dough. What they are going to remember are the memories we made together, and the laughter we shared in our home.
So moms, I just want to tell all of you that you’re #doingood. No, you’re doing great. You really are. If you feel like you’re failing, if you are struggling… you aren’t alone. Motherhood is never boring, but often lonely. Know that other moms are out here going through the same things as you and finding a community can be a game changer. And it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. It truly takes a village to raise a child and that means helping mothers with their daily needs. Acknowledging one another and the struggles we go through. Lifting one another up and celebrating our accomplishments, not focusing on the inevitable shortcomings.
These are some of the topics we touched upon at a roundtable event hosted by Minute Maid at Coca-Cola Headquarters in Atlanta last week featuring several bloggers and a few special guests – five-time Olympic medalist Missy Franklin and her parents. They are some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met and are working with Minute Maid to celebrate great parents everywhere.
We talked about the different struggles moms with children of all ages face. Missy Franklin’s own parents related to the struggles we have as parents. Their daughter is an Olympic gold medalist – and they had these same struggles that we all do. So those days where you think you’re falling short remember that despite that there is still a chance your child may grow up to have a gold medal around their neck. I mean, watch this video of the message Missy Franklin wrote for her own parents, she’s clearly a remarkable child.
Minute Maid wants all parents to know that if you put good in, you get good out. Through the #doingood campaign, Minute Maid is reminding parents of all the wonderful things – big and small – they do to make a positive difference in their children’s lives on a regular basis.
There’s no one ‘how to parent’ manual. People may think they have all the answers, but they don’t. Give yourself grace and forgiveness, and acknowledge the hard work that you have done. And instead of judging other moms, let’s lift each other up. It may mean going up to the stranger at the supermarket with a screaming toddler, or texting one of your best friends, and just saying “hey, you’re an awesome mom, and you’re #doingood.”
I’d love to hear from some of you! How can we as parents support each other and relay to other moms and dads that they are #doingood?
It only takes a moment to tell someone you know they are #doingood! Celebrate a parent in your life by reminding them they are #doingood on social media with @MinuteMaid on Twitter, Facebook and @MinuteMaid_US on Instagram.