In the first part of this series, I discussed the most typical reasons why some moms loathe motherhood and the effects of this hatred.
You can read the first article here.
Now, this article is about managing these tough moments. When all the responsibilities of motherhood feel too much and when you start to resent your kids, take an advice or two here so that you can handle it with the strength and grace of a woman.
Grateful for Your Kids
This one is going to sound weird for a start, but bear with me.
Be grateful for your kids. There, I said it. If you hate being a mom, then you are probably cursing like crap at me right now. Find the good things about having them and not the ones that people usually talk about. I mean the things we don’t often look at.
Your kids can be a great excuse to pull out of things you don’t want to do.
We all have things going on that we feel obligated to do—unless you are a mom. That dinner party that you are not looking forward to because you don’t like the people that will be there? Don’t go. Your kids are sick (even if they aren’t, no one will question you).
Kids can give you purpose.
So many moms feel like they are just keeping their heads above water. Like they are floating and don’t know what they want for themselves or their family. Well, now that you have kids, it is about time that you damn well thought about it.
I have heard my mum say over and over and over, ‘I would have done this and that if it wasn’t for your kids. I sacrificed so much.’ Now, I understand that sacrifices are necessary when you have children, but not in the way that most people think.
Having kids doesn’t mean that you give up your dreams; it doesn’t mean that you stop working on your goals. It means that you work for them even more—only in a smarter way. Your kids are NOT an EXCUSE for not having a purpose and reaching your goals.
Kids can be the wakeup call that you need.
Believe me when I say this: kids can be the wakeup call that you need. If you were miserable before having kids and you are still miserable now, then stop and think about that for a bit.
What is it that you are lacking or longing to do that you are not doing a damn thing about? What is it that you were putting up with in your life that you don’t want to deal with anymore but keep putting up with it?
If you were unhappy before your kids came and you are still or even unhappier now, it may not be your kids. It is probably something about yourself that you need to change, work on or work towards.
If you love your kids, then go out of your way to being a happy, kick-arse unicorn yourself. If you want your kids to be exceptional, then you have to be exceptional first. Your kids might be the boot in the bum that you need to keep yourself from sitting back and settling for mediocrity.
Being a mom REQUIRES that you put yourself first.
Being selfish is the most selfless thing that you can do.
You may need to hear that again.
Being selfish (putting yourself first and taking care of yourself) is the most selfless thing that you can do. Contrary to what we usually hear, it is ESSENTIAL that you put yourself as number 1 from time to time.
There is a reason why flight attendants will demonstrate that you are required to put an oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting anyone else in an emergency. If you are unconscious, you won’t be helping ANYONE.
The same goes with being a mother. If you wind up so tired, sick, stressed or ill that you cannot function, then you can’t do anything to help others, and this includes looking after and providing for your children.
Think about it: if you run around all day every day people-pleasing and helping everyone but yourself, guess what your kids will do when they become adults.
Conserve Your Decision-Making Quota
Your brain has a decision-making quota. I bet you didn’t know that. Your brain is only capable of making a certain amount of decision every day/week.
Are you wondering why you are so tired by Tuesday morning? As a mom, you have already probably met your quota by this time.
What am I going to wear? What clothes do I need for my baby in this weather? What will I feed the family? When will I go to the shops? What do I need to put in the nappy bag? How will I pay that bill?
BOOM! You have just hit decision fatigue.
So how do I avoid decision fatigue?
There are a number of things that you can do right now to make your life easier and to limit the number of decisions that you have to make.
Especially if you are a working mom or have a lot of responsibilities, take these tips and implement them into your life NOW.
1. 7-Day Wardrobe
Pre-plan and set out YOUR clothes and your CHILD’S clothes for seven days in advance.
Barack Obama famously wore the same suit and tie every day he was in office so that he could ‘focus his decision-making energy’. Moms have some pretty important decisions to make, and the seven-day wardrobe gives us greater brain power by cutting out the smaller ones.
2. Fridge Shopping List
Keep a list on your fridge and write down when you run out of something so that you don’t have to wrack your brain when you are in the supermarket.
3. Meal Plan
How much of worry can it be just thinking about what to feed your family every day? Make a weekly/monthly meal plan so that you already know and do not have to make decisions
4. Cook in Bulk
Prepare bulk meals and put them in the freezer for future use! That’s one less decision for those hectic days.
Parent Role Planning
It involves identifying and planning the roles that each parent will play in the care and development of your child or children. It can be a fun activity and helps draw you closer to your partner as it allows you to identify your own and each other's strengths. It also helps you to nut out the kind of parents that you will like to be together.
Think of this activity as a way of helping you to become a formidable team.
You may be comfortable doing some duties that your partner is not. You may have strengths that cater to specific responsibilities. There may be things that you would like to take on together (like nappy changing (!!!), choosing schools or bonding time).
Many parents go into parenthood without sussing out the other parent about what they want their journey to look like.
Here’s how you can start doing this:
- List the duties that you need to perform.
- Take out three differently coloured highlighters.
- Use a colour to highlight
- those you will perform,
- those the other parent will perform and
- those you will take on together or share.
- Divide a piece of paper into two columns (one for yourself and one for the other parent).
- List the strengths of each parent (contribute to both your own and theirs).
- Discuss where they will come in handy when raising a child.
Parenting Journey Map
- Discuss the type of parents you would like to be.
- Discuss the ground rules or foundations for approaching sticky situations (e.g. when one partner is tired, the other one will step up; have a 10-minute time out when you are feeling stressed and angry towards the other parent).
- Discuss your expectations of yourself and each other.
- Draw or write a script/story about how parenting will look together.
- Remember that at times you will need to be flexible (not everything always goes to plan, but it is better to be prepared than not to be prepared at all).
Family Life Mapping (5-Year Plan)
Take it from me: this one can be life-changing. But you have to be prepared to put the time and energy into this activity and revisit it when needed. This activity allows you to nut out your goals, values, social circle and so on.
It can be a ‘go-to’ activity when things get tough or when you have to make a decision. You refer back to it to make sure you are on track and aligned with your goals and values. There are three parts to this activity:
5-Year Goal Planning
Creating a five-year plan helps you stay focused and on track. It removes stress as you can start to say no to any decisions that do not align with helping you reach your families five-year goals.
It also allows you and your partner to discuss what you want in life (how many of us take time to do that?). Putting it on paper brings power to your goals. They are no longer ideas floating around in your head, but achievable targets.
- Draw the template below.
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5|
- Work with your partner to enter your family’s
- personal goals (holidays, self-care, education),
- business/career goals and
- financial goals.
- You can start creating an action plan around this.
Our Social Circle
This one could potentially be the most powerful thing that you do in your life. I heard my business partner speaking about doing this and thought, ‘Absolute bloody genius’. This activity has changed my world.
It acts as a foundation for me to follow to ensure that I only put time and energy into people that serve me rather than wasting it on people who do not (and let’s be honest: how many of us are in the habit of giving time and energy to people that we know we shouldn’t?).
- Get two pieces of big paper.
- On one, write ‘Qualities of People We Want in Our Lives’; on the other, write ‘Qualities of People We Don’t Want in Our Lives’.
- Brainstorm for both.
It may seem funny and uncomfortable at the start because you may start identifying that some friends, family and business partners are on the unpreferred side. But you can use this as a guideline in everything that you do. It will cut out toxicity and make your life much more comfortable.
My business coach brought this one to my attention. Her family had a set of non-negotiable values that they lived by and worked towards every single day.
I love this activity!
- Identify five family values that you want to live by, are important to you and you want to instil in your children (e.g. happiness, intuition, powerful individuals).
- Make a statement about each.
- Make it pretty. Laminate it and put it on your fridge.
- Discuss it often with your children.
- You can use this to help them make decisions when they are in places of conflict or turmoil in the future.
As an extra activity, you can brainstorm and implement family activities and expectations around how you will continue to develop and live by your family values.
Although making a budget seems like a no-brainer, how many of us do it?
Making a budget is a smart play. It allows you to see how much money you have and where it needs to go. Not having a budget is like trying to land a plane in mountainous terrain with a bloody blindfold on.
I found it useful to get the help of a financial planner, so I was able to move my money around and work with it for the best in the future. They were able to find areas where I could reduce the need to spend.
When making a budget consider the following:
- What is your income?
- What are your expenses?
- How much money do you have left after subtracting b from a?
- Where could you save money or reduce your spending?
- Ask your bank to reduce mortgage interest (you don't know until you ask).
- Can you change or alter your insurance policies?
- Am I able to put more money on paying off liabilities such as loans and credit cards to save money in the future?
- Have I included some things that are not necessary for my needs/expenses?
There are two fantastic books that we recommend to help you in the process of creating a budget and planning for your financial future:
Grow Within Yourself
If you are feeling down about not enjoying being a mother or generally not enjoying life, this suggestion may sound like the worst thing anyone could have said. On the other hand, it may be the best suggestion anyone has ever given you.
We here at The Parenting Co are permitting you to enjoy, to develop your mindset and to become a kick-arse mother.
Sometimes we don’t enjoy motherhood or life in general because we don’t know who we are or what we want. The ONLY way you can work this out is to give yourself time to and put energy into making it happen.
Is it confidence that you need? Employ someone to help you with that!
Is time management an issue? Why not get help with that or at least create a weekly schedule?
Maybe you are feeling lost. Take time to figure out your plan A and go after it. Dreams are necessary in order to create realities.
Have you been following someone on Facebook for so long and you are dying to do their course? Now is the time!
Start a Business or Go Back to Work
Some moms feel like they lose their identity after having a baby. Some moms feel like they have just become ‘mom’ and they want some of their old life back, or they want to start a new direction after baby.
It is OKAY!
You might be a mom, but you are still Jenny, Pricilla, Vicki, Danisha, or whatever your name is.
It might be the time to start that business that you always wanted to start, to put that multimillion-dollar idea into action, to write that book, volunteer at that organisation, create that invention or go back to work.
If you want to or feel like you need to, we have your back.
I can remember my sister being so excited about going back to work after both of her little boys were born. She took time to enjoy the time she had at home with them but was also excited about having another focus in her world.
Take Time For You
One thing that moms need to start being dedicated to is this, whether you like being a mom or not. Get so unwaveringly disciplined when it comes to putting some time aside for yourself. I am sure it has saved lives.
Let’s talk mom-to-mom right now. Sometimes you don’t want to be around your kids, and sometimes you need some time out from them. It is nothing to be ashamed of AT ALL.
Sometimes you also need to get some things done for yourself. I know how pleasant a kid-free trip to the supermarket can be, even if it is only to get bread and milk. I went for over a year as a single mom without a day away from my children. I did get an hour in here and there and by hell did I need that!
I remember when my girlfriend Tash used to come around for a wine and a sleepover. Tash and I have been mates since high school, and I moved to her town when I separated from the girl’s dad. I appreciated her so much.
I remember one day being so over being a mom that when she called for her usual check in before rocking up and asking “is there anything you need? Can I grab you some essentials?”
I jumped in then and shouted, ‘No! But you can stay at home with my kids while I go and grab the essentials.’ She was happy to take some time with my girls and had a much-needed glass of red waiting for me when I returned home. I don’t drink red, but I did with Tash.
Utilise Childcare and After-School Care
If you need to do this, go and do it and don’t give two thoughts to what everyone else thinks.
Childcare can be an excellent opportunity for children to socialise.
Afterschool Care can also help students to socialise with kids of similar ages, outside of the pressures and expectations of school. They have an opportunity to be a kid.
Even as a stay-at-home mum, I sent my children to childcare for at least one day a week. I felt it was vital for them to have time away from me just as it is for me to have some time to myself. I used this day to get things done that I needed to. My biggest regret is that I didn’t use it to sleep enough.
I know deep down I felt stupidly guilty for putting my children into childcare; after all, I had started my own business so I could be with them more. But it was hard, and it was only me. I still had moments when I pulled my hair out. Their dad was in a different state and wouldn’t come and see them.
Take Your Child Outside
Go and get some sunlight for yourself and your child. It has the following benefits:
- It gives you Vitamin D which increases your mood and helps your body to absorb essential vitamins and minerals.
- It helps you to absorb iron. A lack of iron will make you feel tired. Not only that, you may need to get outside for a bit.
Take your shoes off and put your kids in the sand or on the grass. My kids’ mood lifts and are easier to settle after being outside. A good run around and some fresh air will do them a world of good.
If you have been cooped up outside, hiding away from the world, it is time to step out and be outdoors. My kids love being outdoors. They love being able to run and roam and explore. They seem to be happier to do things on their own when they are outside.
There is a real positive point to having their shoes off. It balances them through a thing called grounding. Having bare toes in the water, sand, grass, connected to the earth allows your body to pick up electrons. It is a proven process that helps with sleep, pain management, stress and immunity amongst other things.
Listen to Your Kids Laugh and Cuddle Them
It may be possible that your life has gotten so hectic that it feels like your kids are getting in the way. Don’t feel guilty: there are plenty of moms out there who have experienced this.
You might like to try shutting out the world for an hour or two to be with your baby. To turn off the phone, forget about whatever is going on and listen to your baby laugh. Feel them and look into their eyes as you cuddle them on the couch.
Oxytocin, also known as the 'çuddle hormone’, is released when you are feeling relaxed and cuddle your children. It helps you feel happier and more at ease. It also has health benefits for you and your child. The release of oxytocin enables you to bond with your baby.
My first baby was delivered by cesarean without my body going into labour. It meant that my body did not produce oxytocin like it would have if Ayla was a natural delivery. I didn’t get that instant feeling of love and overwhelming motherly instinct.
Because of this, over the first month of her life, I spent LOTS of time looking into her eyes and holding her. I used a carrier to keep her close and had plenty of skin on skin time.
And then it happened—that moment where I had that undeniable flood of love and protection come over me. It was about a month in; she would have been about 41 weeks if she was still in my tummy. And that was it. My little angel Ayla has had my heart, soul and probably a bit too much attention ever since.
Find the Good Things About Being a Mother
You may have been loathing motherhood for so long that you struggle to find ANYTHING good about it at all. You may feel like you are failing and your thoughts towards yourself, your children and your relationship with them seem to all be negative.
We often think at a subconscious level. We don’t stop and take notice of the thoughts we allow to surface.
If you are feeling negative or have been feeling negative for a long time, that is what you will look for. You may not be able to see the positive because YOU HAVE NOT STOPPED TO LOOK FOR ANY.
Define Your Purpose of Parenting
Defining your purpose for parenting can bring some simplicity back to being a mom. Doing this activity will help you focus on what truly matters when you get overwhelmed by the stressors of day to day life.
It helps you focus on the long term outcomes (the long game) while sorting through and managing the short term messes that arise.
As an example, if your purpose of parenting is to provide a foundation for your children to be independent and powerful, you will act accordingly to help instil this when challenges arise.
Your purpose for parenting prevents some of the knee jerk reactions that we sometimes have and minimises mom regret. It helps us parent with intention rather than just trying to get by. We can guide them through experiences to help them become the adult we desire for them.
To do this, you must figure out:
- your values, and
- your goals for your children.
Do Some Dreamscaping
Manifesting and dreamscaping can be fun and also help your family connect through common purpose. We sometimes feel disconnected from our partners and children. We feel like we are only just making it through each day.
Just holding our head above the murky sea as we tread through our day to day, getting more and more tired. Unable to see the shore. Create a dream bird with your partner/family. You can also create individual boards. Put them somewhere that you can see them and talk about them weekly.
Speak as if you are already living that life and achieving those goals. What would it feel like? What kind of conversations would you have? It will help build the desire and mindset to start putting your dreams into action.
The Bigger Picture
Use the template below to help you think about The Bigger Picture. The things that you truly want in life and the goals that you are yet to achieve and would like to start working towards. Then go out and create yourself a Dream Board!
It will also help you to assess and become more self-aware of how much time you are spending to think about and act upon creating a future that you are happy with. Sometimes motherhood can feel like a dead end. It will help you look forward and doing the things that you need to do to make you feel happier and less trapped.
Make the Break; Go After Your Dreams
Just because you are now a mother doesn’t mean that you don’t get to live the life of your dreams. Your kids can be the kickstart that you need to do so.
If you sit back and live a life that is average and if you settle for substandard treatment and mediocre, your kids will do the same.
If you don’t make the break and go out after your dreams, essentially you are not providing a framework for your children to do the same. And guess what Momma, YOU DESERVE TO REACH THOSE DREAMS.
Bring up Oprah Winfrey and share the story of Michael Jordan all that you want. If you want your kids to be happy, to act out of passion and inspiration rather than desperation and need; then you have to show them how by doing it yourself.
Have To’s Versus Want To’s
Sometimes we start to regret motherhood and not enjoy our life as much because we put so much more energy into performing the things we feel we ‘have to do’, rather than spending time doing things that we ‘want to do.’
The reality of this is that we turn on our automation switch and often do these things without thinking.
Truth be told that a lot of your ‘have to do’s’, we don’t ‘have to do at all’. The problem is that we haven’t taken time out to assess and evaluate what we are doing, we are just going about like robots.
We can also delegate or outsource a number of our jobs.
E.g. Instead of dragging your kids in for a weekly shopping, why don’t you start using online shopping and have it delivered or collect it from the store already bagged up for you.
If you have teenagers, delegate some chores to them (they are capable of doing their laundry). Are you able to get a cleaner in once a week? Can you hire a local college student to do the ironing?
This activity is designed to:
- help you become more self-aware of the tasks you are undertaking,
- free up time by removing some of your tasks,
- help you to delegate or outsource where possible and
- get you putting more time into doing things that you want to do.
It can be confronting, eye-opening and a relieving, all at the same time. So be prepared.
1. Create two columns on a piece of paper labelled:
|Things I Have To Do||Things I Want to Do|
2. Think about your daily, weekly tasks and write them in the column that fits (the key to this is honesty; if you don’t WANT to be on that committee, don’t put it there).
NOW COMES THE FUN PART
3. Using two differently coloured highlighters, look at the things you want to do and highlight;
- Things that you don’t have to do (then stop doing them)
- Things that you can delegate or outsource.
As you start working smarter and not harder, you will begin to free up some time to do more of the things that you want to do, and you may start adding a few more activities for you!
Schedule Date Nights
When we become parents, we may find it difficult to find time to be with our partner. It can lead to us feeling disconnected from each other. My partner told me that I had changed when I had babies, and I had. But it didn’t mean that we didn’t care about each other.
It is vital that you plan some time to be with your partner, to dream, to connect, to communicate, to show each other that you appreciate one another and of course to share some romance if you are up for it.
Why not drop the kids off at your mother’s or hire a baby sitter once a fortnight so that you can keep that spark alive? You may need to get creative. If you are into fitness, find a gym with a Crèche.
Do a joint venture with another couple. Take turns to look after each other’s kids so that you can have some alone time.
Ben and I like to head to cafes where they offer kids activities so that we can sit and eat without having to worry too much about entertaining the children or keeping them from stealing food from the table next to us.
Seriously, Moms that Hate being a mom struggle to find the joy in their day.
Some of you reading this right now are possibly thinking there is something wrong with you because the previous suggestions sound downright awful and thinking about trying them makes you feel anxious.
Amongst other things, this could be because you are tired, are struggling within yourself or you may have Postpartum Depression. These are nothing to be ashamed of. But please seek some help.
Go and see a Doctor or a therapist to talk about what is going on (or what isn’t going on). There is SERIOUSLY NO point continuing to feel this way and not trying to do anything about it. And struggling in silence sucks. Talking to people that don’t get it, can’t relate or have no strategies to help you out can suck even more.
Postpartum Depression can feel like the walls are crumbling around you and there is no stopping them. It does not mean you are weak or crazy. With help, you will be well and feel better again.
If you are looking for ways that you can seek help and deal with Postpartum Depression, be sure to check out our article here.
Cut Out Toxic Family and Friends
Get rid of Energy and happiness leeches.
Seriously, squash them, set boundaries, cut them out. Do what you need to do.
Being a mom is exhausting at the best of times. You can only focus your energy in so many directions; you can’t direct it on you, your kids, your happiness and your life goals if you are allowing other people to suck you dry. It steals your life force, and nothing is enjoyable because you are in a constant state of stress, overtiredness, worry, and negativity.
Being concerned with what other people think about you, being in a constant state of walking on eggshells isn’t healthy for your mental and emotional state of being.
It may be that you need to find some like minded momma friends to connect with. Why not try ‘Peanut’? It is a fantastic app (like Tinder for moms).
Hire a Hand
In the words of Nike, JUST DO IT.
It may be that you need more time. Hire a cleaner, someone to do the laundry, a baby sitter or someone to cook for you for a couple of days a week.
MOST OF US WORRY about the $25 it will cost to have someone come in and help us out. But if that is $25 spent to relieve stress, relax or spend quality time with our kids or partner, it is WELL WORTH IT.
A LITTLE HINT FROM EXPERIENCE: If you hire a cleaner, don’t clean for the cleaner. That is their job, and I promise you that they have seen worse.
Overall, for me, it is more than hating having to be in a parenting relationship with my children’s father. Not that you can call it a parenting relationship (I hated writing that, but it is the truth).
It is more just forever trying to get him to contact the girls and be even slightly involved in their life. Dealing with the constant abuse and trying to beg him to settle the order concerning the children, finance and property. I don’t regret having my kids, but I regret being a parent with this person.