Being a mom is hard.  I don’t know why we act like it’s so easy and why we don’t talk more about how hard it actually is.  We all have this desire to make it look like we have it together.  We take pride in that.  The more together we look, the better we feel on the outside, but we start to feel worse on the inside.

We are losing our vitality.  In our quest for perfection and pleasing everyone around us, we are burning ourselves out.  We are exhausted all the time.  When this happens, we start to feel like a failure because we can’t handle it all.  And then we start to wonder what our purpose in life is.  It has to be more than just being a mother!

There has to be more to life than rushing around everywhere, doing laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning, helping with homework and baths and putting the kids to bed.  There has to be more than feeling guilty every time you yell at your kids or tell your husband, not tonight dear.

There has to be more than the job we go to, not because we love it, but because it’s a relief to be somewhere other than home.  It’s a relief to be away from the kids fighting, from the thankless chores, to talk to adults, to feel appreciated (sometimes), and to accomplish things.  It feels satisfactory, but it also feels negligent.  The more we work, the less time we have for our kids.  The more we feel rushed, the more we only put a half-assed effort into everything.

We start neglecting ourselves.  We wake up feeling exhausted.  We turn to coffee for our energy.  We eat in the car on the way to work or forget to have breakfast at all.  We cook meals out of a box, because let’s face it, who has time to cook a meal from scratch these days?   We drink wine at night just to take the edge off.  We think about going to the gym.  We start losing our friends because we just don’t have enough time to make that phone call or dinner date.  We are never fully present at any one moment and we are in a constant state of over-drive.  And that makes us angry, edgy and exhausted.

Sooner or later, something has to give – and it’s us. So when we get diagnosed with thyroid disease, IBS or cancer, we wonder how it could have happened.

There has to be more than pretending that we have it all together.  Let’s admit it.  For most of us, we have more challenging times than great times.  We cry more than we laugh.  We feel guilty more than we feel good.  We please others and lose ourselves. I am willing to put myself out there, to say that being a mom is hard.  Yes it has its great moments and I still wouldn’t trade it for anything.  I love my kids and think they are amazing.  I want to give them the world and the best of me.  Let’s stop pretending it’s easy though and be more authentic in our role as mothers.

So how can you do that?

#1:  Take time for you.  Fill your own bucket.  Find the things that make you feel really good and do them.  Maybe it’s reading, being surrounded by nature, having a bath or watching your favourite chick flick.  Find out what fills you up and make it a priority.

#2:  Eat well.  I know, you are secretly groaning.  But you know what you need to feel good. Do you need to drink more water, cut back on the coffee, eat more greens.  Whatever the case may be, start with one thing and then when that becomes a habit, move on to the next thing.

#3:  Exercise.  Sorry ladies, this is non-negotiable.  Doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym, find what you like.  Maybe it’s yoga, running, dancing or zumba.  Just make it enjoyable and then it won’t be so hard to do.  No excuses because we can all fit 20 minutes into our day somehow.

#4:  Delegate.  If you have too much on your plate, let someone help you out.  Have the kids or your husband take on a chore at home or an errand to do.  Pay someone to clean the house or make a healthy meal once in a while.  Start a car pool for your kids sports and take turns.  You get the idea.

#5:  Set personal goals.  That’s right – personal goals, not ones tied to your family.  Maybe you want to attend a yoga retreat or learn how to knit – have something to work towards that lights you up and is just for you.

#6:  When the going gets tough, phone a friend.  Remember, the ones you’ve been neglecting because you don’t have time?  Your friends love you no matter what.  It’s okay to admit you don’t have it all figured out – neither do they!

#7:  Eat chocolate.  It releases serotonin which can help lessen pain and decrease stress.  Life doesn’t have to be as stressful or as rigid as we make it …. lighten up!

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