Parenting is the best thing I’ve ever done, but also the most difficult. In my lowest moments, I feel like a piece of my soul has been chipped away, never to return. I know that sounds dramatic, but it happens to all of us! It’s hard work.
After adopting two children in two years, I learned a thing or two about the highs and LOWS of parenting. It’s a roller coaster for the emotions and there have been so many days where I needed a massive pep talk by the end of the day. So I thought I would leave one here for anyone who might need it. 🙂
You are doing great!
If you don’t read the rest of this, it’s OK as long as you hear this: You are amazing.
It’s so easy to focus on what you didn’t do perfectly today, but there is no such thing as a perfect mom. If you’re doing your best, you are doing GREAT. Remember, no one knows how to parent your children like you do. You were made for this!
Take care of yourself.
I understand how hard it is to take the time to go get a massage or schedule lunch with a friend or even just leave the house for an hour alone. This is really hard for me when I’m overwhelmed, but it’s part of my job to stay healthy. Do whatever you need to do to “put your own mask on first.” That can mean a lot of different things, so just remember that your health really matters. Take any chance you can to recharge your batteries.
Do you need an internet break?
If you are going through a tough time and all of a sudden everyone on the internet is REALLY annoying, maybe take a little break. You won’t miss that much. It will be there when you get back. Getting offline can be a great form of self-care.
Have you tried therapy?
The best thing I did for myself as a new parent was start regular therapy sessions. In past decades, there was more stigma around therapy; now most people I know go regularly. I’m so glad therapy has become more “popular” because in my experience it’s helped me work through things faster and stronger. I can’t recommend it enough. Even on weeks when I don’t feel like I have anything “big” to talk about, I’m always happy I took the time to go.
Let go of guilt.
One of the biggest things I had to get over as a new mom was my guilt for not being everything I was before kids anymore. There are days (and months) where I am just not the friend or the granddaughter or the business owner that I want to be. There are times when I’m not able to be a 10 out of 10. I had to let it go. Part of being able to balance and juggle my new life is giving myself permission to cancel something or to not volunteer for everything, or to realize that there will be so many years in my future where I have more to offer—but that time is not now. In the years I have little kids in my home, they take up a lot of space in my heart and mind, leaving less room for other things, even important ones. I had to accept this. I hope you can too.
Tune out shame—especially from yourself.
If you’re still reading, I am sending you the biggest hug. I know it’s imaginary, but I still hope you can feel it! Being a parent is not easy, it’s a marathon and it’s OK to do it imperfectly. I hope you feel seen and supported today. I hope you find a way to take care of yourself or give yourself a break—you deserve it!
You can also read My Biggest Mistake As a New Mom!
Thank you! ? As a full time mom / full time WFH employee / part time grad student who feels like they’re failing a little at all of it, it’s sure nice to hear this.
Thank you for this!
I think the hardest part for me was losing my identity for the first couple of years. My son is an only child and it took a long time for me to adjust to being so needed. Between working full-time and then feeling guilty for not being his primary caregiver and trying to make up for it in my non-work hours, I never had a minute to focus on things that I enjoyed, like reading or not being talked to for five whole minutes. He is almost 4 now, and has started to become more independent in the last year or so, and it’s been rejuvenating to finally get some time back to myself.
Thank you for this, Elsie! I have 2 little ones and feel they consume 99% of my physical and emotional energy! (Tho of course I love them so!) Yet so often feel guilty about how little I am doing ‘out in the world’. Thank you for reminding me that it’s ok to not have much else to give right now, and that it’s just a season. Truly appreciate this post ❤️
This brought a smile to my heart today, thank you for simply putting it out there 🙂
Sending you a giant e-hug back, you’re doing a great job, Momma!!
I’m not a mom, but loved reading this pep talk Elsie. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world and something I don’t feel cut out for personally at this time, but I respect all those out there raising our newest generation. Love seeing your family on IG and all the childhood magical memories you’re creating for them ✨
Thank you so much for this post! I could really feel the hug, and I totally needed it 🙂 And I am also giving you an imaginery hug back, because you are an amazing mom!! 🙂 Best wishes from Hungary!
Great post and great job, Elsie.
I really appreciate the positivity you bring to the table, even when things get tough. That perspective that every part of parenting and childhood is a phase of life is so super duper helpful. Therapy is helpful too, and can also be just a phase.
Thank you for posting this! My daughter is almost one and being a mom is HARD. I definitely felt when she was born that a piece of me was gone forever, but a lot of those things are just on pause for now–it’s such a helpful perspective shift.
I’m so glad I read this today! Especially the last point about guilt, because I hold onto SO much guilt for relationships and routines that have already changed during my pregnancy. You’re so right when you say we need to let go of shame and accept that we cannot give 100% to everyone all the time. Thank you for sharing and encouraging new and soon-to-be moms!
They are so adorable.
Go Elsie! I’m not a mother but I hope this helps! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
This is such a great reminder! We are all doing the best we can, and it’s probably better than we think!
And for the record, YOU are a wonderful mom! As a fellow China adoptive mom, I LOVE seeing the joy in your girls faces. 🙂
Question: how do you balance not living near the grandparents? I feel like my mom would Skype daily and I’m just not up for that.
Honestly we do facetime my parents almost every day and Jeremy’s parents very often too. It’s very helpful for us and the kids too. XX