I’m just going to cut to the chase. I’m trying really hard to be a good mom to ThriveToddler. I’m trying harder at this goal than ANYTHING else I’ve ever attempted in my 33 years on earth. Since he’s been born (a little under 2 years ago), making sure that I “do right by him” has taken up the bulk of my energy. Sometimes it feels like my focus in achieving this goal is split between a thousand different ways I need to support him:
- The right developmental activities
- The right amount of discipline
- The right amount of coddling
- The right preschool
- The right amount of socialization with kids his age
- The right bedtime
- The right nutrition
Oh. And by the way. I have a couple of other priorities as well:
- Maintaining a successful career
- Maintaining a healthy marriage
- Maintaining my own health and wellness
What’s my point here?
I’m. Trying. Really. Hard. AND it’s ok to tell people that! I’ll confess. The thought that this doesn’t happen very often/ at all didn’t cross my mind until I read something written by Lindsey Quinn, Managing Editor of The Hustle. You can read her full editorial at this link but here’s the gist:
I’m not saying we should all be whining about how hard our lives are to anyone who’ll listen.
I’m just saying that “effort” doesn’t have to be a dirty word; that we shouldn’t have to pretend that we were born charming and successful and knowledgeable for others to respect us; and that showing a human amount of perspiration during the race doesn’t lessen the victory.
Let’s talk about how this applied to motherhood. Sure, some days are easier than others but even the easy days aren’t a walk in the park (if you have a toddler, a walk in the park isn’t even a relaxing endeavor but humor me and imagine a pre-child walk in the park). Think about the last time someone asked you how you were doing. What was your response? Were you honest about how hard you were trying or did you give a canned “I’m doing really well” response.
I’ll confess — Prior to putting some thought into this concept, I was inclined to give the canned response 9 times out of 10. On a couple of recent occasions, I’ve had mommas that I work with approach me and ask me how I keep IT all together. TBH, I was shocked at the question. Me? What exactly do I have together? Cause just last week I was crying on the couch to ThriveDaddy about how I was failing in all areas of my life. I found myself being honest with them about what my day really looks like, what my struggles are and just how hard I’m trying.
The result? These mommas were so genuinely grateful to find out that they weren’t the only ones in struggle city. They weren’t the only ones that felt like “work-life balance” was this unattainable, intangible feat (it is btw but that’s a topic for another day). By admitting something as simple as “I’m trying really hard too”, an opportunity was opened to have an honest and candid conversation. The dialogue that followed was wonderful and I felt like each of us left the conversation feeling less isolated and in our heads than we began it.
So, what’s the take away here?
- If you’re feeling like the only one that’s trying hard, you aren’t. We are all trying hard because raising children is hard.
- Be honest — with other mommas especially — that you too are putting a lot of effort into the things that matter to you. That if they see something going right for you, it isn’t by luck and it isn’t by chance. Be honest about the blood, sweat and tears that are behind that win.
Rachael Marini is the working momma behind the ThriveMomma Blog. She lives in San Diego with her husband and son and is expecting another little boy in February 2019. Rachael is a CPA by day and a momma passionate about helping women transition back to work after maternity leave by night. Each week she posts a ThriveMomma Round Up: A five-minute weekly newsletter that should be in every women’s inbox. Subscribe here!
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