One thing the What to Expect books don’t highlight is how much motherhood transforms us as women. Maybe those books are updated now, but when I read them in the 90s, most of the advice and prepping was about what to expect with my children. As I look back over 28 years of parenting, I’m certain had I focused more on what to expect for myself, the hard parts of mothering would have been much easier to handle and manage.
A more accurate book would include some words like, “expect to fall apart emotionally, be racked with guilt, doubt countless decisions, lay awake at night, worry yourself sick, fly off the handle and not know why, have your childhood wounds come to the surface at the worst possible times, stop caring about your body, say and do things you swore you never would, see parts of your personality that scare you, question your sanity, love so hard it hurts… But do not despair, dear one, because you aren’t alone in how you feel, and all those things too shall pass (except for the love part) as you enter this ultimate hero’s journey of life. Just make sure you practice mega self-care, grow in self-awareness, get into therapy, and learn as many tools and practices as you can to manage the incessant negative chatter in your head so you can find stillness and embrace the present moment. The ‘now’ is where all blessings flow. The good news is motherhood is both the catalyst and the cure for your suffering! Godspeed.”
Instead, I stumbled into this gig as a baby 23 yo with no clue who I was, no clue about the load of emotional baggage within me, and no clue how to be a mom. The best things I had going for me, aside from a loving and devoted partner, which was HUGE, were a courageous and determined spirit and a heart overflowing with love. So, I went all-in on those qualities and did my best to be all the things for my kids. This supermom act worked for a while until it didn’t because being all the things for them meant I wasn’t being or doing much of anything for me. And over time, the self-neglect began to take a toll.
How many of you can relate?
The thing is, mothers and children are birthed into being at the same moment in time. Every day forward is a parallel journey of transformation and self-discovery as we find our place in a great big world of unknowns. This means we need love, compassion, and nurturing right alongside our kids as we deal with constant change and brand-new experiences. We need to check in with ourselves, pay attention to what hurts, assess our well-being, and give TLC to our soul with the same level of abandon we pour this love and attention on our kids. Motherhood is beyond beautiful, but it is also very hard. We deserve care and compassion as we find our way, and our kids are dual recipients of the rewards.
Jesus had something to say about self-care as well, reminding us that we are blessed when we get our inside world—our mind and heart—put right. Meaning, get our thoughts and emotions put right because what we think and feel ultimately creates our reality. And motherhood is an epic space to practice getting the creation of our reality put right! Sometimes by the minute! I’ve never met a mother who doesn’t battle thoughts of unworthiness, doubt, guilt, insecurity, worry, and overwhelm, among other heavy feelings. These hard emotions and negative narratives are telling us something. We aren’t meant to go through life feeling heavy, constricted, empty, unworthy, and fearful. We are meant to enjoy life and feel open, light, grateful, and consumed by love. That’s the natural state. So, when our life does not reflect these positive and high-frequency feelings and experiences, then something is off. It signals the need to follow Jesus’ guidance about cultivating a peaceful inner world.
When we allow motherhood to teach us—to mirror back the lessons we need to learn about ourselves, others, and the world, the curriculum becomes the precise personal development tool and spiritual practice we need to grow and evolve into healthier and happier human beings as we do our best to set our kids up for the same. Being a mom helped me reclaim my worth, heal my wounds, and learn to trust my intuition. Motherhood continues to help me practice forgiveness, open my heart, question my limiting beliefs and disempowering narratives, find my resolve, grow in self-awareness, learn to let go, become a conscious being, grow in faith, and allow love to lead, among many other positives.
It does the same for all of us. What a gift…
The starting point is merely a willingness to lean into the suffering we are experiencing and allow the immense joy of our role and the love of God to carry us through the learning curves.