Motherhood: It’s the world’s greatest equalizer. Rich, poor, young, old — it doesn’t matter. A mother is a mother is a mother. I don’t care who you are or how great you think you’re doing, I’d bet the farm right about now that you’re bone-tired, and you intimately know what true suffering feels like. And to add insult to injury, you’ve also come to realize that motherhood is the greatest ego-busting, relentlessly demanding, ridiculously competitive, and most self-shaming vocation on the planet.
Moms, the most loving and unselfish humans to walk the Earth, also happen to be the biggest martyrs. Oh, the irony.
We just don’t listen. All that good advice we’re supposed to heed? Nope. We ignore it, and instead we push ourselves to the limits every single day. Bless our hearts.
We’re told to not be so hard on ourselves, but we are. We’re told to practice self-care habits so we don’t become burned out, but we don’t. We’re told to let the dishes go, let the laundry go, to not worry about the state of our homes, yet we spend hours “pinning” perfect mudrooms and we waste hours comparing how we live with how others live.
We’re anxious, exhausted, and crave simplicity and slower living, yet we live and die by our calendars and never-ending lists. We go, go, go until we drop. We bribe our weary bodies to get out of bed in the morning and then bribe them again 16 hours later to just get back in and rest. We’re in constant motion, both physically and mentally, letting days and years pass without noticing the toll it is taking on us.
We have long forgotten how to practice self-love and grateful living. What are we doing instead? We’re living hurried, manic, blurred lives, and beating ourselves up while we’re doing it.
But what if we didn’t?
What if we made a “Just for Today” list and then practiced it? I mean faithfully practiced it — to the point that all the resentment, anger, and frustration we have let fester into our mothering is replaced by just one thing: love. Love in all its forms — compassion, forgiveness, patience, joyfulness, kindness, and unconditional — and what if we started with loving ourselves?
Just for today, I want you to practice loving the mom you are.
It’s easier than you think. Just replace that negative self-talk in your head with the following:
Just for today, when I wake up impatient and angry, dreading the morning routine, I will not think I am failing. I will remind myself I am the only mother these kids need, and even at my worst, when what I give them is given with love, it’s all they need.
Just for today, when I see another mom who looks to have it all together, while I am unshowered and in dirty clothes, I will not be resentful. I will love the body I am in, in all the amazing ways it moves and hugs and loves the family it’s surrounded by.
Just for today, when I look around the house at the disasters and disarray, I will do one small chore, then let the rest go. I will remind myself I am not in a clean house competition.
Just for today, when doubts and anxiety flood my mind, and it looks to me like every other mom I know is raising better kids than mine, I will remind myself looks can be deceiving. She is probably struggling like I am, and her kids are far from perfect, no matter what her status update says.
Just for today, when exhaustion strikes and I want to frown at my kids and I’m short with my husband, I will remind myself they don’t need perfection. They just need me.
Just for today, when I think my to-do list is do or die, I will remind myself of the big picture. The picture is this fleeting day and all that it could be if I just truly loved and noticed the best of it, instead of racing through it just to get to tomorrow. Instead, I will react slower, be kinder to myself, and realize it’s the simple days, all piled into one, that make up a lifetime. Make those simple days count.
And just for today, when all of society and social media tries to tell me I am not doing it right, I will remind myself the only people who get to tell me that, well, would actually never tell me that. I’m not doing it wrong. I am doing just how I’m supposed to be doing it — flawed, messy, unsure, and inconsistent, but with honesty, laughter, and a whole lot of love.
Today I loved the mom I was.
Now if I could just keep her around for tomorrow, that would be a real win.