There are thousands of posts telling you how to be a good mom, and I promise you this is not another one.
By now, you should be tired to be treated just as a mom -this semi-robotic being who never gets tired and never holds a grudge. I can relate.
As a mom of a teenage boy and a tween girl, I can tell you... motherhood sometimes sucks. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. Motherhood is an adorable experience, but it's also hard as hell. It's one of a kind in all its senses. But you already knew that by now.
We -moms- are under the pressure of an entire society that dictates what we have to do and how we must behave. Screw it all! We deserve to live our best life, as moms but also as women.
To enjoy motherhood without burning ourselves down, you and I should:
If you can spend a day without the kids... by all means do it! You're not a bad mom because you choose yourself from time to time. You need time to chill, to relax, to let go of some life's pressures. Having kids is fulfilling but also is energy draining. You need to replenish those energies somehow. Enjoy some time alone without the kids, even if it's just an hour or a magnificent entire day! You deserve some time as well!
Don't fix everything for everybody. Your kids look at you like you're Lady Fix-a-lot. Teaching them to fix things on their own since they are very little is the best gift you can make them and yourself. They need to solve their own problems, fix what they break, clean what they make dirty. If you don't teach them to do things on their own, you'll be suffocated when laziness hits at the tween and teenage years. That... without going into details of an adult child who will be living under your roof at their 40s.
Taking care of yourself makes you a better mom. Repeat this to yourself if you need a reason to go out on your own. Say it out loud if you have an urgent desire to fill the tub with hot water and bubbles and forget that people are waiting for you right in your living room. Your kids need to understand you're like them. You get angry, hungry and you will also have mood swings. You get sick. You need to go to the doctor. You even have to take meds. Sleep well, eat, listen to your favorite music, pamper yourself, walk around the house with your charcoal face mask! While you're showing them your humanity and how to take good care of yourself, you're giving them a foundation of self-love and self-respect for their future.
Share the chores. Give your kids responsibilities around the house. Kids start developing a sense of belonging when they know they are working for something big, like the house. Is important for kids to understand that you and your husband have a lot of responsibilities, like bringing the money to support the house. As they cannot contribute with money (for obvious reasons!), they can contribute with chores. You'll have some time to spare and they will understand that the housework is a lot of work and it belongs to them as well.
Have a social life. We always make the mistake to surrender our social life when we have kids. We simply cannot accommodate another call or another appointment. We have kids and we are always tired. And on top of that, everybody tells you that you need to stay with your baby the most time possible because you two need to bond. While bonding with your baby is incredibly important, so it is your emotional health. But society isn't helpful on this one. You're immediately labeled as a bad mom if you choose to go out without the kids. If you decide to go on a short vacation and leave the kids with the grandparents, you're instantly a mean mom because you deprived the kids of another vacation (doesn't matter that you took them to Disneyland recently, you're leaving them behind, mean mom!) There are very few people that encourage you to keep living your life, but please do. Hire a nanny, ask a relative to take care of the baby so you can go out with friends or on a steamy date night with your husband.
Understand your motherhood triggers. A mom's life is incredible but chaotic. Kids will overstep your boundaries from time to time. While that's perfectly normal, -they are trying to experiment with life on their own in their quest to be independent-, some of their behaviors or actions may take you to a boiling point. Don't act in the rage of the moment. Take a few moments to think about their actions and what emotions they generate in you. What makes you angry the most? Is it that they went behind your back? Is your anger caused by your kids' lack of control when using electronics? Do your kids tell other people private/intimate things about you? Aren't you sleeping enough? Are kids disrespecting your rules and trying to bring grandma to scold you for not doing what they want? Did you determine what's triggering your bad mood? Then, it's time to establish limits and consequences for bad actions. You're the mom. Set the game rules!
Eat well. I know how difficult this one can be. My first pregnancy was hard and I had no support group. To leave the baby in someone else's care was a clear sign I was not enough mom. Moms aren't supposed to cry or feel depressed or tired. No! When I had my first child, moms were supposed to be ecstatic and overjoyed, and full of energy. Ha! Try doing all that with a c-section and postpartum depression! I was tired, underslept, full of work and chores, and ended eating all the wrong things. That time took me to a terrible weight of 220+ pounds. Eating well would have prevented years of medicines and diets and relapses.
Yes, you're a mom. Embrace it! But you're also a woman. Try taking care of yourself as you used to do before having kids. Sure, life is different now. Time functions in a very treacherous way when you have kids, but try to prioritize yourself as well.
You deserve to live your best life as a mom but as a woman as well.
Lots of love,