Cracking Mommy Guilt & Self Doubt

We’re so excited to be able to offer exclusive excerpts to national bestselling book, Mom Hacks  to our audience (Plus include it in our giveaway!).  Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll post two separate hacks to make your life as a mom (or mom to be!) healthier, less stressful, and just more fun. As @DrDarria says, "You’ve GOT this!” . Want to grab Mom Hacks now? Find it here on Amazon or at many other retailers

Hack # 91: Ditch the Supermom Myth and Accept Your Mom Evolution

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary,  the definition of “supermom”  is “an exemplary mother;  also: a woman who per- forms the  traditional duties  of housekeeping and  child-rearing while also having a full-time job.”

Bahahahahaahahaahaha . . . gasp . . . bahahahaah . . . wheeze. I mean, all we need is a cape!

Are they  kidding?  Did some  1950s  ad-man  write  that?  We have all shed  tears  when  we’ve fallen  short  of our  supermom goals—me included.  Did none of us realize that we were crying about  something   as  imaginary  as  leprechauns? Or  the  tooth fairy?

Before baby was born,  we all had blissful visions of mother- hood: days spent  caressing  our child,  a golden aura  around  us like some  picture  from a Christmas pageant.  As MTV’s Diary series said, “You think you know, but you have no idea.”

In reality, motherhood is a daily negotiation with chaos, both humbling  and reaffirming.  Some things  are harder  than  we ex- pected,  while others come more naturally  than we dared dream.

It does none of us any service to cling to this caricature of motherhood. In fact, trying to live up to this ideal only makes us feel  inadequate  and   increases   our  risk  for  depression   and anxiety.1

The only perfect parents are the ones who haven’t had children yet.

Let’s have a motherhood reset.

  •  Recognize that you’re evolving  a  new  identity.  When baby is born,  your identity  changes,  which means  that  the woman you spent decades becoming is suddenly slightly different.  In a piece for the New York Times, Dr. Alexandra Sacks notes that anthropologists label this evolution ma- trescence2  and liken it to the growing pains of adolescence: uncertainty, acne,  hormone  fluctuations, emotional  roller coasters,  and  all. Your former  self needn’t  disappear.  You will again find time to exercise, talk to your spouse,  create art,  or lead  companies  or civic organizations, should  you wish. Or you may do something  else entirely. Give yourself the time and grace to evolve, and enjoy the woman who emerges.
  •  Stop blaming yourself  when  events  diverge  from  the fantasy. I’ve seen  many a new-mom-to-be frantic  because a life-saving delivery did not match with her birth plan or because  her experience  nursing  didn’t match  her expecta- tions. I’m equally guilty: When  I was thirty-seven  weeks pregnant with my second  child,  I realized he had stopped moving; three hours later, I was in an emergency C-section. My baby was healthy  and beautiful, and yet I was so busy blaming myself for the early delivery that I was missing the perfect tiny human  before me. That’s the problem with the fantasy:  unmet  expectations—no matter  how ludicrous— are  interpreted as failure,  and  fixating on  what  isn’t can make us miss the beauty of what is.
  • Acknowledge  your feelings  without guilt. Our feelings as mothers  are  complex.  There  are  ups  and  downs,  and  no mother  feels joy, love, and perfect  peace  toward  her child at all times. As Dr. Sacks put it, “Most of the time, the ex- perience  of motherhood is not good or bad, it’s both  good and bad.” You will ache  for your child to just go to sleep. Then  the  minute  he’s in his crib, you’ll want to hold him again. You’ll crave personal  time yet think of your child the entire  time you’re away. This is normal.
  •  Stop the perfect mom s**t. The pressure  to be a perfect mom can take the fun out of mom-ing (and out of being a kid, too). So, reality reset: Your kids do not care if their lunchbox  food is carved into  stars.  Your newborn  nursery needn’t look like Jessica Alba’s. When  we were babies, our “nurseries”  looked like the rest of the house  (which  at my house  was orange  and  brown  shag rugs).  We were babies and did not care.  Your kids don’t need  mommy perfection as proof of your love. They need you just as you are, loving- to-the-moon-and-back mom, warts and all.


Want more hacks in your life? Mom Hacks is filled with hundreds of tiny ways to corral your to-do’s and make nutrition, exercise, sleep, and - yes - even stress and resilience - do-able.  Find your “I’ve GOT this!”, today. 

 

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About Dr Darria Long:
Dr. Darria Long is a Yale- and Harvard-trained emergency physician, author of nationally bestselling book Mom Hacks (Hachette), and a TV host and expert on HLN, CNN, The Dr. Oz Show, and other networks. A mom of two herself, Dr. Darria has become the national "make-life-better-for-women doctor”. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and residency training from Yale School of Medicine. Mom Hacks is available on Amazon or at many other retailers.