Myths are so powerful. A big part of losing myself in motherhood came from the myths about it that I had learned, absorbed, and adopted as my own. This is where most of my mom’s guilt came from. I cannot tell you how incompetent I felt when I failed to act accordingly. It was as though I was not a mother enough like I was lacking something. Part of finding yourself again after you become a mom is redefining motherhood for yourself and this involves a lot of unlearning. If you have been feeling deeply flawed as a mother, here are 5 motherhood myths that I have had to unlearn. May they remind you that you are not failing as a mom, you just adopted misconceptions that made you believe you were.
Asking for help is a sign of weakness
I spent my first few years as a mom trying to prove that I was a strong mom. That I could handle it alone. My actions proved that I believed this myth. I was overwhelmed and exhausted, which contributed to me believing yet another myth that being a mother meant kissing your dreams and goals goodbye. That as a mother, you cannot raise your children well and pursue your own dreams and desires. Nevertheless, I do not want to be a strong mom anymore, if it means:
- Struggling with challenges on my own.
- Pushing myself to burn out because asking for help is deemed as being weak
- I have to pass this misconception about motherhood to my daughter
Honestly, I would rather be labeled as weak and be helped, energized, well-rested, fulfilled, and sane!!
Every time we invest in our own dreams, desires, and interests; we are putting our children at a disadvantage.
“In the end, I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life”
I know what it is like to lay your dreams down (and no, not at the feet of Jesus!) I laid them down because I believed that that was the only way I could be a better mom to my daughter. Now I know that this is not true!!
Practicing self-care as a mom is rejuvenating, taking time out to fill your cup is a good parenting practice if you ask me! When your cup is overflowing, parenting becomes joyous. It is the same as chasing your dreams as a mom and going back to work. This contributes to the financial freedom or stability that pays for the needs of our children. Nothing disadvantageous about that.
You should put your children first, always!!
This is a big one for me. I don’t know what it is like to grow up with your parents under one roof. The passing of my father when I was just an 8-year-old girl meant that I was never going to experience that. Nonetheless, I realized that my health, dreams, marriage, and friendships are not going to thrive or last if my only focus is parenting. Children must be able to live their own lives and chase their dreams because they saw us living and dreaming. I believe that as moms we have the responsibility to learn how to take care of ourselves because when we don’t, we unconsciously compromise our relationships with our children.
As a mother, you have to be an expert on all things concerning your baby
This is perfectionism at its best! It is assuming that motherhood comes naturally to every mom and downplaying the challenges that come with motherhood. There are so many things that I didn’t know about my daughter after I had given birth. For example, my first breastfeeding attempt was an epic fail (I had no milk for a whole 3 days!). I thought to myself “I should know how to do this! I am her mom and it’s my job to know”!! That was frustration taking over.
When you become a mom, it’s something new to you. That’s why I love the saying “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” I would therefore say, give yourself grace as you parent your children and find yourself.
Everything depends on “Mom”
I am still trying to recover from this one to tell you the truth. I have been thinking a lot about taking a “momcation” by myself but I keep thinking that everything will fall apart without me!!
This is the misconception that makes you feel like all that goes wrong is your fault. “How did I miss that?” I should have known!” “I am such a bad mom” are things we say when we fail to handle everything that “depends” on us.
Myths keep us not only from being guilt-free about practicing self-care and about chasing our dreams but also from just enjoying motherhood and parenting. When we believe wrong, we live wrong, however, we have the power to decide what we believe. These are the 5 motherhood myths that I have had to unlearn personally. There are so many misconceptions about motherhood that our society perpetuates. I would say a parent in your terms, doing what works for you. What myths have you heard about motherhood?