I had this wonderful dream of being the most perfect stay at home mom—cooking my children the most wonderful meals, doing the most fun activities, having the best toys for them, playing and doing handicrafts and educating my kids with the best material. Basically, I would be the greatest mom imaginable.
After the first couple of year of motherhood, I realized that I was not fitting into my own expectations and projections or being the perfect mom. Motherhood did not look and feel like I thought it would, and many times it was not what I decided it should be! Most often I felt really wrong for not achieving my own goals of motherhood and I made myself feel worse by constantly comparing myself to other moms.
My neighbor had four kids in six years and loves being a stay home mom. She sometimes has my two kids at her house in the afternoon too, and she has so much ease with all those kids! She cooks every day, helps them with homework, organizes the whole family and keeps a beautiful household. She is a great mom, and she is happy because it works for her to be a mom this way! I definitely admire her and am grateful for her. However, for me personally, the harder I tried to be the same kind of mom as my neighbor, the more unhappy, depressed and guilt-ridden I became.
All the things I was planning for my future and family started to break apart, until I gave up the vision of the perfect mom and chose to discover my way of being a mom.
I looked at what would work for me that would include everyone in the computation and also create something greater for everyone involved. Now being a mom looks totally different: I have a worldwide business, I travel a lot (and sometimes take the kids with me) and I support the family financially. I built up a social network filled with friends and loved ones who assist me in taking care of the kids and whom the kids enjoy being with.
Having the point of view or belief that kids require their parents always at home does not allow a parent to look at what works for them, making them unhappy and sometimes the whole family unhappy, as they try to have a life for and like everyone else.
Whether or not you choose to raise your kids as a home-based mom, there are some key elements to put in the equation for creating your life and the life you have with your kids in a way that works for all of you.
Here are my top five:
- Stop judging yourself.
Judging you is the greatest unkindness. Be grateful for you. Being grateful for you is a gift not just for you, but it also has ripple effects on everyone around you. When you catch yourself being critical, stop and ask: “What’s right about me I am not getting?”
- Trust yourself that you know what works for you and your family.
You know your kids better than anyone. Are you willing to trust that? Listen to your inner voice and let it guide you. There are plenty of experts and other people with judgments and opinions of the right way to be a mom and raise kids, but only you know what will work. Ask: “What is truly required here for me and my kids?” and trust what you and your inner awareness.
- Prioritize you.
Happy moms contribute much better to the family, no matter how your choice of being a mom looks like. If required, organize your life different so that both you and your kids don’t have the feeling of coming last on the list of priorities. My target is to show my kids that they have choice and possibilities available and that they can create their lives if they are willing to go for it. Creating more of the life you desire does not mean less for everyone else. In fact, it can be the opposite. When my kids see me living a life that works for me and honoring myself whilst being there for them and honoring them no matter what, they know this is a choice they also have. Whether you choose to be a home-based mom or not, the important element is that you choose what works for you and makes you happy, too.
- Having fun should be a big priority!
What if it’s not about being perfect as a parent, but actually letting go, taking off the judgment-goggles and having fun, imperfections and all? Kids want you to be real and present, not perfect. Be you, have fun. Ask: “What can we choose today that would be fun for all of us?”
- Don’t compare yourself with others.
Comparison always leads you straight to judgment and often a sense of failure. Everyone is unique, you know things others don’t and are capable of creating something unique unlike anyone else. Focus on discovering what that is and have fun with the adventure of being your own voice in the world. Ask: “What do I know and what am I capable of being as a mom and in the world that I have never acknowledged?”
There really is no right or wrong way to be a mom—there are so many differences out there, and what if that can be an inspiration to all of us?
When it came to being a mom by staying at home, I failed totally. But when it comes to being an example for my kids to trust in themselves and choose what works for them in creating a happy life, I am definitely a great one.
No matter how you choose to raise your kids, if you never give up, always reach for greater and seek what makes you happy, you will give them permission to seek the same for themselves and never give that up for any external ideal.
Links to other articles used:
Why imperfect is cool
Having gratitude for yourself… a gift for everyone
About Doris Schachenhofer
After completing her social work studies in Vienna, Doris Schachenhofer worked with children, homeless people, delinquent teenagers and prisoners transitioning back into the real world. As an Access Consciousness® facilitator, she now travels the world supporting people to be more of themselves. The classes she delivers both live and in online settings includes Right Voice for You, Being You, Conscious Parents and Conscious Kids, all specialty programs of Access Consciousness. Follow Doris here
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