Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash
Many, many mothers of young children struggle.
Are you one of them? Do you feel in your bones how hard it is, but have trouble admitting it, even to yourself?
Do you feel like you need to put on a brave face and show the world you have it all together… but underneath the surface there are big feelings simmering that (even you) are barely aware of...
It might feel like it has to be that way. If you allow yourself to REALLY feel how hard it is it might crush you with it’s weight and you won’t be able to go on.
And you need to go on.
Day in, day out (and nights too!) you have to go on. Your little ones need you SO much, all the time, for their basic survival and well-being.
And there is precious little space for you. You might even forget that you actually DO need space for you.
You might say to yourself and others that you’re strong...tough... a mighty mama because you HAVE to be. You have to get through the days, keep your kids alive and maybe (on the good days) feel like you’re giving them the best possible start to life.
There just isn’t time to break down and feel just how DAMN HARD it all is.
I used to find it hard to admit to how challenging motherhood was for me because I was afraid it meant that I didn’t love my kids and didn’t treasure my time with them. And because I thought I needed to hold it all together.
But through experience I’ve learned that of course I still love my kids no matter what. And OF COURSE I don’t need to hold it together all the time.
When I recognize and feel my feeling it means I’m honouring myself. I’m honouring ALL of my feelings. I’m honouring the dark, messy parts of myself that only motherhood can trigger (and my husband sometimes too;)
For me, coming from a family where, for generations, there was poverty, hardship, and migrations across the globe, a sense of “toughness” was prevalent. My ancestors had to suck it up and keep going for their own survival.
Even though my family no longer lives in “survival mode”, growing up there was still the underlying value that strength means toughness. Emotions were seen as weak. Being vulnerable in our relationships wasn’t valued. Feelings were suppressed and repressed.
And this included mothers across the generations of my family tree as well. The message was this: you’ve got to just DO it. Get through the day and get over yourself. Hold on tight and get through the hard stretches because no help is available and there just isn’t time for anything as “frivolous” as feelings.
So for me coming from the family that I do, it’s a REVOLUTIONARY idea to take the time to recognize and feel my feelings and admit to myself and others that:
MOTHERHOOD IS DAMN HARD FOR ME SOMETIMES.
And it’s TOTALLY OK to let myself feel that.
All the frustrations, the overwhelm, the guilt, the fears, the self-doubt.
It doesn’t mean those feelings are the truth, it just means they’re in me, likely triggered from my past or my family’s past.
And it’s self-honouring to allow them to be there and let them run their course.
When I am in full acceptance that this is my reality, then I can feel the weight of it all in my heart, allow myself to move through the feelings, let the tears flow, and then RELEASE them. (preferably with another person, but if you’re not ready for that, a journal works great too).
Yes, that’s what happens when you allow yourself to ADMIT to your feelings and really FEEL them. You naturally get to the other side and let them go.
When I go through this process, then truths reveal themselves to me on the other side. Here are some of my truths:
1. I don’t always feel like this. Sometimes motherhood is fun and (relatively) easy!
2. Being strong (ie: suppressing my feelings) does not get rid of them. It only makes me miserable
and my feelings end of coming out sideways at my loved ones.
3. Allowing myself to feel this way doesn’t mean I love my children any less.
4. Honouring my feelings and allowing myself to feel, move through them and release them is
an amazing gift I can give to my children- it means that I can find freedom and be a lighter,
5. Vulnerability and honouring ALL of myself and my feelings IS my true strength.
So what about you? Are you fully allowing yourself the space to feel the trials and tribulations of motherhood (and get to the other side of them)? What are your truths underneath your uncomfortable feelings?
I’d like to invite you to consider a different definition of strength- don’t be “strong” by shutting down your feelings. Instead, invite them in, sit down beside them, let them teach you, guide you and heal you.
And share your feelings. Be vulnerable. Allow them to connect you to others and create true intimacy.
That is TRUE strength, mamas. ❤
If motherhood feels like a struggle for you check out my services here. I offer individual and group counselling as well as online workshops specifically for mothers.
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Katherine Aucoin, Motherhood Counsellor
Hi Mamas! My name is Katherine and I'm a motherhood counsellor and a mom to two little boys. I'm here to offer tools, insights and support to help you be the best mom you can be for your children AND yourself.