Being a stay-at-home mom for the first time, I struggled.
I blame my type-A personality that I inherited from my mother. For some reason, I thought my first baby would fit into a perfect baby book mold. I thought that he would sleep and eat and do things the way I wanted, when I wanted.
Turns out, he had a plan of his own, which unfortunately, went completely against my own plan.
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The contrast between the plan of my newborn son and my own rookie-first-time-mom plan was both drastic and…stark. This of course resulted in the perfect combination for countless first-time mama meltdowns.
Oh yes. There. Were. Tears.
I was so overwhelmed by new motherhood that I could barely remember how to shower. When my husband returned to work after paternity leave, he would come home at the end of the day, and I’d still be in my pajamas.
The house was a mess. There were no meals prepared. I’m pretty sure I was living off of protein bars alone at that point. All I could manage to do all day was try to figure out how in the world to take care of a little baby.
It was time for a change.
I was reading an article last week about the “number one life hack” for lasting relationships, which led me to Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on Vulnerability. It’s been viewed over 21 million times, which screams must-watch and doesn’t disappoint.
During her talk she shares the difference between people who thrive and those that don’t. It struck a chord with me because the whole time I’m sitting there listening and thinking…
This is about moms.
I thought about myself as a first-time mom. I thought about my epic meltdowns. I thought about the basket case. I thought about the short-comings of my type A personality.
And then I thought about all the moms who are just like me. The mom who starts out fumbling her way along, overwhelmed, tearful, and fearful. The mom who doesn’t have it all figured out, despite trying to have it all figured out. The mom—just like every mom before her—who needs to learn motherhood through real-life experience rather than through set of step-by-step instructions.
And then I thought about all the moms who turn it all around.
Somewhere along the way things fall into place, you discover a routine, you find your voice, and you start to thrive.
What do resilient mothers do differently?
For the longest time, I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what characteristics made a mom thrive. It was right there on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn’t articulate it.
Brown’s Ted Talk on Vulnerability turned the light bulb on for me. She summarized all the characteristics of a thriving, resilient mother into one perfect little package. Here’s how…
You see your kids as imperfect and wired for struggle.
When your kids throw a tantrum, won’t listen or disobey, you know they’re just regular little people trying to figure the world out. You know they will experience challenges and struggles in every stage of life and it’s normal.
You love with your whole heart even though there is no guarantee.
Everyday you take a chance and love your kids, family and friends whole-heartedly, knowing that you may not receive the same feelings in return. You are willing to take a chance on love despite the risk of hurt or pain.
You practice gratitude and joy.
You discover a positive side to most life experiences, no matter how challenging or difficult they may seem. You appreciate both the good and the bad. You find joy in everyday moments.
You believe you are enough.
You believe you are worthy of love and connection. Despite your imperfections and short-comings, you know you are a good mom, partner, friend and person.
You have the courage to be imperfect.
You know that what makes you imperfect makes you beautiful. You aren’t afraid of a little self-deprecation. You’re willing to share the good, bad and the ugly even if it portrays you in an unfavorable light.
You have the compassion to be kind to yourself first.
You know that in order to be kind to others, you have to be kind to yourself first. Maybe you take a girls’ afternoon a few times each month just for you. Or maybe you take a weekend getaway with your husband. What ever you choose, you know being a selfish mom on occasion is good for everyone.
You embrace vulnerability for the sake of connection.
You willingly expose yourself at weakest moments in order to build relationships with others. You open your heart despite the possibility of rejection or negative feedback.
Things are different now.
I often think back to those first few months when I first became a mom nearly two and a half years ago. I can’t help but chuckle inside when I think about how much I’ve changed and grown in such a short period of time. And I can’t help but chuckle knowing I will change again in the coming years.
I don’t know that I’m a better mom, but I am a different mom.
I’m more at peace with my imperfections. I’m more relaxed about things not going a particular way. I’m able to find some sliver of humor in the really, really tough days. Okay, well not every day, but many days.
I can tell you’re that kind of mom too.
You might not know it yet, but you are.
Because mama, your imperfections, vulnerability, failings, short-comings, and sometimes selfish moments are what make you one helluva resilient, strong, and thriving parent.
It’s not easy being imperfect and show-casing it for the world to see.
But you’re doing it.
And it looks beautiful.
Want more on motherhood?
- 5 Unspoken Truths About Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
- When Motherhood Feels Heavy, Remember This…
- This Moment Is Fleeting…
- Dear Mom Who Feels Like a Terrible Mother
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