One of the most incredible changes I’ve made in my life is realizing I don’t have to be unhappy in motherhood and life — and that I can control the joy in my life.
This mindset change was not simple. It took years of practice and I’m still working at it on a daily basis.
But it’s MUCH easier now than ever.
I will not lie. I have many moments of unhappiness. It’s HUMAN to feel emotions — all of them. So I’ve learned to honor those emotions just as I’m doing the same for my daughters.
I get sad and angry and lonely. But the key mindset change begins with realizing I can catch myself when I’m heading into the Land of Bitter and Sour and before I go to deep, I begin to implement all the joy-seeking tools I know that work for me — the same ones I teach in the Abundant Mama class.
I’ve worked with hundreds of moms around the world. I’ve coached them in small groups. I’ve gotten their emails and confessions.
And what I share here is nothing but the truth — a hard pill to swallow as the world wants mothers to be naturally happy.
But here’s the thing: Some of the BEST moms are quietly unhappy in motherhood because our expectations of motherhood are superhuman. Our expectations of ourselves are beyond possible.
And I wrote quietly for a reason.
Most moms are unhappy in motherhood, but not speaking up about it. They are smiling and volunteering and doing all the good work in the world. They are, in a sense, they are so busy keeping it all together that on the inside they are falling apart.
One Abundant Mama alumnae wrote this recently:
“‘I try so hard to hold it all together all the time, that sometimes I just want to break down and let it all out. Scream. Cry. Throw things. Get angry. Yell. And other times I want to just laugh and dance and sing without a care in the world.”
It’s hard to raise children. It’s hard to not have a moment to breathe and rest. It’s hard to constantly face disappointment of failures and imperfections and mistakes.
Being a mother is not for the faint at heart.
But, on top of the responsibilities, we also place enormous and insurmountable expectations on ourselves — and, sadly, on our children.
When I sat down to write this list, I knew I needed to include all the things that we tend to do that keep us feeling less than, full of doubt and all those expectations many of us live by on a regular basis.
If you find yourself nodding your head to any of these 25 things below, I encourage you to sign up for my FREE 10 Habits of Highly Effective Mamas workbook and get started creating some POSITIVE habits today.
25 Ways to Be Unhappy in Motherhood Forever
- Let your children’s moods drive your own. This is a big one, especially as your children grow into adolescence. Their mood swings could easily make or break your day, if you let them.
- Put your marriage or relationships last for far too long.
- Desire a clean house more than a happy life. The two really are not as connected as you think.
- Expect perfectly behaved children all the time and feel like a failure when they are not.
- Seriously believe that other moms are doing it better than you are.
- Put your happiness in the hands and control of everyone else but yourself.
- Fall victim to thinking you have a bad life when really it’s just a bad day or a bad moment.
- Believe your child needs to think like you and act like you and do as you say and do and feel disappointed when they do not.
- Putting more time and energy into creating the perfect life that you miss the great life you already have — creating a mindset of lack and not enough.
- Expecting children to love everything you cook, bake and create for them. Their taste buds are their own. And so are yours.
- Dwelling on mistakes.
- Putting too much emphasis on appearances rather than unconditional love.
- Forgetting to connect with your child every single day. That lack of connection creates distance and lack of respect.
- Thinking your child owes you for everything you’ve done for them. This is not a game. Raising children has responsibilities. Your child didn’t ask to be born. They don’t owe you anything and the more you think that the less they will respect you.
- Saving your smiles for every other person but your child.
- Taking on everyone else’s needs so that there’s little time left for yourself.
- Spending too much time on activities that don’t fill you up and light you up.
- Placing too much emphasis on getting things done.
- Placing too much emphasis on your child needing to get things done.
- Living and breathing by the clock.
- Rushing through every single moment leaving no space in the margins to just be.
- Believing strongly that happiness is “out there” rather than an inside job.
- Starting your day with too much drama and negativity.
- Not letting your kids just be kids. They are not little adults even on their best days.
- Trying to control every single thing — especially the messiness of childhood.
What do you think? Would you add to this list?
Don’t forget to grab your free eBook 10 Habits of Highly Effective Mamas now.
About the Author
Shawn Fink is an author and family wellness coach for mothers around the world who long to be more present, more peaceful and more playful at home and in their life. She is the author of two books, including The Abundant Mama’s Guide to Savoring Slow. Her work has been featured internationally including in Mind Body Green, The Huffington Post, Mamalode and The Shriver Report. Get more wisdom via email by signing up below.
Feature Photo Credit: Mitya Ku
Photo Credit: mrhayata