I like writing happy things, sharing pictures of grinning children and a happy mother in the background gently and joyfully nurturing in the midst of a chaotic day with little kids.
But the truth is, I’m not always a happy mom.
Sometimes I scroll through my Facebook feed and see pictures of moms cuddling their babies and giggling, or smiling as they run around with their older kids and I think “yeah, that’s totally not me”. Those smiles and images radiate joy.
Sometimes, those joyful photos only serve to remind me how far I am from that place in the moment.
I’m not always that happy mom. Sure, I love a good smiling photo, but there are times when my photos come out like this:
Or this one, as I can barely contain my tears and struggling to keep my eyes open as I rock the crying baby to sleep for 10th time that night.
There are times when I can’t bring my mouth to curve. If I manage a smile I know it doesn’t reach my eyes and can only hope no one notices. The smile may be enough for my kids but the camera knows the truth of my heart. The despair and the lack of joy in life, and motherhood.
No, I’m not depressed every day.
But I’m also not completely happy each day.
If I’m honest my emotions are more like a heart monitor careening up and down.
Sometimes my kids and I giggle until our sides hurt. Other times, I muscle my way through the day, microwaving chicken nuggets for dinner and allow them to watch sesame street a bit more than normal.
The former days make me feel great about myself as a mother, while days like the latter usually end with me mentally berating myself for not being like the shining images of joy I see on the faces in my newsfeed.
I’m not saying it’s social media’s fault. Social media isn’t the source of my pain, it’s just the place I can most readily see photos of fun and sometimes it leaves me feeling inadequate and defeated.
When the truth of the matter is, all moms have bad days. It’s a pretty normal thing for moms to get depressed and to just feel like we want to hide for a minute.
We should not let those emotions define us. Because we are each more than how great or how difficult of a day we had today.
In fact, letting our kids know that emotions are real, and teaching them by example healthy ways to deal with bad and depressing days, can be an extremely valuable phase in their own personal development.
Sometimes it feels like in order to be a good mom, you must smile all day long.
But that is simply not true.
In order to be a good mom, we must love our kids. And you know what? Even when I’m exhausted and impatient and wanting a break, I still love my kids immeasurably. I’d still do anything for them, even when I’m sighing on the inside as I’m asked another question I’m unable to answer or the baby is happily screeching for 45 minutes straight.
Motherhood is rough. It’s up and down. I’m not always that glowingly joyous mama. I am sometimes. But other times I have hard days. Just like every other good mama out there.
If you are having a rough day, don’t beat yourself up over it. Hug your kids, do something fun, go outside, plan a night out alone. Do what you need to do to make it through the day, just don’t EVER tell yourself a bad day makes you a bad mama. Emotions and hormones do no such thing.
Love your kids. Love ON your kids. And take care of yourself.
And admit it… Whether today was a good day or bad day emotionally, you ARE a good mama!
For more encouragement follow me on Facebook
or check out this post about the 10 things all good moms have in common *hint, one of them is bad days…*
Aprille @beautifulinhistime.com says
Oh…I so love this. This is so me!!!! Thanks for being honest.
This could not have come at a better time. I’m a first time mom to a beautiful boy who will be a month old tomorrow. Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m barely getting by. This is perfect.
Oh Amber, I totally understand. I always feel like the first 6 weeks are the hardest, just because the baby needs you almost constantly! I’m sure you are doing a fantastic job though!!!
Also, can I encourage you to talk to your OB/Gyn about it if you continue to feel down? This is something I wish that I would have done with my first. I had post partum depression, but I didn’t want to admit it. I know if I had just said something to my Dr. she would have helped, but I was scared some one would try to take my baby or call me a bad mother if I admitted to be anything less than thrilled about my entire life. Just something to think about. Now I know they just would have given me ways to help with it and not even thought any less of me because literally every mother has some sort of PPD at some point after giving birth as her hormones settle back to normal, but I didn’t know that at the time.
anyway, I glad this was an encouragement to you! <3 I hope today is wonderful with your boy and you are able to rest! Motherhood is a wonderful journey!
Awesome post, thank you for the reminder! Just as one stressful day at the office wouldn’t define our career, it does not define our parenting! Found you thru Time Warp Wife, love your blog!
I think you are pretty normal! If we didn’t sometimes feel sad we wouldn’t know what it felt like to be happy….!! :)
hugs x, Crystelle
I had a similar conversation on FB the other day. My Lil Monster was having a hissy fit over something ridiculous (he didn’t want me to eat my noodles, he wanted them, even though he already had some in front of him). Another mom saw my post and laughed because not only was she having a similar day, but so were 3-4 other Mommy friends of hers according to her FB feed.
we all have those days, and you are right we just need to love our way through them.
This is great! I have been having a hard time lately. Thanks for the encouragement and the honesty.
We just posted about the same thing on our blog! It’s true that being a mom is a hard job, and is just that, a job. It can be extremely rewarding and extremely thankless. It is okay to not be happy all the time, that just isn’t real. Thanks for posting some great tips on getting over the mommy blues. We’d love you to check out the tips we posted as well, as give us some pointers!
Erica Layne says
I’m muscling my way through a whole lot of days too! Probably most of them. (It’s our family’s weekend adventures that help get through.) Thank you for your openness.
Facebook is an edited version of people’s lives, not the truth of the day to day ups and downs that we all have. After stressing myself out this summer about why other people (on fb) seemed to have the perfect family holidays whereas ours was full of picky eating, not sleeping, whining and all four of us generally getting on each other’s nerves, I decided to stop looking at fb. Thank you for being honest x
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, love your blog!
Hi I’ve been going thought this a lot. I have a 1 year old a 6 year old and an 8 year old. I feel like I’m not doing a good job and I’m a bad mom. I never have the energy to get down and play with my kids ever. This has been ever since my first baby was born and she’s now 8. Wat should I do. I really love my kids so much they r my life. How do I become a better mom and get down and play with my kids more. I don’t want to be the boreing mom but I just don’t have the energy or strength to play with my kids