Saying you’re often stressed as a mom might be an understatement.
Being a mom—especially a working mom—can be downright overwhelming. Exhausting. Draining. Sometimes even depressing.
After a long day of wiping noses, burping babies, schlepping your kids to various activities, helping with homework, and doing most or all of the laundry/cooking/cleaning, all you have energy for is pulling the blanket over your head so you can pass out for (hopefully) 8 hours.
Of course, there are moments of elation and joy, too. You love your family. Your kids are your heart and soul. You wouldn’t change a thing about your life.
And yet sometimes, you can feel like a shell of the person you used to be before you became a mom.
That person who used to be creative, inspired, health-conscious, energetic, philosophical, athletic…
And now maybe you’re forgetting to eat (or eating too much), resentful of your partner, too tired to exercise or do anything fun.
What happened? And will things ever feel normal again?
Yes, things will feel normal again, according to Certified Mindset Coach for Mothers, Gervase Kolmos.
In fact, she says, you must make “normal” your priority, because trying to do it all and sacrifice everything you used to love to be the perfect mom is not realistic.
“It’s not natural as a human being to jump ship and be a new person and have a new identity, or to have to choose between your pre-baby self and your post-baby self.”
She had to re-learn this herself when she had her third child. Even though she had been through the “new mom” period twice before, she had somehow forgotten how easy it is to get lost in the fog of perfectionism when you have a baby.
“It hit me very hard. I felt like a shell of a person. And I was like, wait, what is going on? Why do I feel so burned out? Why am I forgetting to eat? Why do I feel a little resentful of everybody else who has it easier? Or resentful that my husband isn’t helping, or that my kids are a nuisance.”
“Like most women,” she says, “I totally lost myself. I abandoned myself.”
This was having a strain on her marriage and on her entire family. Her kids would be walking on eggshells around her and her husband wasn’t sure how to handle her resentment.
“As moms, we are so overwhelmed, stressed out in victim mode, giving all of our power away,” says Gervase. “We’re treading water. We’re not embodied. We’re not connected to our intuition. We’re not connected to how we feel.
We’re not even feeling our feelings because it doesn’t feel safe to do so.
My clients will literally say, I don’t have time to feel my feelings.”
When she started feeling the same way, she realized she had to wake up from her fog. That’s when she had her light-bulb moment:
Her husband wasn’t doing anything to her. Her kids weren’t the cause of her stress. Even those “other people” who had easier lives weren’t the cause of her malaise.
No, her problem was much more personal.
Gervase’s big shift was realizing that she was the one causing her own overwhelm because she was the one not taking care of herself.
She had to start filling her own cup. Start stimulating her mind. Start doing the basic things that every human needs and deserves that she was letting go of.
One of the things Gervase tells moms to do is to listen to their intuition so they can feel good in their life and in their body again. Ask yourself: What is it that you need? What is the one thing (besides your kids) that will bring you joy today?
Once you figure out your one thing, make that one thing your priority.
“Prioritize your joy, not your to-do list.”
When you do the thing that will bring you joy and just totally dive into that one thing, it will fill your cup so much that you’ll have so much energy to do all the stuff that you have to do.”
Maybe today it’s to go on a walk or a run. Next week it might be to call a friend. Or work in the garden for an hour. Whatever it is, make it your priority and do it every day.
Gervase says that trying to be the “perfect mom” or perfectionism in general, doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t serve your children. Not only is it exhausting, but it sends your children the wrong message—that giving yourself up for others is normal and loving, when it’s not.
But where does this need for perfection come from?
According to Gervase, it comes from growing up and being told you were a “good girl” for doing things the “right way”. It comes from wanting love and affection and belonging, and thinking that being perfect is the way to get it.
She’s not saying that if you pick your “one thing” and make it your priority every day, you won’t ever feel the need for being perfect again.
This need for perfectionism will still come up, and you’ll have to be aware of it and notice how it feels in your body. And then you’ll have to choose what’s more important to you: pleasing others for love and approval, or loving and approving of yourself and knowing that others love you no matter what.
Parenting is the hardest but most rewarding job you’ll ever have. You already know that.
The LAST thing you’d ever want to do is send your kids the wrong messages and lead them to believing negative things about themselves—such as “I have to be perfect to be loved.”
All you want is for your kids to grow up to be healthy, happy, and thriving. And you want to feel good about yourself as a parent in the process.
That’s why we decided to turn to some of the world’s top experts and get their insights and advice on how to avoid the most common mistakes with parenting, and what to do instead.
When you subscribe to our free expert advice newsletter, you’ll get information-rich articles delivered to your inbox, with tons of actionable tips and specific advice to help you make positive changes in your parenting approach. These are articles by psychotherapists, authors, speakers and experts with decades of real-world experience working with families.
You’ll also learn:
All parents struggle at one time or another. We all feel crazy sometimes.
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. If you believe there is because of what you see people posting on social media, we’re here to tell you, that’s all an illusion.
Sometimes all it takes is knowing you’re not alone, and that there ARE solutions. We’re grateful to be able to make those solutions available to you.