Motherhood “Stop beating yourself up!”

Motherhood “Stop Beating Yourself Up!”

I’m not even sure where to begin, so please excuse my ranting but I need to get it off my chest. I’m so over do this, do that, this is way, you’re doing it wrong, research shows this, this doctor say that, the other doctor disagrees entirely with the first doctor, research shows mums are tired -really? They needed to research that? They should have just stopped at a school morning drop off and asked the mums’ there. There is an overload of judgement and advice which we are constantly bombarded with that it is driving me insane. But what concerns me the most is that all the advice is making us mothers feel worse. I know, I too advise but more so on child behaviour and development but I really really try to write from my work experience and case studies and I certainly don’t want any mother feeling worse after reading my blog or Facebook tips. I know sometimes I write a quick tip that may be interpreted wrongly and for that I apologise, sometimes I write a tip and don’t realise it can have a double meaning.

Motherhood is 24/7

Parenting and Motherhood is 24/7, even when your kids have left home (which may seem ages away), once you have a child and you become a mother and commit to bringing your child up, then that is it, it’s a life time thing in many cases. So if you consider you are a  parent /mum for life you need to give yourself some slack and a bit of a mental break in your own head, otherwise you will end up burn out, sick and incredibly miserable. Unfortunately or Fortunately we can look at this both ways – this is it -this is motherhood. There are times when you are totally over it and that’s OK, that is normal and there are times when your kid does or says something that stabs you so hard in the heart in a good way that it cancels out the days you were over it.

I posed a question on Facebook ? “Parenting” If YOU only have three words to describe it what would those three words be ?” These are just some of the words:

Adventurous, Tiring, Loving, Exhilarating, Exciting, Exhausting, Challenging, Rewarding, Love, Memorable, Blessing. Bittersweet, Over-rated, Educating, Insane, Understanding, Bemusing, Tiring, Protect, Respect, Fun, Joy, Huge, Satisfying, Chaotic, Noisy, Busy, OMG, Exasperating, Laughter, Lovely, Rewarding, Hard,Fantastic, Horrible, Unmissable, Difficult and Heart -Swelling.

There are plenty more I’m sure to describe parenting and motherhood and they would all be right, there are no wrong answers, it is every adjective and emotion ever known. You just don’t know them until you become a parent or mother. This is it we are doing it, we have days which are total shockers, it’s just one thing after another but one way or another we seem to get through them. These OMG days would probably not be any different, they would  have still occurred no matter what you tried, certain things in life are out of our control, it’s the way we handle the stuff that gets thrown at us on a daily basis and with all the palaver out there  telling us what to do, we are starting to doubt ourselves, our own values and our own way of doing things.

Our expectations are all different, our lives our all different, our children are all different, there is no one fool proof way of doing anything. We learn as we go, we stumble along and take the good with the bad. With the super influx of social media this judgement and  24 /7 advice is only going to get bigger and more in our faces, so we are going to have to learn to switch off and say well that’s not for me.

Motherhood you are doing it !

Through my work, through blogging and through my own life I know many of us had traumatic childhoods; sexual abuse, dealing with alcoholism, mental abuse and so many other horrendous factors, yet here we are being mothers to the best of our ability, loving our children with all our hearts making sure they do not have to deal with a childhood that is traumatic. Unfortunately life can still throw us still some real big traumatic issues, the loss of a partner, the loss of a loved one, illness, disability, sickness, depression, single parenting, divorce really the list is endless, yet we continue, we feel totally urgh on some days and then we add guilt, stress and anxiety, read someone telling us how motherhood and parenting should be and we  feel even worse, yet one way or another do mange to pick ourselves up and continue. I’m tired and saddened that we take everything we hear or read and let it effect us and question ourselves.

Behaviour is so very complex, I struggle to get my head round it too. So I’ve learnt to keep away from what I don’t fully understand or go research it some more, I’ve learnt that I parent my way and my kids are doing just fine, even though I’ve screwed up some things along the way, I’ve apologise and moved on. I’ve learnt that the media like the scandalous headlines and I really don’t care that research says if I do the school drop off in my PJ’s I’m sending my child the wrong message. My children are loved unconditional and that’s the most important message of all.

People may say “Snap out of it”, “Look at the bigger picture”,  “There are others worse of than you” -which I find totally unhelpful and leave me feeling a million times worse. What we feel emotionally is valid, it’s learning slowly how to deal with these emotions and this is something only you can do. Whether it’s venting with a friend, finding something you can outlet what your feeling or simply accepting the emotion and carrying on or stopping for a while to clear your head. If certain people make you feel bad about yourself, then they are no longer required -move on, it’s hard but better in the long run. There are again no fool proof ways  to stop beating yourself up  but imagine speaking to your close friend the way the voice in your head speaks to you, personally I’d tell them to take a hike. I also like to journal and over the years I’ve learnt to comminucate what I’m feeling to my partner whether its good or bad, or I get on the phone and blurt it all out to a girlfriend, I also found my happiness project very grounding for me.

Although it is hard to get out of the habit of beating ourselves up, it is doable over time, we will instinctively still do it as we are mums and we set ourselves some very high standards which is then reinforced by what we read and hear, then there will also be someone who is bound to voice their opinion too, making us feel like a failure when in reality we are not. An opinion is someone else’s thought, not yours you don’t have to take it on board. Your values, your children, your motherhood journey – well it is  just YOU that is what is important and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Stop, stop stop beating yourself up, stop stop stop before using harsh words against another parent -mother, father or carer, stop stop stop believing all you read about how you should be parenting, stop stop stop letting others make you feel worthless, stop stop stop getting caught up in arguments that don’t effect you or your family, stop stop stop thinking you know someone’s whole life, stop stop stop and be proud of who you are, stop stop stop and try and find a happy moment no matter how small everyday.

Do you think we are being too hard on ourselves ? Is there an overload of parenting information  and research which is now accessible 24/7 with  social media?




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Nathalie Brown

Child Behaviour Consultant at Easy Peasy Kids
Child Behaviourist and researcher. Creator of "Less tantrums. More smiles". I look at the bigger picture and think outside the box when working with children and their behaviour. Their world is different. As adults we sometimes forget this. Happiness Creator in my spare time. Eater of chocolate and cake.

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  1. Thanks Nat. I read your post in tears. To be honest i saw your post link on Facebook and planned to come in and have a bit of a rant. A rant on how it seems so many blogs on helping with parenting, simplifying your life and so forth seem to be written by stay at home mums or mums who are in a relationship and can share the load with someone. They have so much wonderful advice in time out for yourself, meal planning, getting organized, craft activities etc. Which is all great if you have the luxury of time. But for those of us single mothers/fathers that work full time and have to be everything and everyone at home, without being able to share the load, well to be honest I’ve been over whelmed looking at all that a good, organized, calm, caring and dedicated mother should do. And due to a number of things happening all at once in life at the moment have been feeling like I’ve been failing big time at being a good mother. Perhaps it’s time to simplify the social media voices.
    Thanks for letting me know I’m doing ok.

    • I’m sorry the post made you cry, you are being a fab mum you are doing so much for the lives of your children and all alone, that is truly inspirational. I have somedays when I’m either so tied up with mum, or out working all day that I too feel bad for the lack of time spent with my kids. I just try to ensure that when I’m with them no matter what time that I make a big effort to be totally theirs even if it’s for 5 minutes. Are you in Melbourne ? If you ever need to vent drop me an email I’m a good listener xx

      • Thanks Nathalie,
        I should clarify you didn’t make me cry? Well your post dd, but it was in a really good way. 😀 I think sometimes other blogs tend to set a standard that sometimes single mothers feel are unattainable as they already have so much more on their plates without that someone at home to share to load with.
        I’m in NE Victoria, and catch up with a couple of Sunnies every now and then. Thanks for the offer though. The sun shall rise again!
        Your doing auch terrific work sharing this with mums everywhere. Keep up the great work.

    • Hi Jols
      You sound like a great Mum! I am always reminding myself that social media only shows the highlights package, never the bad stuff. And you know what, I am not a single mum and I still don’t do all the stuff I read “perfect parents” do!
      Thanks for a great post Nathalie – I agree it is so important to not judge others or compare ourselves to others, and to remember that we are all on our own journey and no matter what happens it is our journey. Our kids love us because we are their Mums. Thanks Sandra

  2. I saw a story on one of the morning shows that talked about the overload of ‘help’ books. They’re not much help to be honest.
    I so hear where you’re coming from, we do what we need to do for our own family, it’s not necessarily going to be right for the people next door.

    • Each help book out there will relate to someone, I don’t have the time to read them & like you say each of us is different and what will work for one, won’t necessarily work for another. Nx

  3. Yes I think many of us are too hard on ourselves. I think it is important to take what others say sometimes with a pinch of salt and remember how we feel about ourselves and don’t let others crush our beliefs or self-esteem. There is lots of parenting information out there and you need to filter it – what is useful to me – what do I agree with?

  4. Dearest Nathalie,

    You are sooo right in voicing this. Everyone who reads a post on “how to be better” or “All you need to do” finds it incredibly frustrating and sometimes heartbreaking. We are all trying to do our best, and I think the more often we are reminded to stop trying to not be us the better. Yes we all need to stop beating ourselves up, but sometimes we all just need to STOP.
    I know you have HEAPS on your plate, and it must be relentless. The emotional drain on you alone, must be so tiring.
    Keep being you Nathalie, and thanks for reminding us there is no miracle way or cure.

    • Hi Sooz thanks we are all trying our best and some days are good and some days are shockers. I did manage to stop for 3 days on the work front which was just fab. Nx

  5. Nathalie, I apologise if this posts twice…computer doing strange things 🙂
    I think you are absoloutley right that we need to be reminded about stopping. We all need t obe reminded to just stop and be us, stop and realise there is no perfect or “right” way (as long as love is involved) and to just “Stop” and be us. Thanks for always being there with the right words.
    You have heaps on your plate right now, it must be so emotionally draining and tiring.
    Make sure YOU stop! And try and keep smiling 🙂

    • Oh here you are again 😉 Leaving this comment on too as it’s different to your last one and I appreciate you taking the time to do it twice. It is a real emotional rollercoaster at the moment especially with mum but hubby and my kids have my back xx

  6. Brilliant, brilliant post. I think we’ve had instinct beaten out of us. It’s like if it’s not published, it couldn’t possibly be right.

    Love & stuff
    Mrs M

  7. Nathalie bloody brilliant post. I don’t believe you can be an perfect mother AND sane. Sometimes good enough just has to do as we juggle a myriad of tasks, responsibilities and caring duties. In the end we all want the same thing, healthy, happy, kids and a bit of time and energy left over for overselves. So many days that seems impossible but I have to keep on believing that in the long run it will even itself out – and the kids will turn out OK. I started my blog as a bit of stand against “perfection” which seemed to be everywhere I turned and made me feel like I was lacking – it turns out it’s very hard to create a truly “honest” picture of your life in blogworld – it’s just human nature to want to project the best of yourself. The experience has made me realise that even those with the perfect presentation may actually be dealing with their own crap behind the scenes.

    • Janine I think there is always more behind the scenes that many don’t share which is fine but living in the real world with all the juggling we do, I believe we are doing just fine .

  8. Lesley Palma says

    I am a mum of 3 grown children, 6 grandchildren. You girls have to stop this doubting yourselves as good mothers. I agree with Super Ordinary Mum – there is no perfect or right way – there’s just mothering from the heart. I have one piece of advice, if you will permit me. If you have a good relationship with your Mum, she will be your best sounding board. I did, she was, and I am forever thankful to her. When I look back on my days as a working Mum, it sometimes makes me shudder. But at the end of the day, with all the things that can go wrong in one day – the school calls, your child is sick and you need to pick him/her up but you are in the middle of a meeting with your boss and the IOC; or, the kids go off to school happy and you get home and they have had a fight and trashed the house (well messed it up); you forgot to take tonight’s dinner out of the freezer and so the kids have to have toasted sandwiches or baked beans on toast for dinner. These are little things which seem enormous at the time, and you feel guilty, but in reality, it’s just life. My marriage only lasted about 6 years so I was only a stay at home Mum for a very short while even during that 6 years. To this day, I do still feel pangs of guilt about having to work and think “well, I could have done this or that better”. I’m not saying there were no problems with the kids, there were plenty – but they have become good, respectful and caring adults that I love to death and am extremely proud of. So Happy Valentines Day girls, and remember, “mothering from the heart”.

  9. What a gorgeous quote “mothering from the heart” Love it. I’m a big fan of toasted sandwiches they’ve saved me many a time when I’ve over run with work and late home.. Keeping the lines of communiaction open with your children in the long run serves us all well. Happy Valentines day to you too.

  10. I really needed to read this today.

    This week I took a bit of a beating from my husband’s family, his grandmother always criticizes my mothering & doesn’t like how ‘hands on’ my husband is.

    She said in her day, women did it all.

    But I work night shifts, & don’t sleep the next day looking after my 14 month old.

    Sometimes I’m awake 39 hours straight, so when my husband comes home from work, I do go to sleep. And I’m usually a semi emotional mess.

    Would she rather I just soldier on, god forbid my husband does the dinner, bath, bottle, book, bed routine?!

    Maybe women did more in her day. But I bet they didn’t have to work nights to keep up mortgage repayments!

    Gosh, I’m ranting, sorry.

    I just hate being criticized when I feel like I’m just doing the best I can do.


    • Cherie YOU are doing such a fabulous job, I know you are in nursing so hold your head up high, ignore the critiscm this is your life, your child and your motherhood journey. I too rely on hubby to have my back and it is team work. Big hugs Nx

    • Lesley Palma says

      Dear Cherie

      If you will permit me to say with regard to your husband’s family, and in particular, his grandmother – this is unacceptable behaviour and frankly, none of their business. Grandmothers, and Nonnas, (which is me) are prone to trotting out the “in my day” thing and more often than not, it can be pretty valuable and tried and true advice. However, there is a way that we, the Gs and Ns can dispense that knowledge without hurting anyone’s feelings, and that is with love and affection and gentleness – but only when asked. When you have a husband as back-up, the family unit is complete, that is your haven and your nucleus. I agree with Nathalie – a nurse! Cherie, you rock! Be proud.

  11. Maxabella says

    We so are. Easily the biggest chore and headache of motherhood is wading through the colossal amount of information there is about motherhood! x

  12. Carmie says

    Thank you for this inspiring article – you’ve really touched a nerve – we always worry we aren’t doing it well enough – there always seems to be someone doing it better than us! I think all this mothering info is well meaning but in the end you do the best you can – you have so much more on your plate than me – you are doing a great job!!

    • In every role in life we question ourselves but much more so in motherhood as our children mean the world to us, it’s almost unavoidable but we can try and be more ok with it and how we are doing the best we can xx

  13. Interesting post. The line I liked was “what we are feeling emotionally is valid”. The whole ‘snap out of it’ thing annoys me. I didn’t have the best start to motherhood. I was highly, highly anxious and thought I was on my own. It’s taken years to feel normal. And when I say normal, I mean my normal. Some days are just revolting and other days are fine. I actually welcome some of those books because while I can run on instinct sometimes, other times I’m completely flailing and I’ve found them really helpful, particularly in regard to my kids’ behaviours.

    I’ve found the best thing for my partner and I is to create a life for our family that feels right for us drawing on our values to guide us. Due to a lack of funds for the first few years of our kids’ lives we worked out the difference between need and want. This can be hard when all around you people are living so differently: getting pools, adding a second story, sending kids to private schools… While financially things are different now our (my) values aren’t. So freedom, harmony and empathy are really important. Unfortunately I don’t get the harmony thing when my two boys are around!

    I guess what I’m trying to say is work out your values; work out what is truly important to you and not base it on what’s important for others. And then try and live true to those values and authentically as you can and then maybe, just maybe, we’ll stop beating ourselves up.

    • Lisa following your values is what matters, I’m sure I have a blog on that too 🙂 I believe many of us have shocking days wher things just spiral and really life is like that, doowns and ups all the way. Thanks for taking the time to comment .

  14. Claire says

    Hi. I didn’t read all the comments but feel u r dead right. I have put extremely high expectations on myself which my hubby now expects too. His mum was amazing I am not. I amat a point where I just do the motions. I feel as though I forgot how to love my kids. I have no desire to play or even talk with them. Nothing is how I want it and all I do is fight. Worst is they are only 3&5. I feel like I am letting everyone down. How can I get that excitement and patience and understanding for them back? Any ideas???

    • Hello Claire, First of all thanks for visiting. I would try and stop comparing yourself to your MIL as your life is not her life. Perhaps take some time to write down what you want and also try and break the day up into moments, so it feels less overwhelming. Write down the things no matter how small that you appreciate. If you have been feeling very flat for a while, do you have a sympathetic GP you could talk too. You can contact me via the contact tab on the website and I can try and point you in some direction. Nx

  15. Jessica Yeo says

    No one ever gets it 100% right, we can only aim to do our best- what’s best for OUR family, not the rest of the worlds.

  16. What a great post. My mum raised 8 of us and constantly reminds us she didn’t have books or the internet to refer to. She thinks we make our lives more difficult by aiming for the perfection we ready about and trying to fix our childrens problems(teething, not sleeping, eating etc). She says “A baby is a baby.” and as far as she is concerned teething etc are not problems. They are just babies being babies. Ride with it, do your best, love your kids and before you know it your kids are adults. Don’t give yourself a hard time aiming for perfection. There is no such thing as a perfect mother but there are lots of fantastic mothers out there!!

  17. Just found you via kidspot – great post – thanks so much, really looking forward to reading more of your blog! Rach xx

  18. Just found your blog and this is the first post I have read as it caught my eye. I think I am way too hard on myself and think about it often. We should just do the best job we can and love our kids.
    I look forward to reading your blog often. Vxo

    • Vicki thanks for visiting I think we are far too hard on ourselves, when we are doing what we can, some days will be great others not so great and that is life. Enjoy as many happy moments and lots of breathing and cuddles with the kids. xx

  19. Hi Nathalie, thanks for sharing your experience and insights on mothrehood with such honesty. It helps everyone to know there are far too many challenges every parent faces on a daily basis and that sometimes doing the best you can is good enough.

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