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I think it’s inevitable at one stage or another, we ask ourselves, “How to be a good mum?” While it seems simple, with so much information about what a “good” mum looks like, the answer is not always straightforward. At least, that’s what I’ve found and the feedback I get from my beautiful clients. That’s why I wanted to share the 15 lessons I’ve learnt from motherhood and the things that have helped me to be a “good enough” mum, by my standards, most of the time.

Lessons motherhood has taught me:

1. Your relationship with your partner changes

If I remember the early days of parenthood, the impact on our marriage was enormous, especially when my twins were babies. The sleep deprivation, the rare alone time and the lack of communication changed our relationship dramatically.

If it wasn’t for a friend who reminded me, “This will pass. It’s just a phase,” we may not have made it. So if you’re in the trenches, tired and strung out, keep telling yourselves you love and appreciate each other. You’ll get through this; things will change again.

2. Consistency is hard, but oh-so-important

Even though I’m not naturally a consistent person and find it hard, for me, it’s essential toward being the mother I want to be.

Consistency in routine
Consistency in providing boundaries
Consistency in discipline
Consistency in my energy and how I show up for my children

I find consistency provides stability for my children. They know what to expect and that I’ll follow through with whatever I say. That said, I also give myself permission for flexibility when it’s needed!

3. Things don’t magically change when your baby’s three months old

I remember people saying, “You just need to get to three months, and things will get easier”. I clung to this idea for dear life but sadly discovered it wasn’t true. While twelve weeks wasn’t the magic number, it eventually got easier for me. So, set realistic expectations and remember every baby is different. Sometimes they’ll settle at three months, some at four months, others at six months or later.

4. I have a deeper understanding of myself

I could never have imagined the way motherhood would help me understand myself. I cruised through my twenties, focusing on my career, having fun and doing whatever I wanted. Then when I became a mother, I was forced to face myself, unpack my beliefs and deal with some uncomfortable truths. What a delight this journey of self-discovery has been, and I hope you also experience this through motherhood.

5. Sleep deprivation is huge

Whoa, did I underestimate the sleep deprivation from being a mother? I knew it would be challenging; I didn’t realise how much. And I didn’t acknowledge sleep deprivation’s effects on me for years. What a lesson it’s been to understand ‘baby brain’ is real and affects our physical well-being just as much as our mind. And that it’s ok, normal and never something to apologise for.

6. Keep doing what brings you joy

Our plates are overflowing as parents, and it can feel like there’s no space for anything else. When we were going through infertility, I hit a pause in my life, which ultimately caused me to become very unhappy. And I did it again in early motherhood. While it can feel like the “right” thing to do, eventually, it starts to wear you down. So while it’s been challenging to balance everything, a lesson I’ve learnt is to find time for the things that bring me joy.

7. Matrescence is very real

I wish I had known about matrescence when I was a new mum. Knowing this information would have helped validate many of my feelings around the identity shift I experienced after having my first child. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it describes the physical, emotional, hormonal and social transition we experience when we become a new mum.

8. Housework is not motherhood

Unfortunately, for many people, there’s still the notion that housework is motherhood. But let’s call BS on this outdated narrative. Housework is a job. It’s a domestic role. It’s a task, and it’s an activity. It is certainly not a mother’s sole responsibility. Sure, housework may be part of our role as a woman and a mother, but it does not define us. If your house is messy, this does not make you a bad mother!

9. Find a community for help and support

Whether it’s a mother’s group, an online community, or a therapist, having external support other than your partner is essential. Sometimes we feel like we’re going mad comparing ourselves to others. It’s not until we sit down and talk to other mums that we think, “Oh, this is normal”.

10. It’s ok to have conflicting feelings

Often we think in terms of all or nothing. If we’re thinking or feeling one way, we may not give ourselves permission to think the opposite is also true. There have been so many times in my life as a mum when I’ve thought, how can I feel grateful yet overwhelmed simultaneously? You can love your child to the moon and back and still feel frustrated at them. You can love being a mother and detest the day-to-day grind. Whatever you think, it’s ok (and normal) to have conflicting emotions.

11. Your strength knows no bounds

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pushed past my limits since becoming a mum. Times when I’ve felt so exhausted I didn’t think I could survive, and I kept going. For example, when my kids and I’ve been sick at the same time, and I’ve wondered how on earth I can go on”? Or when I’ve had such poor mental health and just felt like running away. But I pushed through, asked for help, and continuously found strength I didn’t know I had.

12. You are normal

If I had a dollar for every time, I asked myself, “Is this normal”? I’d be a millionaire. But as soon as I started sharing my thoughts, I realised I wasn’t alone, and yes, “I am normal”. Whatever you are going through, thinking or feeling, someone’s most likely thinking the same thing. That’s why I wrote The Art of Trying, to help other women who are trying to conceive that whatever they’re thinking or feeling, it’s normal.

13. We learn together with our children

One of the most beautiful surprises of parenthood is learning our children are our best teachers. How we show up to them is how they will show up to us, and they are the best indicator of how we are going. And not to blame myself or not to pressure myself around that, but just to be aware of it and to go, ok, and now that I realise this, what do I need to do about it?

14. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” mum

With so much pressure and expectation from society around motherhood, we’re constantly asking, “Are we a good mum?” Some people will nearly kill themselves trying to live up to these expectations. That’s why in my coaching program, Illuminate, we dive deep into the beliefs and the stories around who we think we should be and what we should do.

15. Everything is a phase

Everything changes and evolves as a parent. Remember that when you’re going through challenging times, you’ll get through it, and things will change again for the better. Take comfort that everything is a phase, good and bad.

Did you find this helpful? I’d love to hear your greatest motherhood lessons so far. Feel free to share the lessons you’ve learned below, and if you need support, get in touch to see how I can help you create a life in which you thrive!

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