Overwhelmed mom quotes to encourage you when you feel like you’re drowning
In this post: Overwhelmed mom quotes for the exhausted, messy-bunned, leftovers-eating, LEGO-cursing mom in all of us.
I’m going to be honest, here. I typed in “overwhelmed mom quotes” in Google and the majority of quotes I found online were about how saintly mothers are, or how awesome it was to be a mom, or how funny mom life can be.
But that’s definitely NOT the full range of emotions you experience as a mother.
In fact, when I typed those words, autosuggest swiftly offered up this:
I’d say it’s safe to say that a large number of moms feel overwhelmed, unappreciated, overworked, and wonder, deep down, if they’re actually “a good mom”.
(Hint: if you’re wondering if you’re a good mom? You are.)
“Overwhelmed mom quotes” turned into romanticized quotes about the wonders of being a mom. (Not helpful if you’re feeling truly overwhelmed). Or how amazing the author’s mom was. (Again, that’s nice for them, but now I feel even worse, because I don’t feel wonderful right now.)
So I set out to find some quotes that felt better.
Now, I can’t deny that being a mom is one of my most treasured roles in life. So, I’m not avoiding the sappy quotes entirely in this list.
If you’re wanting to wax eloquent about your mom, or your life as a mom, some of these quotes will do the trick for a card or Instagram post. BUT I tried to make sure I included some quotes that spoke to the reality of being a truly overwhelmed mom. We’ve all been there. Less saccharine. More … salty?
In the end, it turned out to be a healthy mix of both. Enjoy!
Overwhelmed mom quotes for when you need confirmation this mom thing really IS hard
“A good mom has bad days & great days & normal days & overwhelming days & perfect days & trying days & supermom days & just being a mom days & a whole lot of love & real & crazy motherhood days. ” ― Rachel Marie Martin
“If you’ve ever retreated behind your bedroom door and cried in overwhelm, you might be an introverted mother.” ― Jamie C. Martin, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy
“Mothers are all slightly insane.” ― J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
“(24/7) once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.” ― Jodi Picoult
“Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are.”―Cheryl Lacey Donovan
“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” ―Barbara Kingsolver
“Thus far the mighty mystery of motherhood is this: How is it that doing it all feels like nothing is ever getting done.” ― Rebecca Woolf
“…moms, even good ones, sometimes lose it a little so as not to lose it all.” ―Susan Squire
“Being a parent is dirty and scary and beautiful and hard and miraculous and exhausting and thankless and joyful and frustrating all at once. It’s everything. ” ―Jill Smokler
“Such a mysterious business, motherhood. How brave a woman must be to embark on it.”―M. L. Stedman
“Motherhood brings as much joy as ever, but it still brings boredom, exhaustion, and sorrow too. Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his own individuality especially while you struggle to keep your own.” ―Marguerite Kelly
“People very often say to me, ‘How did you do it, how did you raise a baby and write a book?’ And the answer is – I didn’t do housework for four years. I am not Superwoman. And um, living in squalor, that was the answer.” ―J.K. Rowling
“HERE’S THE THING about motherhood. It exhausts you and thrills you. It kicks you in the butt, and the very next second makes you feel like a superstar. Most of all, it teaches you to be selfless.” ―Julianne MacLean
- Motherhood is hard
- Motherhood is glorious
- Motherhood is hard
― Lisa-Jo Baker, Surprised by Motherhood
“Mothers talk about sleep the way someone who is starving talks about food. ” ―Kathleen Kendall-Tackett Ph.D
“A mother continues to labor long after the baby is born.” ―Lisa-Jo Baker
“Motherhood is not for the faint-hearted. Frogs, skinned knees, and the insults of teenage girls are not meant for the wimpy.” ―Danielle Steel
“Motherhood is a constant battle of going to bed early so you can catch up on sleep and staying awake so you can enjoy some peace and sanity!” ―Comic Strip Mama
“Motherhood means I’m always a little bit awake, a little bit alert at all times.” ―Shonda Rhimes
“Motherhood is wonderful, but it’s also hard work. It’s the logistics more than anything. You discover you have reserves of energy you didn’t know you had.” —Deborah Mailman
“Motherhood is the exquisite inconvenience of being another person’s everything.” —Unknown
“Having children is like living in a frat house. Nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.” —Ray Romano
“Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing. ” —Ricki Lake
“Sleep at this point is just a concept, something I’m looking forward to investigating in the future.” —Amy Poehler
“A woman is like a teabag. You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
“Behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.” —Unknown
“Motherhood is the exquisite inconvenience of being another person’s everything.” —Unknown
“Becoming a mother makes you realize you can do almost anything one-handed.” —Unknown
“Moms are like buttons — they hold everything together.” —Unknown
“Mothers don’t sleep. They just worry with their eyes closed.” —Unknown
“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” — Franklin P. Jones
“Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot, and you’ll survive whatever is coming.” — Robert Tew
Stay strong mom quotes for the days when the going gets tough
“The phrase “working mother” is redundant. ” ―Jane Sellman
“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” — Barbara Kingsolver
“Perhaps it takes courage to raise children.” — John Steinbeck
“Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” — Marion C. Garretty
“If you’re a mom, you’re a superhero. Period.” —Rosie Pope
“May your coffee be stronger than your toddler.” —Unknown
“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had.” —Linda Wooten
“Sometimes even grown women need their mother’s comfort so we can just take a break from having to be strong all the time.” ― Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us
Overwhelmed unappreciated mom quotes for when you feel unseen
“We don’t lose ourselves in parenthood. We find parts of ourselves we never knew existed.” ― L.R. Knost
“A mother need only step into the shower to be instantly reassured she is indispensable to every member of her family.” — Lynne Williams
“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world. ” —Dr. Seuss
“I am not a has-been. I am a will be.” —Lauren Bacall
“Everybody wants to save the Earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.” —P.J. O’Rourke
What is a good mother quotes (for when you wondering if you are one)
“There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.” —Jill Churchill
“The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation.” —James E. Faust
“A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” —Unknown
Quotes for when you need to be reminded of your worth as a mom
“You are not ‘just’ anything Not just a woman Or just a friend A wife A partner Or just a mother You are a universe Made up of waves that brought life Stars that hold dreams Landscapes of home Rocks that will crumble but will always remain The winds gentle sway, and strongest roar You are someone’s ‘all’ And ‘all’ is not lost You are a mother But never, just” ― Jessica Urlichs, All I See Is You: Poems and Proses on Motherhood
“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list. ” —Michelle Obama
“Mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.” —Emily Dickinson
“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” —Unknown
Inspirational quotes for struggling moms
“Motherhood isn’t a typical love story, it’s the raw unedited version with all the outtakes, which is what makes it the most beautiful love story of all[.]” ― Jessica Urlichs
“There is nothing in the world of art like the songs mother used to sing.” —Billy Sunday
“The best medicine in the world is a mother’s kiss.” —Anonymous
“The days are long, but the years are short.” —Gretchen Rubin
“A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.” —Princess Diana
Quotes that prove motherhood sometimes IS a laughing matter
“Silence is golden. Unless you have kids. Then silence is just suspicious.” —Unknown
“Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.” —Unknown
“Nothing is really lost until your mom can’t find it. ” —Unknown
“Sooner or later we all quote our mothers.” —Bernard Williams
Quotes for when you feel judged or looked down on
“Don’t waste a second of your time convincing other people you’re worth loving.” —Atticus
“You are not responsible for other people’s opinions, feelings, or perceptions of you. They own that, not you.” —Shane Parrish
Calming quotes for when you’re feeling anxious
“Cultivate calm and stillness[.]” —Brené Brown
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” —Maya Angelou
“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” —Jodi Picoult
Overwhelmed mom quotes for when you don’t know what to do
“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” —Theodore Roosevelt
I won't look too far ahead It's too much for me to take But break it down to this next breath This next step This next choice is one that I can make So I'll walk through this night Stumbling blindly toward the light And do the next right thing —Frozen II, “The Next Right Thing”
Quotes to remind you of just how important your role as a mother is
“I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars. ” —E. M. Forster
“Acceptance, tolerance, bravery, compassion. These are the things my mom taught me.” —Lady Gaga
Being a mom can be overwhelming at times, but the quotes shared in this blog post serve as a reminder that many moms experience similar feelings and struggles. I hope you received some comfort and encouragement from them.
So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to read one of these quotes and remember that you’re not alone.
While you’re at it, take a deep breath and repeat after me, “Even though I don’t feel like it sometimes, I am a good mother.”
P.S. Don’t forget to give yourself a break and practice self-care!
Michelle Obama’s Best Quotes About Being a Mom – SheKnows
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When Michelle Obama was the First Lady, she often seemed like the fun class mom we all wished we could be and have: Self-assured, warm, and fully into whatever activity she’d been tasked with, whether by choice or by official duty. Now, after spending so much time reading her books, watching her documentary, and enjoying her interviews and speeches, we know that there’s so much more to the attorney-turned-politician’s-wife-turned-media mogul — and we’re taking the time to honor all the wisdom she’s shared about motherhood.
Barack & Michelle Obama Did Their Best to Keep a ‘Low Profile’ at Daughter Sasha’s College Graduation
As Michelle raised daughters Sasha, 21, and Malia, 24, in the public eye, we were able to get a glimpse of her mothering style, even with her and former President Barack Obama guarding their daughters’ privacy pretty vehemently. But she’s spent the past few years revealing more about the parenting that went on before they moved to the White House, as well as some behind-the-scenes moments once they were there.
Like any mother, she doesn’t feel like she did a perfect job. But when she looks at the young women Sasha and Malia have become, she should be satisfied with the people she raised — we know we admire her for it!
While promoting her memoir Becoming, Michelle opened up about the difficult journey she and Barack took to become America’s mom and dad. She discussed the hard work her own parents put in to give her and her brother Craig a happy childhood and a good education, and she revealed the steps she took to make sure her much more privileged girls wouldn’t grow up spoiled. Now that both she and Barack are looking to keep inspiring future generations, Michelle continues to drop wisdom about making sure our kids know love, freedom, and the drive to do good for others.
We’ve already gathered inspirational words of parenting wisdom from both Obamas, but we could continue to fill up dozens more pages with Michelle Obama’s best mom quotes — which is what we’re doing with some of our favorites here.
A version of this article was originally published in January 2021.
The Hardest Part of Parenting
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“As a parent, that’s a hard thing to come to grips with as your child grows up and is out there in that big, bad world, is that you can prepare and love them all that you can, and you still don’t have control. There are no guarantees that their life is going to work out, and something bad may happen. That is the hardest thing about parenting, is living with that truth.” — During a 2022 conversation with NPR
Evolving With Your Kids
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“You have to be ready for your kids to evolve. Who they are at 4 and 7 is not — and what they need from you — is very different from what they need from you as teenagers and then again as young women.” — During a 2022 conversation with NPR
Enjoying Every Stage to the Fullest
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“If you’ve laid a foundation of trust and honesty, every stage, I’ve found, is wonderful. It’s full. It’s exciting. I don’t miss any stage — I loved every stage of parenting my girls, but I wouldn’t go back to any of the stages… Now that they’re young women, and now I’m less of a day-to-day manager and more of an advisor, there’s a freedom to enjoy them as individuals, to watch them grow. ” — During a 2022 conversation with NPR
How Parents Made America Great
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“That’s the story of America: All those folks who sacrificed and overcame so much in their own times because they wanted something more, something better for their kids.” — At the 2020 Democratic National Convention
Taking Inspiration From Her Own Mom
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“When we were growing up, [my mom] always gave us the space to ask questions and share our ideas. And she always took us seriously, carefully considering what we had to say and responding with thoughtful questions, and plenty of encouragement. All along, she was empowering us to be ourselves, kindling the unique flame burning inside each of us. She laid out the blueprint for how I have raised my own girls.” — In a 2020 Mother’s Day tribute to her mom on Instagram
Instilling Responsibility Through Chores
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“We made sure they had responsibilities, and so, we had to do things like, institute rules that the housekeepers couldn’t clean the girls’ rooms, and that they had to make up their own beds, and have a set of chores. [When] we grew up … each of us had our own set of responsibilities. … I know I had to clean the bathroom, we each had to do the dishes.” — During a conversation with her brother, Craig, in an episode of the Michelle Obama Podcast
Slowing Down & Appreciating Life
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“This is like no other time in history, especially for our kids who are so used to being occupied and stimulated all the time. It’s forced us to continue to sit down with each other, have real conversations, really ask questions and figure out how to keep ourselves occupied without just TV or computers.
“It’s a good exercise in reminding us that we just don’t need a lot of the stuff that we have. We can do with a lot less, and I think that’s an important lesson I want my kids to understand. Be grateful for what you have and be ready to share it when the time comes.” — During a virtual conversation with Ellen Degeneres in 2020
What She Learned From Her Mother
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“It’s up to us, as mothers and mother-figures, to give the girls in our lives the kind of support that keeps their flame lit and lifts up their voices — not necessarily with our own words, but by letting them find the words themselves.” — In her 2019 Mother’s Day essay in People
Parenting Means Letting Go
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“Being a mother has been a master class in letting go. Try as we might, there’s only so much we can control. And, boy, have I tried — especially at first. As mothers, we just don’t want anything or anyone to hurt our babies. But life has other plans. Bruised knees, bumpy roads and broken hearts are part of the deal. What’s both humbled and heartened me is seeing the resiliency of my daughters. ” — In 2019 to Meghan Markle in British Vogue
Motherhood’s True Lessons
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“Motherhood has taught me that, most of the time, my job is to give them the space to explore and develop into the people they want to be. Not who I want them to be or who I wish I was at that age, but who they are, deep inside.
“Motherhood has also taught me that my job is not to bulldoze a path for them in an effort to eliminate all possible adversity. But instead, I need to be a safe and consistent place for them to land when they inevitably fail; and to show them, again and again, how to get up on their own.” — In 2019 to Meghan Markle in British Vogue
Miscarriages Are So Common & Still Painful
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“I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were, because we don’t talk about them. We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken. So that’s one of the reasons why I think it’s important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen.” — In 2018 on Good Morning America
Why Careers So Often Take a Back Seat for Moms
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“When you get married and have kids, your whole plan, once again, gets upended. Especially if you get married to somebody who has a career that swallows up everything, which is what politics is.” — In 2018 to Oprah in Elle
Rejecting the Patriarchy at Dinner
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“When it came to the home-for-dinner dilemma, I installed new boundaries, ones that worked better for me and the girls. We made our schedule and stuck to it. … It went back to my wishes for them to grow up strong and centered and also unaccommodating to any form of old-school patriarchy: I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with us.” — In her 2018 memoir, Becoming
‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama $25.99 on Amazon.com
Protecting the Optimism of Children
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“Kids wake up each day believing in the goodness of things, in the magic of what might be. They’re uncynical, believers at their core. We owe it to them to stay strong and keep working to create a more fair and humane world. For them, we need to remain both tough and hopeful, to acknowledge that there’s more growing to be done.” — In her 2018 memoir, Becoming
Put Yourself First — Yes, Yourself
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“When you have children, you have to be fiercely organized to get anything done. I learned that if I don’t put myself up on the priority list, somehow my kids will eventually get knocked down on that list.” — At the 2017 Obama Foundation Summit
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“When a father puts in long hours at work, he’s praised for being dedicated and ambitious. But when a mother stays late at the office, she’s sometimes accused of being selfish, neglecting her kids.” — At the 2016 Let Girls Learn event in Madrid
Our Kids Are Watching
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“With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are their most important role models. And let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as President and First Lady because we know that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls, but the children across this country, kids who tell us ‘I saw you on TV, I wrote a report on you for school.’” — At the 2016 Democratic National Convention
Fighting For Her Kids
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“I come here as a mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world — they’re the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future — and all our children’s future — is my stake in this election.” — In her 2008 Democratic National Convention speech
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Not perfect, but happy: how not to burn out trying to be a good mother
When I was preparing to become a mother, I read a lot — about pregnancy, childbirth, caring for a baby, proper parenting … So many instructions that need to be followed in order to raise an owner healthy and harmonious personality!
But how to memorize and apply them all in practice without burning out, without suffering from your own perfectionism and without losing yourself in a difficult and responsible job — motherhood? My friend, who already has a child, said a phrase that saved me from anxiety then and still saves me: “The main thing is not to forget about the resource. A happy mom is a happy baby.»
Sounds good, I thought. That’s what I wanted — to enjoy the process instead of endlessly sacrificing myself. Later, I discovered that the worldly wisdom of a friend repeats the principle of conscious parenting. Perfectionism in parenting can be not only not useful, but even harmful — for both mother and child.
Children come into our lives, and not vice versa
In modern society, it is customary to place the child at the center of the world. As soon as a woman becomes pregnant, she understands that her life will never be the same. This is partly true, but still there are nuances.
The birth of a baby does not mean that you have to leave the profession, going out, traveling for a long time and become one of those mothers who go headlong into the world of diapers, stop looking after themselves and being interested in anything else.
Children are extremely adaptive creatures: they need it to survive. And the child will learn to live in the environment in which he gets. If we create greenhouse conditions for it, then we will then have to constantly maintain them. Yes, and in life for such a person then it will be difficult.
If we provide basic comfort, resources for development, and love without fundamentally changing their way of life, the child harmoniously integrates into it and accepts this reality as an axiom.
Every day I try to set aside a special time when all my attention is devoted to the baby — we read, play, laugh and give each other undivided attention. But during the day I have a lot of things to do — home, work, meetings … We also often do them together, even if she just watches me.
Progress in helping mothers
Now there are many devices that make life easier for a young mother and allow her to continue an active lifestyle from the first months after childbirth. While my daughter plays in the baby lounger, I cook and do laundry while describing my actions to her or listening to an audiobook. Then I take a sling — and we go shopping or visit friends.
And if you equip the room according to the Montessori system, then the child quickly learns to play on his own, giving his mother precious minutes of rest.
These simple tricks not only reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression, but also give your baby the great sensory stimulation that is so needed in the first year of life.
Why it pays to be a good enough mother
Moms get tired, they have things to do, and they can’t always be 100% physically and emotionally present with their baby. The good news is that this is not necessary for the well-being of the child. Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott developed the concept of the «good enough mother» that has already become a classic.
My psychoanalysis teacher even once said that his book is the only thing every parent should read. Promising, isn’t it?
A good enough mother takes care of the child and responds to his needs by about 70%. For example, she does not always immediately run up to the baby when he cries, but first finishes the job, allowing him to wait a minute or two — if, of course, nothing threatens him.
She also sometimes makes mistakes in interpreting the needs of the child, and this is also normal, even necessary. What it gives — little by little, in microdoses, the baby learns frustration, discovering that the world does not revolve around him. So he gradually prepares for an independent adult life.
Mask yourself first
There is a famous rule in parenting: put the mask on yourself first, then the child. First of all, mom should take care of being in the resource. And for this, she needs time for herself, when she gives the baby to someone and does what fills her.
An exhausted and angry mother still cannot give much. Yes, and the child will feel her negative state and, most likely, become capricious. I feel it well in practice. When I push myself, I’m not good at giving love and attention to my daughter. I’m angry, it’s hard for me to smile at her, I don’t have the strength left for a passionate game.
If I organized the day correctly — I found time for yoga, meditation, my favorite thing, or just a few minutes of blissful idleness, then I meet her with sincere joy and a desire to spend time together.
This approach requires some efforts and costs: you need to agree on the division of responsibilities with a partner, if possible, find assistants (a cleaner, a nanny), pick up quick recipes for simple and healthy dishes, organize a child’s sleep competently, and master the principles of time management. But for me it is the basis of happy motherhood.
What science says
One more little secret: modern science disproves a direct connection between a happy childhood and a successful person in the future. Shocking? But what about the recommendations for mindful handling of children? Doesn’t all this matter? It has. It’s just that what kind of life our children end up living depends on many factors — their innate nature, the various events and meetings that await them.
Researchers liken this to the famous phenomenon of a butterfly flapping its wings, causing tiny fluctuations in the air. They, in turn, through a long chain of causes and effects, lead to a tornado on the other side of the Earth.
Our parenthood is the same flapping of wings. It is impossible to say exactly how and to what extent our actions will affect the future of the child. Yes, we try to unconditionally love him, and this is the main thing. But you should not strive to be perfect — stress will not add happiness to either mom or baby.
Children learn by example much better than words — so teach your child not about perfectionism and anxiety, but about an easy attitude to life and taking care of yourself.
Good enough mother
Good enough mother
: Reading time:
There is no woman in the world who would like to be a bad mother to her child. Wanting to be a good mom is okay. But what kind of «good mother» is she?
In addition to the obvious “everyday” side of upbringing (the child is dressed, shod, fed, supervised, not sick), there is a psychological side — how to make a child grow up happy? In the process of parenting, the mother is faced with the fear that her actions will harm the child in the near or distant future. Fear does not give a woman the moral right to make a mistake: she yelled, slapped, refused, got angry — and he has an injury for life.
Motherhood turns into an endless exam, where the price of a mistake is the child’s future.
Motherhood turns into an endless exam, where the price of a mistake is the child’s future. This increases the woman’s anxiety and prevents her from enjoying the time she spends with the baby. The situation is fueled by the level of psychological education of society — in any children’s or bookstore you will find shelves with literature on the «correct» upbringing of children. A woman is bombarded with a stream of information, both useful, objective and honest, as well as far-fetched, embellished. So what does it mean to be a good mother?
The term “good enough mother” was coined by the wonderful British psychologist and pediatrician Donald Winnicott. In his opinion, every mother herself instinctively knows what is best for the child. The main responsibility of the mother is to create an environment in which the child can develop a true and authentic sense of himself.
A good enough mother is not a perfect mother, and, more importantly, does not strive to become one.
A good enough mother is not a perfect mother, and, more importantly, does not aspire to become one. She knows that she can get tired of the child, get angry, punish, prioritize her own interests and desires, refuse the child, demand obedience, and not feel guilty on any point. It is important that the mother meet more of the child’s needs most of the time, but not all of the needs all the time.
How to become a “good enough mother”?
There is no «how to be a good enough mother» algorithm, but there are a few steps:
- Don’t read parenting literature. Yes, there are developmental features common to all children, but each child is unique, and each needs an individual approach. The way YOU know and feel the baby, no one knows him, especially a foreign author who worked several decades ago. If, for example, you understand that feeding by the hour is more suitable for a child, and not “as he asks”, then do it.
- Relax. Stop comparing yourself to other mothers (especially celebrities). Stop trying to achieve the impossible — to become the perfect supermom. Accept the fact that a child cannot be protected from everything bad. He will get sick, feel pain, suffer, be sad, angry, he may not grow up as a successful or happy person, he may become depressed, he may have bad habits — but this is not your fault. I am not talking about a complete amnesty and removal of responsibility from parents. I say that limiting cartoon viewing in childhood is not related to alcoholism in the future.
- The quality of time spent with parents is more important for a child than the quantity. Do not be afraid to mind your own business and spend time on yourself, but be always ready to return to the child and take the side of his interests if circumstances so require.
- Talk to your child about feelings, about him and about yours. Tell your child when you are angry or annoyed about his behavior (behavior, not the child), explain why. Talk to your child about your fears — he must understand that adults are also afraid (and not always only for children). Put into words strong childhood emotions: “I see how angry you are with me”; «You were very scared»; “You are very offended that the guys don’t take the game, you want to leave.”
- Make believe that you are on his side. Create a reliable psychological rear for the child — a firm knowledge and confidence that no matter what happens, no matter how he behaves, no matter what difficulties happen in life, there is a place (home) and people (parents) who are always on his side, always will accept and come to help if necessary. Do not reject the child when he asks for help (even if before that he himself rejected this help), console in moments of sorrow, do not doubt his «normality» and «goodness», do not compare with anyone, accept and support.
Can he still strive for the ideal?
Every practicing psychologist admits that long-term therapy «rolls» into working with the client’s basic needs that have not been met: security, affection, acceptance, protection. At the same time, clients can have a secure childhood, and parents, in general, were not bad. But something was still missing, finer settings…
It turns out that what an adult who has been working with a psychologist for a long time lacked not toys, clothes, or summer camps in childhood, but acceptance, trust, and knowledge that «you good and you’re all right.»
Gradually it becomes clear that what the client lacked in his childhood was not toys, clothes or summer camps, but acceptance, trust and knowledge (as Virginia Satir says) that «you are good and everything is all right with you.» This knowledge can only be given by a mother who is confident in herself and her upbringing, who knows and understands the child.
Such a mother has nothing to do with the image of the «ideal mother» broadcast by the media — always a joyful, well-groomed, radiant, kind, smiling woman. The TV mom’s kids don’t spit food, they ask to go to the museum themselves, and they don’t dream about a tablet. Fortunately, the reality is not like that. Children are capricious, disobedient, lazy, hooligans, but this does not make them bad in the same way as anger, discontent, selfishness, exactingness are not signs of a bad mother. To strive to be the perfect mother is to die in pursuit of the horizon, an unattainable ideal that a child does not need for a happy and healthy growing up. Children do not need ideal mothers — they do not reflect the real picture of the world.
Parental function — to give the child a basic sense of security (future relationship with the world), secure attachment (future relationship with people), acceptance (future relationship with himself), protection (future ability to survive difficulties). An additional important factor is the understanding and recognition of children’s emotions and experiences: the mother makes it clear to the child that he can experience strong negative emotions, and this does not destroy her. What do we see? How mothers are offended by three-year-old children when they do not want to share toys in the sandbox.
Until the age of 9, all the child’s problems (except for direct trauma) are a reflection of problems and difficulties in the family.
A woman brings into motherhood the psychological baggage of a «pre-mother» life: an insecure woman does not make a confident mother. If psychological problems were not resolved before the birth of the child, because they did not cause much discomfort, the period of motherhood can actualize and aggravate them. In some cases, you need the help of a specialist — a psychotherapist.
Because of problems with a child, it is customary to run to a child psychologist to «fix» the baby. The subtlety lies in the fact that until the age of 9 there are practically no children’s problems (with the exception of trauma — the child has experienced violence, severe stress, a terrorist attack, a catastrophe). The child is in such a strong symbiotic relationship and dependence on a significant adult that most of the problems are not his at all. A child’s problem behavior is a symptom of problems or difficulties in the whole family. This is where a family psychologist can help.
When should you seek help from a specialist?
To a child psychologist after strong negative events in the child’s life: an accident, prolonged hospitalization without adults, violence, death of a loved one, catastrophe.
To a family psychologist — when the child’s behavioral difficulties «turn on» the rest of the family: spouses quarrel over the whims of the child, grandmother goes to the hospital after every weekend she spends alone with her grandson, jealousy between siblings (siblings), departures from home, eating disorders, childhood depression.
Individual help from a mother’s psychologist — postpartum depression, if the child often causes a strong emotional affect (you want to hit him, leave him in the park, hurt him), overprotection of the child, a feeling of dislike for the child, «drowning» in motherhood (loss of other interests, desires, ambitions), a severe illness of the child, as well as the birth of a child with developmental features.