Something no one ever told me before I became a mom was that there were crucial mentality shifts I’d need to make to avoid falling apart.
Did you know this? Or was I the only one that missed that?
And you know, maybe people did try to tell me but I was too arrogant to listen (I used to kinda think I had it all together…ha!). Either way, I really learned the hard way that I wasn’t as prepared for motherhood as I thought I was.
Of course, I didn’t go into motherhood thinking this. I actually thought that because I’d been a babysitter and a nanny for many years, I would have this thing down. I thought it wouldn’t be anything different than what I’d already been doing.
What I didn’t realize is that there’s a realm of emotions and thoughts that aren’t introduced to you until you actually become a mom. And as a nanny/babysitter/caretaker, it’s impossible to understand this because only motherhood can truly introduce you to this.
So needless to say, I spent much of my first two daughters’ early years struggling with hindering mindsets all day. I really wanted to enjoy being a stay at home mom because, after all, it’s what I’d always wanted to do! But because I hadn’t been mentally prepared, I would stay stuck in the same thought patterns over and over, wasting hours locked up in my own head.
It took me a lot of time (years) to get my thinking to align with truth…not to mention a lot of struggle! I mean, I would constantly text my husband while he was at work and tell him things like, “I can’t do this anymore” or “I’m leaving as soon as you get home.” Poor guy…he already had a high pressure job and I was adding more!
But this is a reality that I know many moms find themselves in. They don’t understand, like I didn’t, why things aren’t as they thought they would be and why the struggle is so real. That’s why today, I want to share with you five mentalities I believe every stay at home mom will need to embrace to avoid falling into mental traps and unnecessary guilt. I’ve also included actionable steps you can take to incorporate these into your daily life. May these hard-earned lessons serve to make your transition as easy as possible!
Mentality #1: You’ll have to learn to do things with interruptions
Before you had kids, you could go where you wanted when you wanted. You could spend hours browsing through store aisles, talk on the phone and concentrate, and think complete thoughts. All the while, you may have never realized that these simple things would disappear altogether from your first few years of motherhood and leave you confused, frustrated, and in extreme cases, wanting to quit.
Kids don’t know or care that you have things to do. They don’t care that you’re tired, out of shape, or broke. They’re only aware of their own needs, and when they need something, they make sure you know it! If you as a mama allow yourself to be upset, frustrated, or even angry about this, it can damage your connection with your kids and even make you lash out.
Being a mom introduces you into the world of doing things with interruptions. Even if you train your kids well, there’ll still always be things that happen to inconvenience you and your kids will still demand your attention at times. The best thing you can do is not only understand this, but also learn how to work along with the interruptions instead of letting them frustrate you. It’s something you grow into over time, and you’ll adjust if you allow yourself to. You don’t have to stop doing things because your kids are with you, and you can practice, little by little, inviting them into your life to do things with you.
Mentality #2: Learn to work with the constantness (it’s short-lived anyway)
I think this was what I had the hardest time with in my early years as a stay at home mom. It seemed like just when I wanted to sit down with my coffee and my Bible, someone would start crying. Just when I thought I could get a few moments to myself in the bathroom, four little hands would shove themselves under the door.
I learned that this is just the reality of living with kids. They’re constantly busy, constantly getting into things, constantly needing you, and the more kids you have, the more constantness! This becomes the norm for daily life, and the best thing you can do is, again, to understand and embrace this reality. I know this can be a real challenge for a new stay at home mom. You can also learn to create systems that can help automate areas of your life.
Also understand that this season, while it may last a few years, is really short-lived and I’ve actually heard that you’ll miss it!
Mentality #3: It’s not about you!
In Matthew 16:24, Jesus says that if we’re gonna follow Him, the first thing we need to do is deny ourselves. Why? Because we weren’t made for us, we were made for Him. And if we live for ourselves, it’s impossible to ever truly walk in love (which requires self-sacrifice) with our kids!
If you’ve been a mom for any length of time, then you know that your kids always need you. They need you to help them, give them things, feed them, change them, help them express their emotions in a healthy way, be understanding, comfort them, etc etc etc…
And if you don’t die to yourself, it can be very easy as a mom to start looking at how much everything is pulling from you, because it is. But when you wake up with the reality that your kids don’t owe you anything and that you’re here to love and serve them, it saves you from the trap of self-centered anger!
Mentality #4: You have no boss, so you’ll need to become good at self-managing
When you have a baby, it’s like you have to start at ground zero just to incorporate basic hygiene habits into your life again. I remember feeling accomplished if I’d brushed my teeth and showered by the end of the day!
Nobody will be standing over your shoulder all day monitoring your work, and you’re sure not working for a paycheck! You’ll have to scale way back and develop systems and routines. You’ll need to get good, once again, at simple things like brushing your teeth, taking off your makeup, and making a morning routine. You’ll need to make really good and basic systems and routines for yourself.
For this, I’ve created a resource called the Simple Systems & Routines Creator Pack. In it, you’ll learn how to set goals/vision for different areas of your life and your home, create simple systems around them, and incorporate them into your daily life so you can make sure your goals are being fulfilled. It’s a must-have for every mama who wants to do more than just survive motherhood!
Mentality #5: Your children will train you just as much, if not more, than you’re training them
No mom has it all together. As long as we’re in this body, we’re in the process of learning and growing.
It’s common for moms to feel guilty about things they did or didn’t do, and feel like they’re terrible moms. Motherhood has a way of bringing you face to face with your own shortcomings like nothing else can, and it can be downright overwhelming.
Understand and accept the fact that you don’t have it all together and you don’t have to. Lean on your Heavenly Father to help you, teach you, and bring you into alignment with truth. And lastly, don’t allow yourself to be judged by what you think other people are thinking about you and the way you parent. Commit yourself to be teachable, press into truth daily, and live from a place of prayer. Don’t get weary in this process because over time, you’ll see growth in yourself that only motherhood could have prompted!