Are you determined to be and do the best you can for the children you love?
Does this inspire you to set impossible goals for yourself?
When you don’t meet these goals, do you feel like a failure?
Try as I do with all my might to do and be more for these kids I love, I am "failing" constantly.
Motherhood has forced me into a state of vulnerability where I have had no choice but to acknowledge my imperfection. Nearly a decade and four kids into motherhood, I’ve become more comfortable with vulnerability.
I remind myself imperfection is a good thing. Science-based evidence and mothers who have walked this journey before me insist it’s ok to stumble, my kids will survive. The movement for moms to embrace imperfection is powerful and important, but I find that maternal instinct makes my attempt to "let go" a struggle:
There is a primal urge pushing me to shield and protect my children.
I must be a perfect mom so that my offspring won't fail or suffer.
Rationally, I understand all the reasons why I should not hover over my children. Still, maternal instinct is too powerful of a force to fight:
I simply cannot let go.
What I gather in openly acknowledging my tendency to white knuckle anything and everything I can about the motherhood experience is that I am not alone.
When motherhood happens, the most chill among us start getting a little nuts over things like nap time, nutrition, or the way we give birth. We all want to be the best we can for the kids we love. This urge is powerful, and what makes us one and the same regardless of our differences.
At the end of the day, we all want to be good moms. But what is a good mom?
There simply is no straight answer to this question and, I believe this ambiguity contributes to our struggles:
In motherhood there is no clear way to define success, but a million ways to fail.
Yes, failure is not only inevitable, it is abundant in motherhood. This reality is not easy to digest, but I'm here to tell you that we can use our experiences of failure and adversity to grow.
I'm hard at work on my next book, WHOLE in Motherhood, which draws upon current social and psychological research to explain HOW we can thrive BECAUSE OF what happens on our motherhood journey. In the meantime, make sure you subscribe to get my most recent eBook, On Resilience & Motherhood: A Journey from Fear to Strength:
These articles carry some of the themes emerging in the conversation I hope to begin about what it is to be WHOLE in motherhood:
Assad, A. (2017) 1 in 11 Women Suffer from Postpartum PTSD - And I'm Starting To Think I Was One Of Them. Babble.com
Assad, A. (2017) Let's Raise Kindness by Showing Up with Love. Huffington Post.
Assad, A. (2017). Showing Up With Love: The One Thing We Can Always Get Right In Parenting. ScaryMommy.
Assad, A. (2016). New Moms, Don't Mistake My Parenting Experience for Expertise. Scary Mommy.
Assad, A. (2016). Four Little Words My Pediatrician Told Me That Changed Everything. Babble.com (This article was picked up and republished by ABC News).
Assad, A. (2016). Change...The Only Constant in Motherhood. Huffington Post.
Assad, A. (2016). One Mother's Holiday Survival Guide. Positive Psychology News Daily.
Assad, A. (2015). I Didn't Believe in Rainbow Babies. Huffington Post.
I Strive to be WHOLE in Motherhood.