The Mind Games of Motherhood
Can I tell you a secret? I haven’t brushed my kids’ teeth in three days.
Are you judging? It’s okay. I know you are. I am too.
I am judging myself constantly as a mom. As I dared to type that raw motherhood truth out, I cringe at its honesty. I cannot help but feel like a failure. As if I am a lazy mom because somehow we have gone three days without brushing the sugar snacks off their pearly whites.
I am already stressed about my son’s dentist appointment in 9 days – what if he has a cavity this time? It would TOTALLY be my fault because he is two and I am supposed to be teaching him this habit. Then my brain immediately takes me to a scenario where he is 24 and has to have major dental work done because he doesn’t have a solid grooming routine that he picked up from his mother when he was a toddler.
Y’all pray for me.
Motherhood has manifested anxiety as a daily attribute of my personality. No, this diagnosis was not given by a licensed professional. I assigned the disease to myself after a quick Google search. Allow me to share my internet acquired knowledge with you:
Symptoms include stress that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event, inability to set aside worry and restlessness.
People may experience:
- Whole body: fatigue, restlessness, or sweating
- Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts
- Behavioral: hypervigilance or irritability
- Also common: anxiety, excessive worry, fear, feeling of impending doom, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling
Sources: Mayo Clinic and others.
“Stress that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event.”
I am certain that the stress and worry that takes over me when my kids haven’t brushed their teeth in three days would qualify as out of proportioned stress. But you know what – my kids have never had a cavity and always get perfect report cards at the dentist. Nevertheless, the mom guilt is massive and the mean girl that lives inside my head is loud!
I am constantly doubting my abilities as a mom. And that I am falling short of my own expectations, the ones that I placed on myself to make sure that I raise awesome humans. I feel mom guilt all the freaking time. The pressure of having someone else’s well-being AND future well-being literally depend on the everyday decisions that I have to make is IMMENSE! The weight of this job is real. Everything that I do has the potential to shape the person that these toddlers will eventually become. That is the heaviness of my duties as a mother.
I know that not brushing their teeth in three days does not have the ability to ruin their future selves. I can reason my anxiety down off the cliff enough to know that there are some babies in this world who have never even owned a toothbrush or have clean water to drink. I know that my babies are so fortunate to have the life that their daddy and I are providing for them and man, am I grateful for every single second of it.
Still, my momma anxiety is real. One moment I am confident in my strengths and abilities as a mom, and in the same breath, I am doubting my effectiveness. The constant stress inside of my brain is enough to drive a person mad! I am not complaining, I promise. I just take my responsibilities as a mother seriously.
I also own my shortcomings and recognize that if I failed them in some small way today, I too am learning and mastering this craft of raising humans and tomorrow is another day. In some small way, I think all the doubting that I do is helping me become the best mother that I can be. I think it is totally okay that I am constantly self-checking how I am showing up as a mother versus how I want to show up.
I think the biggest lesson I have learned as a mother is that my instinct is trustworthy. So if you find yourself buried in the pressure of motherhood, give yourself the grace that you so deeply deserve. Recognize the anxiety and self-doubt, and then do yourself a favor – let it go.