Dear Circus Clown in Training,
First of all, I think your sign off says it all. Being a mother, business woman, significant other and all of the other myriad of things that we as women sign up for these days would make anyone feel like a Circus Clown that just hasn’t figured how to juggle yet. You’ve got a few things kinda figured out but you’re not all the way there yet and you forever feel like you’re dropping the proverbial ball.
Does it change? Does it get better? Well being the mother of a four year old does not an expert make, but being that I have been in the exact same situation as you – child strewn across my lap, too tired to sleep, scrolling through social media, missing my friends, avoiding the work that is piling up on my desk – I can definitively say, yes. Not only do things get easier as your child’s ability to understand and communicate develops, but you (hopefully) learn how to forgive yourself more, to be easier on yourself.
Having a business and being a newly single mother (going through a divorce didn’t make anything easier) I laid the pressure on myself super thick. I walked around riddled with guilt – I was dripping in it. It wasn’t until I started talking to other mothers, to my mother, that I started to give myself a little bit of a break. It was through conversations with women who had been through what I was going through that I was able to see through the darkness and start to find my footing.
Though I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, here are some tips I have gathered that have helped me get to where I am now, and that continue to help me when things get heavy.
- Take the pressure of a perfect balance away. There is no such thing! Life is ever changing, so is your child, so to think that you can create a completely balanced structured life is impossible. Some weeks you will feel like you’ve barely kept your head above water, but others will feel easy and full of peace. Cherish the moments of peace – you will be more prepared for the rough weeks if you do.
- Raising a healthy and happy kid is the goal so if you’re not happy, how can they be? Not that children aren’t an absolute joy, but spending time connecting with other adults, your partner and most importantly YOU should not be a maybe. Human connection with like minded individuals will bring you peace of mind, remind you of who you are outside of just Mom, and reconnect you with the beauty of the outside world.
- Follow people on Social Media who make you feel good. This may seem strange but if you’re only following people and Mom’s who only post perfection it might get to you over time. I know pretty pictures are an awesome source of inspiration, but so is the content. I follow people like Tracy Moore, Cat & Nat, The Glow and its co-founder Violet Gaynor who I can rely on for a daily dose of real mother reality and man is it a breath of fresh air!
- Give yourself a break. You can’t do it all and you shouldn’t want to. Look back to your younger self and think of how you lived without all of these pressures. Having a baby shouldn’t somehow make you a superhero of life (though it kinda does). Love yourself enough to know that you are instinctively doing your best and it will all work itself out. Loving yourself and forgiving yourself will allow you the freedom to make the best choices for you which are in turn inevitably the best choices for your child.
(P.S. Have questions? I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I always believe you can draw strength and inspiration from those around you. If I can help, I will! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask Coco” in the subject line, and let’s talk)