As brand new mothers, I think we all imagine what being a mother will be like. Sure, we’re terrified but we also believe in our heart that we’ll genuinely enjoy at least most of our motherhood journey.
But what do we do when enjoying motherhood doesn’t come as easy as we thought it would?
When the days are too long and at the end of each one we feel spent. When we start focusing on all the things we or our kids do wrong instead of giving ourselves and them the grace that’s needed most.
Now I’m not saying we don’t enjoy being mothers. I love being a mother to my three amazing kids and I honestly wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything else in the world. I’m sure you feel the same. It’s just that being a mom isn’t for the faint of heart.
And being a happy mom all the time is nearly impossible and unrealistic but it is very possible to start finding joy in motherhood today.
Here’s the trick…you first need to know if you’re making one or more of these huge joy-sucking mistakes. Because your joy matters. It matters to you and it matters more than you can imagine to your family.
How to Enjoy Motherhood Starting Today!
Why is joy in motherhood so important anyway?
Joy helps remind us that there’s a greater purpose for motherhood than the day-to-day mundane tasks right in front of us – bathtime, cooking, driving kids around, helping with homework, changing diapers, breaking up fights, and so on.
And as the saying goes, “the days are long and the years are short” so we should at least try to enjoy those years and really make meaningful connections with our kids.
There is no greater calling than to be a mother...no matter how you came to be one. Raising, loving, inspiring, teaching, and guiding these precious little and big ones is both a blessing and a privilege.
That’s why it’s our responsibility to keep our joy tank filled as much as possible because when we’re lacking joy, we tend to turn into “mom-sters” that no one wants to be around.
When we’re low on joy – we’re usually high on irritation, crankiness, and can feel less motivation to be present and connected with our kids.
One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 15:13 and it perfectly sums up God’s desire to fill us up completely with joy and peace as a result of trusting in Him.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13
God is fully invested in our joy as moms!
Before we move on to this list I want you to know right now, this is not about fighting against what we can’t control and forcing positive thoughts. No, it’s about surrendering what we can’t control to Christ and trusting Him with those things and, then making a decision to choose joy in what we can.
Below are 5 pitfalls that I and many other moms all over the world and in every culture imaginable fall into along this motherhood journey. Let’s see how many you can relate to.
1 – We Don’t Concentrate on Connection
When we’re busy raising our kids so much of that time is spent “doing” all the things and putting out all the fires. It’s super easy to prioritize managing tasks over managing hearts.
What do I mean by managing hearts? It’s simple really…I believe we have a greater purpose in raising our kids and that is winning their hearts. When we win our child’s heart, we’ve earned true connection that’s designed to last a lifetime – not just while they’re living at home.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the everyday business of life that we forget to keep connecting with who our kids are and who they are becoming. Learning their interests, their opinions on life, and just hearing their heart helps us to feel a sense of connection which is the birthplace of joy.
2 – We Let Comparison Dictate our Value
Whether we compare ourselves to the perfectly polished momfluencers on Instagram or the image of the type of mom we always thought we’d be – it sets us up for disappointment every single time.
Don’t allow the highlights and good times of other moms make you feel like you’ll never measure up. You are unique and wonderfully made by God to be called mom. You were perfectly designed to be the mother to your kids.
And if you feel like you don’t quite measure up to the vision of motherhood you had for yourself in your early days…that’s OK. If there’s something you know you need to change – ask for God’s help, do the work, and change it.
But if you secretly wish you were quieter, slimmer, more fun, less introverted, or anything else just stop it. Accept and love who you are – the way you are.
3 – We Focus on the Minutes over the Moments
Let’s face it, every moment of motherhood isn’t enjoyable. Wiping little hinnies and runny noses isn’t glamorous. And as mothers, we can find ourselves secretly counting how many years we have left of kiddos being in our house and then quickly switching right back to wishing we had more time!
At bath time – the activity we do every.single.day. – we can easily slip into counting how many minutes till we can pull the drain and get those kids tucked into their beds so we can start our own wind-down routine for the night.
But I want to challenge you to stop counting down the minutes until this or that. And start capturing the moments right in front of you.
Really be intentional about being present in the moment and really “seeing” your kids. When I do this…it’s kind of magical because we’ve programmed our brains to not do this.
I remember how when my middle daughter was born I decided while I was busy feeding her, I’d use that time to scroll on social media and get “caught up” but when my son (my third and last baby) was born I decided to keep my phone out of reach and take in the moments that go by way too fast.
What I learned was that those “soaking in” moments are memories that last a lifetime for me and was time well spent! And I can’t remember a single social media post that was worth stealing away the precious moments with my newborn daughter.
4 – We Don’t Embrace the Season of Motherhood We’re In
This one can not be overstated. Motherhood is full of seasons and changes along the way and often we may find ourselves in several seasons all at once. For instance, I have a child starting high school, another starting middle-school, and the last one starting elementary school. I promise I did not plan that!
There are many of you with a new baby that needs time and attention but are also launching a brand new business that needs time and attention too. Or you’re finishing your graduate degree while working full time and raising hormonal teenagers at home.
The combinations and examples are endless because each of us are beautifully unique. But the one common thread is that these are all seasons that will eventually end and change into new seasons that require a new set of skills, adjustments, and boundaries.
Some seasons we never want to end while others we’d pay big money to be kicked out of our lives for good! In either case, we must practice doing two things very well for the survival of our joy.
The first is to stop allowing the negative self-talk to invade your every waking moment. The voice that whispers how awful of a mom you are every time you mess up or stumble along the way. This is where mom-guilt really gets its root.
And the second is to give yourself all the grace you need which is really the key to stopping the negative self-talk. Motherhood is hard and tricky and full of the unexpected which means we won’t simply know how to do it all the first time around or even the second or third!
Motherhood is a process!
5 – We Struggle in Silence
The last but not least pitfall is that we struggle alone, in silence. The shame we feel about not having it all figured out is what keeps us isolated.
I get so many comments from moms regarding my Calm Mom Blueprint and the Happier Mom Toolkit which both teach moms how to live a calmer way of life. And the number one comment I hear is how they no longer feel alone.
Shame had those moms feeling like they were the only ones struggling.
And that’s really the cornerstone to what I teach moms – you are not alone in this. God cares deeply for you and gives us so much wisdom in His Word that teaches us how to be calmer and more at peace moms.
If you’ve been struggling to enjoy motherhood, stop struggling alone. Start by seeking Christ about your struggles. He loves you with an everlasting love and below is Jesus telling us what He came to the Earth to do for each one of us.
“I came that they may have life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”John 10:10
That word “life” is actually translated as the absolute fullness of life. Wow! That sounds like joy to me.
In addition to talking to God about our struggles, we’ve got to find trusted people we can confide in also. Close friends, your small group, or a mom group are places you can share your feelings with. You’ll likely be surprised how many other moms feel like you do.
Having these conversations may or may not solve your specific challenges but you’ll likely feel less alone and realize you’re not the only one.
Let me Leave you with This…
Doing the work to really enjoy motherhood is a pursuit that you won’t regret. And one your family will be grateful for because they’ll finally have a mom who’s at her best.
If anything is worth your time and sacrifice…this is it. Are there any other pitfalls that I missed? Put them in the comments below and I may add them to my list!