In the legendary words of words of John Lennon, “Another year over, and a new one just begun.”
It’s 2023 and now is the time many of us feel the need to make a new start. Perhaps take up a hobby, lose those extra pounds or kick a bad habit.
As mothers ourselves, we know only too well the pressures parenthood can bring at the best of times. I currently have so much on my mind that I feel it might explode. Life is a constant juggling act of work, kids, chores, family, friends, free time (what’s that?), and I feel immense pressure (mainly from myself) to do it all. Add to that the societal ideology that with each new year we need to become bigger, better and achieve more; it’s enough to tip anyone over the edge.
So, this year I have decided that I am acknowledging what I am already accomplishing and working on myself only if it will improve my sense of fulfilment or increase my enjoyment. For example, I am very aware that after two babies, my body is a little “off track”, let’s say. Over the past three years, I have made several rather half-arsed efforts to lose weight, and each attempt has failed miserably because I’ve gone in too hard on myself and decided to cut out all pleasure (let’s be honest, a life without chocolate biscuits is no life at all!) In 2023, I am focussing less on what I need to lose and more on what I have to gain – a healthier and happier body that I can embrace even if it isn’t my pre-baby figure.
Having spoken to many mum friends, every one of them feels that they are failing in some way. It’s important to remember that we all face these struggles, regardless of how well others perceive we are doing. Stay at home mums may think they’re unsuccessful for not having a career, working mums often feel guilty for missing out on time with their children, those parents who try to create a healthy balance may take on too much and become overwhelmed; there are no easy choices in motherhood. This year, try to remember that you are not alone in these feelings (trust me, ‘cause I’ve been there!)
We can also torture ourselves with comparison. I try to remember that I am often comparing myself to an unrealistic, highly curated social media persona of the “perfect mother” with a gorgeous house, the angelic 2.5 children and a hunky hubby who makes my other half look like Shrek (no offence if you’re reading this husband). I am made to feel inadequate, albeit unintentionally, by someone I have never met and whom I know almost nothing about, except for what they choose to share; and therein lies the problem. I am gauging how I should be living my life based on something which, for the most part, is not real. For this reason, in 2023 I am being more restrictive with the accounts I follow to reduce the unrealistic expectations I place upon myself.
Ultimately, 2023 should be a year to acknowledge the challenges you face every day in being a woman and a mother. Celebrate yourself for navigating parenthood even when you feel you could be doing better. 2023 is the year I decide not to give myself more to live up to “just because”, but the year I make better decisions for me, and I would encourage other Mummas to do the same