Every now and again you will come across an older generation person who will want to add their two cents worth about how there was no postnatal depression when they were a mother and how they just had to get on with it and not keep complaining about all this emotional stuff we now go on about in today’s society.
While that may be true for those times (and I suspect there were probably more mothers than there are now silently suffereing), these comments are irrelevant.
You see I believe that we are stuck in a generational gap that is confusing us mums. Instinctively as humans we thrive on community acceptance and approval, wanting to fit in and with all the current media exposure, we develop the need to get life right in order to feel worthy.
Place these instinctive needs into the area of motherhood and you might wonder. How exactly do you get motherhood right?
The problem is that on one hand you have the way we saw our parents interact with each other. Most probably we saw our mums still doing most of the housework and tending to their kids. They probably didn’t work, or at least didn’t while you were really young and the male of the house was the sole breadwinner and treated with a hierarchy to be obeyed and respected, even to the detriment of your mother’s needs.
Now this is not always the case. I’m just generalising for the purposes of this lesson. If this wasn’t the case for your mother and she happened to ‘break the mould’, I would suspect that it definitely was the experience of her mother (your grandmother) to obey and dote on her husband and do all the child raising.
It has not been that long since this family dynamic was considered the norm.
However, in this day and age, we have now been conditioned to believe that women are a lot more powerful (and useful) than we orginally were. Society is realising that women are the queens of multi-tasking, organisation, compassion and business ability, so now we are being taught that we should be able to pursue whatever it is that we want to, while still raising our children and tending to the household needs.
In between these two generational extremes, you may find a mum who is trying to ‘have it all’ and feeling very stressed in the process. All with the same underlying theme of acceptance, approval and fitting in.
In the old days, there was more likely to be external support surrounding mums too. Other mums who were not working could get together and have coffee while the kids played. The mums who didn’t work could help them to raise their children. Often families lived in a close proximity to one another, rather than continents away from each other, so there was most often support there.
Not only was a mother’s life simple in the old days (raise your children and take care of your home and husband), but there was a lot more support.
Now fast forward to the average mother in today’s society and you find families living away from any family support, full-time working mums with kids in daycare, dads working hard too, the cost of living has gone up exponentially and the pressure to be, do and have in life in order to be deemed ‘successful’ is at its all time high.
What’s worse is in the mix of all of this achieving and juggling come the emotions. Guilt over not being there for the kids all the time (like we’re supposed to from the old days’ conditioning), resentment over all the household duties to keep up with (also a conditioned belief from the old days that it’s the mother’s job) and sheer exhaustion from lack of rest, relaxation and good old fashion fun, No wonder mothers are stressed.
Stress is growing in the area of motherhood because there is too much pressure (largely coming from ourselves) to do too much and we need to slow down and pull things back into perspective.
If this is you trying to juggle everything, or even feeling stressed because you aren’t one of those mothers ‘doing it all’, then it’s time to implement the Mind TRACK to Happiness process.
Take notice of what you are thinking about your current situation first (step one – thoughts). If you are the mother who is trying to juggle it all, try to become aware of your thoughts about why you are working so hard. What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to live up to the expectations of others, or the way you believe you ‘should’ be? Are you trying to gain notoriety, respect or status (all with the real pay off of feeling worth-more)?
If you are a mum who is feeling like she is missing out on all that career stuff and is feeling stressed because of that, have you pinned your self-worth to this idea of the ‘super mum’ from today’s conditioning and feeling like the old school mum of the old generation now makes you worth-less?
The reality is (step-two) that nothing makes you more valuable than just being you living your day to day, so stop and think about what it is you really want (step three – aim).
Take some time to enjoy your life instead of trying to live up to the shoulds and coulds of the conditioning of the general popular (whether current or old thinking). Consciously think about what it is you want out of life. How would you like to create your life?
Think about how much time you would like to spend in each area of your life (motherhood, work, fun, relationship) and then go about resourcing how to get that life (step four – choices), and create your plan for getting there (step five – know your plan & action it).
It is so common for us to get stuck in the normality of life, thinking that this is ‘just the way life is’, when there are millions of people out there who are living the lives they want with the balance they are looking for, not the balance that they think they ‘should’ have in their life.
Life is about choices. Choices are goverend by the priorities you have in every moment. Priorities are governed by your beliefs. When you assess what it is you want and why you want it, then create a plan to achieve it, life becomes a lot simpler.
It becomes even simpler too when you take out the self-worth component.
Your life is like artwork. You can buy it ready made, visions and thinking from someone else’s mind, or you can go out and find the blank canvas, look for the best paints to use (resourcing the options to get what you want), learn how to paint and then paint the picture you see in your head for yourself. Either way the choice is always yours.
You can follow the path of another because that’s what you think you should do, or you can consciously plan the life that you want and then work on how you are going to achieve it, along the way, learning some valuable lessons about life and always implementing the 100% self-worth rule of detachment.
One final thing to say about creating the life that you want to have: You don’t have to do it alone.
In amongst all this need to succeed and be seen as the supermum who does it all and has it all, there is an unspoken and ridiculous rule that you have to do everything yourself.
Don’t be afraid of asking for help. Do you know of any highly successful person that has said that they owed their success only to themselves? No way! For every accolade presented to any music artist, actor or any other high profile person in the word, one of the first words that come out of their mouth when giving their acceptance speech are…”I’d like to thank……”
Achievement doesn’t happen because of one person. It happens because many people work together to help each other out. This is how the world works. This is what makes all of us worthy. Ask for help and also give it in return, for this is what you are doing anyway in life, so you might as well be deliberate about it.