Let’s be honest here. Motherhood is no walk in the park. It’s a total mind shift. It’s selflessness on levels that your prior self could not even comprehend. It is sacrificing your time, energy and body for tiny humans that will inevitably be the boss of you. Motherhood can also be messy, it can be raw, and it can be emotional. And then, in other moments, motherhood finds you enveloped in more love, pride and joy than you have ever known!
Motherhood is quite possibly one of the most beautiful yet challenging journeys you will ever go on. And, it’s ok for you to admit that it’s hard. It doesn’t make you a bad mother to admit this. I have realised that attaining that perfect balance is almost impossible. Unfortunately, comparison, the thief of all joy, comes knocking all too often as we find ourselves wondering why we can’t keep up with all the super moms on social media. Chasing that proverbial trophy would probably find many of us close to burnout, and it just isn’t worth it. Your family needs a happy and healthy mom, not a perfect one.
Our circumstances are ever-changing, the world is getting smaller, and information overload is so real! That’s the thing about perceptions vs reality; all we know for sure is our own truth. We can’t make assumptions on someone else’s entire picture by only seeing the highlights reel of their life. So, be gentle with yourself. There is no perfect way to mother. You have to figure out what works for you.
Being a mother in 2021 comes with its own unique challenges. Sending your children to school with a bottle of sanitiser, reminding them to socially distance and keep their mask on, comes with its own set of anxieties. Couple that with all the pressures facing the modern mom, and you could find yourself in quite the pickle. Personally, one of the hardest things I have had to deal with through motherhood is the constant worry about making the right decisions and the fear of judgment from other moms for those decisions. Only you will know what is best for your family. Sometimes, we have to let go of the expectations that society places on us.
Over the last year, as mothering has taken a sharp turn, I have had to develop a few coping mechanisms that help me manage the organised chaos.
My coping mechanisms for being a mother in 2021
- Write everything down.
Whether it’s calendar entries on your phone or a whiteboard up on your kitchen wall, being able to look at my week in full view helps me visualise my week ahead and mentally prepare for tasks at hand. With the increasing number of projects, homework, and various appointments, the easiest thing to do is just put it all on the calendar!
- Morning routines.
With my husband still working from home and being back at work, the mornings can become quite hectic. We try our best to keep it as simple as possible. Avoid anything that is very time-consuming, like washing hair in the morning. Don’t do this in the morning. We also tag team to get everything done on time.
- Online shopping.
If I can save myself a trip to the grocery store, it gives me about 45 extra minutes to spend with my kids. As a working mama who sometimes also has to work from home, the days can seem too short to get everything done. Online shopping for groceries buys me a little extra time in my week to spend time with my girls.
- Zero technology time.
We have implemented a zero screen time rule from about 6pm. With the year we have had, balancing online school and working from home, our reliance on technology has definitely increased. Now, as we ease back into what we consider normal, we try our best to cut down on technology, most especially for my 6-year-old. Technology- free time also helps us spend time together as a family, bonding over puzzles or games.
- Preparation is key.
There are ways to prepare for just about anything and everything. It just takes a little extra planning. I enjoy making my 6-year-old’s lunches every morning. Some of it, I have realised, I can prep the night before. I cut up fruits, vegetables and take out ingredients to make my mornings a bit easier. If you have a pre-planned menu for dinners, you can also prepare items like vegetables, sauces or even grate cheese beforehand. Pre-planned menus can also assist significantly in preparing your list for that weekly online grocery shop!
- Let go.
Sometimes we have to choose our battles and let go of the small stuff. We can’t control everything. Decide what’s most important to you and stick to your convictions on that. If my daughter wants to wear leggings with a hole on the knee today, so be it!
After spending the better part of a year confined to our house, I have realised the importance of a tidy space. Our home became our sanctuary and our safe space. Having kids in said space means that I am cleaning up the same toys approximately six times a day! In this case, teamwork is everything to ensure this mama isn’t getting frustrated with the constant tidying up. We have now started to include our six-year-old in the evening clean-up routine with age-appropriate tasks. Some days I might have to take advantage of her competitive streak or make it into a game to get cooperation, but hey, whatever works to get the job done!
- Take a moment for yourself.
Whether it’s an extra-long shower, a long drive listening to your favourite music at high volumes, a coffee with a friend or a pedicure. Pat yourself on the back and treat yourself to in whichever way you see fit. You deserve it! Never forget what an amazing mom you are. We don’t acknowledge this enough!
About the Author: Reevana Govender is an optometrist, wife and mom to two beautiful daughters, Mayil and Sharaya. Blogging started as an outlet to share her experiences with other like-minded moms. She launched her blog The Daily Reev in March 2019, and it has become her passion project ever since. She loves sharing her journey as a working mom, home and style tips, documenting her travels and all the activities she does with her girls.
Follow her parenting journey here: