It’s no secret that your life changes forever when you become a mom. Routines change, your attitude changes and even your interests change. That isn’t a bad thing.
The early stages are rough, I get it! But motherhood doesn’t have to be complicated.
Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is hard but having a child can be a life-simplifier in some ways. It can help you prioritize your life, saving you energy and your sanity.
At the time I wrote this, I had one preschooler. Now I’m a mom of two. If you’re a new mom, trust me when I say that motherhood can simplify your life and it’s a good thing.
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Simplify as much as possible
You probably know how and have already prepared for being a mom. You’ve read all the articles and bought the books, gadgets, toys, etc.
These are all good things to help you mentally prepare and give you peace of mind, however, no article, book, or video can prepare you for real life.
Sure, videos on YouTube can give you a small snippet of real life for someone else but not for you.
So, what do I mean when I say simplify as much as possible?
What I mean is to let go of the expectations of what you think life as a mom should be.
The early years are going to be hectic. You will be tired and probably stressed out. This is typical for most moms, and I’ve been there and honestly, even today with growing children I still have my challenges.
There’s no denying that we change forever after having kids and so does our focus.
Simplifying is the best way to make motherhood a more enjoyable journey with the least resistance.
Now, it’s time for me to share the 5 things that I stopped doing after having a baby that made my life easier.
1.Stressing about the state of my home
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your home will never look the same after having kids.
If you don’t have the luxury of a cleaning service to regularly keep your home clean and tidy like most of us, it will be messy and cluttered – a lot. This might be a daily struggle for you, and it will be frustrating.
That said, please don’t compare your home to a home you see on social media.
You might be looking for some ‘inspo’ or a motivational boost but it’s not going to work, at least in the long term. You might discover that you can’t maintain or achieve what you see on social media.
Instead of enjoying your journey as a mom, you’re feeling inadequate and beating yourself up over a messy home. It’s just not worth it.
Enjoy motherhood as much as you can because you will realize how quickly time flies. Do you want to spend that flash of time stressing over a messy home?
Also, it is somewhat true that when you have kids you can’t have nice things.
The stuff you had in your home before kids are likely not very kid friendly. You are going to have to hide that stuff for a while if you don’t want it damaged or broken. Sorry.
At one point, I decided to let go of trying to preserve a pre-mom home. And I feel so much better. Good news. It does get easier, and you can start incorporating nice things over time as your kids age.
The minute you feel insecure about how clean or perfectly decorated your home is, remind yourself that this is the season of life for imperfection and some chaos.
It’s normal and it will get better over time.
2.Making elaborate from-scratch meals
Sometimes I enjoy making meals from scratch. I don’t have anything against it but after having kids I learned quickly that it’s not always feasible.
If making meals from scratch brings you joy, do it. But if you’re overwhelmed and are struggling with the demands of motherhood, you can forgo from-scratch meals.
It’s okay, really. It doesn’t make you a lesser mom.
There are many ways you can get healthy and delicious meals on the table without being stuck in the kitchen for an hour or more.
If you want to be more adventurous in the kitchen, it might be best to wait until you are in the right season of life for you to do so.
By not making elaborate meals, you have less prep, less clean up, and a lot more energy. This will be extremely valuable to you during times when you need to focus on other priorities.
3.Worrying about my appearance
Many moms experience significant changes after childbirth. Not just mentally but physically.
We live in a society where we prize the mom who can “bounce back” with six-pack abs in as little as 6 weeks postpartum.
This might be an extreme example, but you can’t deny that this is a significant problem moms face today.
When you look at what’s in the media, what do you see? A million transformation stories of rapid weight loss. Or the fashionista mommies sporting tiny clothes that appear untouched by the ravages of pregnancy.
The dramatic changes moms face postpartum can make a mom feel insecure and even bitter.
It’s hard to look in the mirror and see a different person from what you are used to seeing.
I’m not going to say it’s easy to not worry about your appearance. Even today, seven years after the birth of my first son, I still struggle with how my body has changed.
In the beginning, I wanted to lose weight as fast as possible. Easier said than done, I’ll admit.
Thinking back, I wasted a lot of my mental energy on feeling bad about the way I looked.
Now, I focus on how I am treating my body.
- Am I prioritizing self-care?
- Am I fueling my body (nutrition) for better overall health
- Am I getting adequate sleep?
- Am I engaging in activities that uplift me?
These are simple things, but they matter a lot more than just your appearance. It affects how you feel and how you function every day.
When you look at it from this perspective, you are not allowing yourself to get sucked into the “bounce back in 6 weeks!” lie.
Instead, you will progress in your motherhood journey in more valuable and fulfilling ways.
4.Feeling obligated to entertain my children 24/7
When the baby stage is over, a new stage begins. Your child(ren) will be much more active and want to play non-stop. This, of course, is completely normal. Play is an important part of a child’s development.
The problem is not that they are more active but your child’s expectations of you being their 24/7 playmate.
They can’t help it but for a parent with a ton of responsibilities, being able to entertain your child when they demand it, is not possible.
Don’t feel bad, if the only time you can carve out for playtime right now is a few minutes, that’s okay.
At around the age of 4, my oldest would get bored very quickly. I was always looking for exciting things for him to do. I searched in books and online for activities he would engage in, I got the supplies from the store, and I set up the playroom for the activities.
After all that prep work, he engaged in the activities for maybe a total of 15 minutes. Yes, it’s better than nothing but after that, he was asking for more. More, and more.
If you allow it, you can guilt yourself into appeasing your kids whenever they demand it. They will get bored and that’s okay. Boredom is not a condition that needs treatment.
In fact, it’s healthy for kids to experience boredom and engage in independent play.
The Child Mind Institute explores the benefits of boredom and that it helps kids develop valuable skills like problem-solving.
I learned that my child won’t crumble to pieces if I don’t play whenever he asks.
If you are feeling guilty because you can’t play with your child whenever he/she wants and you can’t sustain the endless supply of fun activities, you can let it go. It will be okay.
Your child will continue to thrive without your constant intervention. Your effort is better spent on finding ways to balance daily activities that foster healthy habits.
5.Doing it all myself and not asking for help
When you start your journey as a mom, it can be tempting to try and do everything yourself.
The reality is that you can’t do it all on your own.
Unfortunately, few moms have a village to help them in their journey.
When I became a mom, I often felt guilty for seeking help when I needed it. Thinking about it now, it bothers me because mothers shouldn’t have to bear all the burden, but they still do.
It’s unfortunate that moms continue to face an unrealistic standard. There’s pressure on moms to do more than they should while Dads are praised for the basics of parenting like changing diapers.
This is a good article with real moms sharing their stories about parenting double standards. You can probably find one that you can relate to! My favorites? “Not my helper” and “Not lucky”. I recommend you give it a read.
It’s essential that you stop burning yourself out to prove you are a good and capable mother.
Ask for help. Hire help if you can. Find a way to lighten your load, it doesn’t make you a lazy mom.
Never let yourself get to the point of burnout. It affects you in all areas of your life. Seek the help, you deserve it and yes, you are still a good mom.
I hope that this list will inspire you to simplify your life as a mom.
It’s okay to say no to the things that cause you stress and unhappiness.
Remember, simplifying is a good thing, especially in this season of life. Simplify so you can reduce the struggles and enjoy the journey.