Motherhood is hard enough without falling into the trap of trying to live up to an unattainable ideal. Let go of these motherhood myths (starting this minute) and you’ll find the journey a whole lot less stressful and more enjoyable.
Myth #1: Everyone has a maternal instinct
While many women feel swamped with maternal emotions from the moment their baby is placed on their chest, others feel scared, overwhelmed and maybe even a little numb. There’s nothing wrong with you if you feel like your reality isn’t living up to everything you see on Instagram.
Myth #2: Motherhood comes naturally
Look at it this way: if every mother knows what to do and when to do it, why is parenting generally accepted as the hardest, scariest experience in the world? Maybe some lucky moms have an innate sense of exactly how to respond every time their babies get fussy, but the rest of us are just muddling along, doing the best we can and often feeling that we’re getting it wrong.
Myth #3: Parenthood brings you closer together
Sure – for some people. But there are moments of intense resentment (on both sides) as one partner feels they’re doing more than the other. And, even if you haven’t quite reached that stage, the reality is that it’s difficult to be there for an extremely demanding small person who refuses to negotiate while still making time for everyone else. A little drift is common – but don’t worry, it usually resolves in time.
Myth #4: You have to be there, all the time, every day
The rest of that sentence should read “…or you’re a bad mom”. But is there anyone on Earth who you can spend endless time with, without needing a break? So why should things be any different with your baby? This becomes even more important as your children grow older, because your children need to see you as a three-dimensional person who has her own hobbies and interests (not least because it will encourage them to develop interests of their own). Besides, you can only be a “good” mom if you feel happy and rested.
Myth #5: The books know best
Before you start wondering what’s wrong with you (or your baby) because things are not happening exactly as your baby manual said they would, remember there is no such thing as a “textbook” personality. Not your baby – and not you.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.