The word “and” can be one of the most powerful words in motherhood. Mothers often state how they feel and then attach “but” to downplay those feelings — or worse — reverse course. (Think of all the times you say things like, “I’m feeling overwhelmed, but it’s OK, I can handle another task” and then sign on to chair the school fundraiser, or “I’m exhausted, but all new moms are” and push through instead of taking a nap.)
Instead of using the word “but” to negate our initial thought, “and” allows two emotions to coexist completely and fully. Whatever the feeling, if you’re feeling it, it is correct, valid, and true.
“And” allows mothers to deflate the balloon of guilt, pressure, and self-judgment and replace it with self-love, acceptance, and empathy.
It also allows two thoughts to be completely true at the same time. No explanation or qualifying necessary.
The duality of motherhood is inherent in the job and embracing both sides of this transformative coin is vital and should be celebrated.
Below are some truthful statements from moms. Each mother has her own. Create “and” statements that define your motherhood experience.
- I wanted to be a mother more than anything in the world and I miss the freedom I had before kids.
- Being a mom gives my life more purpose than I ever imagined and I miss my identity and focus as a professional.
- Being a stay-at-home-mom is exactly what I want to be and it’s more draining than I imagined.
- I love being the person my family relies upon for decision-making and the weight of navigating life for everyone can feel overwhelming sometimes.
- I know I need to enjoy this moment because I won’t get it back and I can’t wait for my children to become more self-sufficient.
- I love my spouse and I’d marry him again and I wish he’d share more of the family’s mental load.
- I am grateful for the incredible children my body grew and it’s hard to recognize my body some days.
- I try to be mentally present for my kids and the constant to-do list in my head often distracts me.
- I want to feel sexy and desired by my partner and I crave alone time from being touched all day by my kids.
- I love the mess of family life and I would love my house to look like a magazine.
- I value family togetherness and sometimes I want to be alone.