No matter how hard we try to be good wives or mothers, the society in which we live in is filled with messages that are both covert and overt that are geared towards making women feel less than adequate, no matter how hard we work or the time we put in. in today’s world, this is especially true.
Every day, we are bombarded on social media with images that evoke what is known as perfection in every area of life ranging from work, body, and home. We are constantly comparing ourselves to these images, whether we realize it or not. This is detrimental to our mental health, making us feel as though we cannot live up to these expectations.
Sometimes, it is very hard to be a mother, or a wife. But, in the end, it is all worth it. It is one of the most powerful experiences that any woman can experience in their lifetime. But it is hard. When it comes to being a mother, it is especially hard.
The effects of childbirth are demanding from little sleep to the hormonal issues in the months after. If you are anything like me, you were asking millions of questions and receiving comments from relatives who think that they are helping, when it all reality, they are doing nothing but enhancing your own personal insecurities… and fears. But it is much more than that. It is also how your identity beforehand breaks down suddenly and unexpectedly. Every ambition, job, friend, body… is now replaced with someone else. A woman that you do not know.
It is like looking into a mirror and not recognizing yourself. Who is this woman? Where did she come from? But the truth is… you are still you. You just became a larger version of the woman who you were before. There is no way to compare the new life that you have fallen into to the life you had before because that life is so far out that it is now remote. Your whole being is now for someone else, someone who solely depends on you. How crazy is that… and how scary is that…
The idea of motherhood is simply in every mother’s mind as something that they can achieve when they work hard. For example, just as you worked hard to get into college or get your job. But there is much more to motherhood than just hard work. Many women become depressed, lonely, isolated, and disconnected while they lose themselves in their children and new responsibilities. If this has happened to you, then you are not alone.
Many women, like myself, were too scared to ask for help because I thought that if I did, people would view me as a inadequate and bad mother. For the first six years of my children’s lives, I hid behind the mask that I was the perfect mother that had her life together. Until I was diagnosed with postpartum depression, then I had to re-start from the ground up. I had to start over and relearn what being a mother was, not what others’ opinions on it were, in order for me to succeed in my own mind. I did what was best for myself and my children and stuck to realistic expectations.
Letting go of the idea of perfection took longer for me than I thought it would. When I spoke with other mothers about my struggles, I found that it really depends upon the desire to change, family background, and individual personality. However, with my eyes finally open to the beauty that came with the chaos of being a mother, I was finally able to embrace it and become a better woman, not just for myself… but for my family, as well.
The same ideology goes for being the perfect wife. Last month, my husband and I took a week-long trip down to The Florida Keys. One of my detoxes is traveling, and he is happy to join me, as long as there is Bud Lite, and food involved. We make it a point to make time for ourselves and get away once every couple of months. When we do this, we make sure that we are dedicating time to our marriage.
When we were in the Keys, we spent our time exploring, having coffee, hiking, and relaxing on the pristine beaches. It was pure bliss. I am a firm believer that marriages need these recharges, especially when there are children involved.
However, the ideology that there is a perfect marriage is a myth. When a marriage seems perfect, what you are seeing on the outside is the time, commitment, and work that it takes to make a marriage work. I get this all the time: “You seem so happy!” and “I want my (boyfriend, husband, fiancé) to look at me the way he looks at you!” Well, we are happy. And Jace looks at me the way he looks at Bud Lite. But, in no means are we perfect. We disagree, we fight, we argue. But, at the end of the day, we started in a good place (at our hometown bar), and we were madly in love then, and we are today.
Most of all, we both enjoy one another’s company more than anything. But, we need our time alone to remember how we were before we had children, and our lives got more complicated.
What we do not allow others to see is defeat. It takes two people to make a marriage work, but no one should go into a marriage thinking that it is going to be easy and perfect. There are no free rides in marriage. Many people want to believe that every perfect marriage is secretly miserable. That is not the case. It takes work, a lot of compromising, mutual respect, and tending to the others.
We found our way to recharge – by traveling and our date nights every week. These are ever so important, so we do not begin to snap and ignore the needs of one another. That is what everyone needs in their marriage so that they can remember where they came from before, and what attracted you to one another in the beginning. Remember – there is no such thing as a perfect wife or a perfect marriage.
What makes it look perfect is the hard work, dedication, and regeneration that takes both people in the marriage. If both people put in this hard work, then your marriage will blossom into one to be proud of.