So many people complain about how hard being a mom actually is. So relentless. So exhausting. Small people shouting, crying or bothering her 24/7. The feeling that mom doesn’t really ever know what she is doing. People judging her. Endless arguing. Enforced playing and craft activities. No time off and the hours she works are unpaid too! The effort of actually keeping a small human alive and the stress that goes with it. The lists are endless! Everywhere, parents are complaining about having to do something that they started in the first place. Maybe some parents just didn’t think carefully about what parenthood would entail? Maybe they were slightly misled by others? Who knows?
Now I can’t deny that at times, like anything in life, being a mom has its tricky moments. But I say, why not think about all the most excellent things about parenting? Turn all those negatives and moans into positives! A mom has created something incredible - a human life! Why not celebrate that and look at how it changes her life for the better? Once she's done that she may find that being a mom is actually not that hard. In fact, I’m going to argue that it’s really pretty easy work.
20 Parenting A Baby
So common complaints include lack of sleep, nappy disasters to be cleared up, and crying for no apparent reason. But how hard is it actually? Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that in the days following a birth moms are struggling with a whole range of hormones, the shock of having had a small person emerging from your actual body, and that feeling that you’re not really sure what you’re doing. But after that, let’s look at the positives. You now have a most gorgeous small person and your main job is to sit and hold this small person. No one is expecting you to do anything else.
So your main jobs now are to feed the baby, change the baby, cuddle the baby, take the baby out for some fresh air.
Family and friends will suddenly become super keen to start cooking for you, arriving daily (if you are lucky) with casseroles or pies that you just need to pop in the oven. No one will judge you for eating takeaway or for not washing your dishes. Some family members may even start cleaning your house, as it is understood that you have the job of being a mom to be doing. Friends may offer to look after older children, doing school runs and taking them for playdates to give you a bit of peace to be a mom to your new baby. So all this extra help arrives whilst you…...cuddle the baby.
So, a massive bugbear for parents all over the world is sleep. Of course, when you have a baby your sleeping pattern will have to change. Babies need to be fed every 3-4 hours and don’t understand the difference between nighttime and daytime. Toddlers are renowned for getting up at the crack of dawn, and I have memories of watching children’s TV at 5 am whilst not quite believing that the day can really have started already.
But there are two positives to this. Firstly, naptime and secondly, it just doesn’t last.
Disturbed sleep may be an inconvenience for a while, but on the upside, babies and toddlers love a nap and so should you. When your baby sleeps, have a nap. If you are out and about when this happens then sit down on a bench and rest.
Read a book or have a drink and a cake at the cafe. Rest when your baby does and the night times won’t feel so bad. Similarly with toddlers. If you have had an exhausting morning down at the soft play with them then make sure you get home by naptime and have a lovely long nap with them.
This isn’t quite so easy if you have had a disturbed night and then have to work all day. In this case, make sure you take your lunch break somewhere quiet and relaxing and see if you can catch a nap when you get home.
Dr Mednick, sleep expert, says "You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping," Whilst the 20-minute power nap is good for alertness and motor learning skills, 30 to 60 minutes is good for decision-making skills, and 60 to 90 minutes of napping, plays a key role in making new brain connections and solving creative problems.
18 Stay At Home Moms
Here is my daughter on her first day at school. Well, actually this is a photo of my daughter in her school uniform the night before her first day at school. Because, being a working mum, I completely missed the first day. I was out of the door at 7 am and couldn’t drop her off or pick her up.
And this is why some stay at home mums really irritate me, moaning about the fact that the endless days are difficult and how they struggle to get through an entire day with their own child.
I would have loved to have been a SAHM, and experience first hand all the important milestones - first words, crawling, walking, the first day at school. The ability to be there whenever your child is ill or sad or has a cake sale or Easter Hat parade at school.
I was at home for the first year with my daughter and let’s be honest, it was easy. I met up with friends and drank tea, I went for lovely long walks, I went to baby groups and mooched around the shops. I had no deadlines to meet, no boss nagging at me, no need to dress smartly and no rush to be at certain places at certain times.
17 Working Moms
However, being a working mum also has massive benefits. If you find yourself disagreeing with the points in this article so far, maybe you should be a working mum.
If you find being with your own children more negative than positive, hate playing, don’t want to take them out and are not entertained by your little darlings, then get a job.
Being a working mom can be great and can make being a mom even easier as you are not actively parenting for around 40 hours a week. Here is a picture of my friend and me at work. Clearly, we are not looking stressed or annoyed by the pressures of parenting. In fact, we had time that day to pose in some natty t-shirts next to a ‘cello. We are full of energy because we have had a lunch break and several cups of hot tea, as well as some adult conversation. We dropped our toddlers off that morning safe in the knowledge that someone else would be feeding, changing and entertaining our children for the day.
All we have to do is pick them up later, give them a sandwich and put them to bed. You see, being a working mom is actually easy.
16 Let's Go Shopping
Food shopping. The stuff of nightmares? A boring chore that must be done?
There is a lot of moaning around the internet about this one, along with a plethora of pictures of children screaming in trolleys, grabbing biscuits from shelves, or running in the opposite direction to the stressed looking parents.
Well, this is my photo of a recent shopping trip to the supermarket. Here is my son, looking rather dapper in last season’s summer hat. We were navigating the household cleaning items when he disappeared around the corner into the clothing section. Next thing I knew he’s modelling a hat. But it made me laugh and lightened up the whole trip. Although the trip then took much longer, we all had a good time trying on the hats, bags and scarves.
Other ideas to make shopping easy with kids - consider allowing them one thing of their choice with a budget attached. Or give them individual jobs, such as crossing items off the list, putting items in the trolley, or even driving the trolley if they are old enough. For the older kids, give them 5 items and send them off to get them. For the younger ones, if you don’t think they will help constructively then sit them in the trolley with a toy or a book, or even an iPad game. Keep the kids occupied and shopping will be easy.
15 Social Media
A big part of parenting now seems to be sharing every single moment of your child’s development on social media.
All those moaning moms seem to have plenty of time to take pictures and videos and then post them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Surely if being a mom was so hard then all their time would be involved in trying to stay awake, keep up with housework and feed people?
So being a mom is easy, right? Watch your child do something new and fantastic, record it, publicize it.
So in this picture, we were just off on holiday and I thought I’d try the ‘selfie in the car’ shot. Having successfully got three out of the four of us in it I gave up. A bit tricky yes, but not enough to make me think that being a mom is hard. And literally, no one queried why only my daughter’s left arm made it in. Children and babies do extraordinary things all the time, and they're pretty easy to capture on film or in pictures. So while it's fun and simple to share it with friends and family on the internet, it's also not necessary. Parents can get by without Facebook accounts altogether. So if it's a source of stress, why not cut it off entirely?
14 Parenting A Toddler
Now, whereas a baby will stay still and generally not do much, complaints about toddlers are usually based around the fact that they are now mobile and have the ability to destroy your home within 0.0002 seconds of you turning your back.
Desperate shouts of ‘I must baby proof my house’ can be heard up and down the country, as your baby turns from a stationary delight to a whirlwind of terror.
But again, let’s look at the positives. Your toddler is now able to do some things for himself. Take mealtimes, for example. I have vivid memories of the challenge of trying to eat spaghetti bolognese over my sleeping baby. Not a problem now as your toddler sits in his high chair and attempts to feed himself whilst you have a tablespace next to him.
Going out becomes more interesting. Take the picture above; my toddler daughter had a great time feeding this goat and it was a lovely afternoon out. Toddlers are interested in everything and look to you to teach them all you know. If they are a sponge then you are the water. How can it be hard simply teaching your toddler right and wrong? Is it so hard to take them to a farm park and tell them about goats?
So having a toddler is actually pretty easy. They are curious, interested and ready to learn. You just need to teach them. And never turn your back.
13 Parenting A Pre-Teen
So we come to that awkward middling age where they are no longer little children, but not yet teenagers. Here we find moms moaning about cheekiness, rudeness and a general unwillingness to help or do as they are told.
Not so fast moms! This is a great age. As long as you have successfully taught the toddler to follow some basic rules, then your pre-teen becomes a little friend for you. Now you can have intelligent conversations about things. Conversations no longer revolve around the latest cartoon or the colour of poo, but now actually move on to interesting things around you.
Your child can dress himself and make choices. He is even starting to entertain himself so you can have some time to yourself. The days of diapers and taking spare clothes everywhere are gone.
If you want to go out you simply instruct the child to put shoes and coat on. You get your bag (don’t forget a drink and snack still though or you might run into trouble), and off you go. If your toddler was a bit particular about what to eat, you may find this wearing off now, so going to a restaurant becomes fun.
The thing that makes this easy is that your child should now be reasonable. You can explain things to him and he should be able to understand and react sensibly.
For example, Mom: "We can’t go to the park because it is raining."
Child: "OK, can we play a game instead?"
12 Parenting A Teenager
Ah, the mom complaints come thick and fast on this one!
Moody, uncooperative, won’t spend time with the family, obsessed with gaming.
You don’t actually hear many positive things about teenagers. But maybe it’s because you are not adjusting along with them? Try and share your teenager’s interests rather than forcing him to join in with yours.
Maybe you hate the Xbox, but just try it for 10 minutes and you may find communication with your teenager is great.
Now, look at this picture of my teenager. Here he is entertaining his little sister. She had just had a massive meltdown in the car, screaming, crying. You name it she said it. But was this difficult for us? No, it was actually pretty easy. As parents we knew she was annoyed with us - we had, after all, asked her to put her seatbelt on! - so we employed our handy teenager. Being a helpful kind of lad, he immediately set about amusing her and distracted her from the whole situation. You will see that as a result not only is she smiling and calm, but she is wearing her seatbelt. Now I’m not trying to sound smug, but if you use your teenager correctly then it is all pretty easy. He was pleased with himself, we were pleased with him, she was pleased with him. Job done. Easy.
11 Help Me With The Chores Please
You will find that with the arrival of children your house will inevitably become messier and dirtier. Naturally, there will be more clothes to wash, more dishes to scrub, more regular hoovering required. Your car will probably turn from your ideal cruising mobile into a receptacle for bits of leftover food and old tissues. If you have ever stepped on a piece of Lego then you will understand the problems that toys can cause when they are not packed away.
But why should all this make your life as a mom any harder? Along with the extra chores, you have extra people. Don’t do it all yourself, delegate. As soon as your child is a toddler, they can help you. There are free chores printables all over the internet that you could use, or you could write your own weekly chart. Make sure you have a column for everyone in the house and that the chores are age appropriate.
There is no reason that your toddler can’t put his own toys away. There is no reason that your teenager can’t vacuum your house or wash your car. There is no reason that your pre-teen can’t lay the table for meals or sort the washing.
In this photo, my son’s face probably says it all. He wasn’t happy to carry all the cases to the car, but he certainly wasn’t going on holiday until he had helped out. Why make motherhood hard? It doesn’t have to be with a little team spirit and you may even find yourself doing less housework than before you had children.
10 Cuddles And Love
All those complainers never seem to mention the really good stuff about motherhood. Here I am enjoying a good old hug with my babies. How is this possibly hard?
Just stop what you are doing and cuddle. These will be the moments that your children really remember and it’s the easiest thing in the world to give them. And it’s free!
Best times for hugs in our house: first thing in the morning (bed hugs), watching TV (sofa hugs), last thing at night (pyjama hugs). Anytime in between, just because you can. Also when your child is injured or upset, or when you have had to discipline them, always hug as a way of making up.
And the good news is that hugging is actually good for us. Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, says
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
Hugging increases levels of the "love hormone" oxytocin, so if you hug for 20 seconds, along with 10 minutes of hand-holding, you can reduce the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate. Hugging is known to lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol. A 10-second hug a day may fight infections, boost your immune system, ease depression and reduce fatigue.
The giver of a hug receives just as much benefit as the receiver, but some research suggests the healthiest hugs must come from someone you trust and can also help to strengthen relationships.
9 Disorganized? Kids Will Help Out
Maybe your house is a little messy and you can’t find the things you need? Having children can actually improve your clutter situation. Before children, most moms have the urge to carry out some ‘nesting’, cleaning and organizing the home. So prior to even having a child you have decluttered your home and cleaned it out.
After children, you may find that you feel like you are being overrun by toys and children’s equipment. In this case turn it into something positive. Use the experience of tidying to teach your children a whole range of values.
In the photo above my toddler was learning to split things by colour, texture, size and use. We turned the whole ‘tidying up the kitchen cupboards’ task into something fun and useful.
You could replicate this in any room. We went to the bedroom next, where we practised rolling jumpers up - great for those fine and gross motor skills - and sorting them by colour. So don’t treat tidying and organizing as an extra chore, keep life easy and use it as a game. It's a skill that every person in the world needs to learn eventually, to be organized and clean, so parents may as well get their kids started as soon as possible.
8 Families That Help You
This picture was taken in Edinburgh when my husband and I flew up to the Arts Festival. We stayed four days and had a great time. Do we look like we’re having a hard time? No, of course not because being a mom is actually easy, remember? This is particularly true when you have family or friends around to help out. A lot of mom complaints seem to centre around the fact that being a mom is a 24/7 job and there is never any escape.
Some moms complain that they have lost their whole identity and never have any time for themselves. Well, this doesn’t have to be true. You just need to ask for help.
If you are lucky and live down the road from your mom, you probably have lots of help. You can drop the kids off whilst you go shopping or they sleep over at Nan’s regularly so you can go out with some friends.
We were never fortunate enough to have that local family, but I would still argue that being around your kids all the time isn’t a hardship. We still managed to get away on our trip. Our children were aged 3 and 9 when this photo was taken and stayed with my best friend for the whole four days. She loved it just as much because our kids played with her kids and gave her a nice easy week!
7 Ready Made Entertainment
Some common moans include the need to constantly entertain your children. Some moms feel there is no let-up and that they have to be some kind of on-call clown for their children. But this isn’t the case. Remember, being a mom is actually easy. Your children should be there to entertain you!
The picture above was taken at a Viking reenactment camp. We dressed the kids up, which they loved, then sat back whilst they spent the next hour playing at being at Vikings, whilst some guy showed them how to use various Viking equipment. Does that sound hard? No.
At home, set them an entertainment based task. For example, give them a pile of socks and tell them to create a puppet show for you. If necessary, give them a storyline to act out and tell them what time the show will be. Then sit back and wait for showtime. Maybe your children like dancing or singing? Get them to recreate a talent show. If they are a little young to do this themselves then join in. It’s not really a hardship to be playing with your kids, is it? It's taking part in the most fun anyone ever has their whole lives.
6 Relax And Go With The Flow
Here is a post-ice lolly shot of my daughter. Bet you can’t guess what colour the lolly was? Just kidding! Now some parents would see this as a disaster waiting to happen. What if the blue spreads to her t-shirt? What if it drips down on to her shoes? What if she turns around quickly and sprays a random stranger with it? My son in the background is in danger of turning orange in a similar way. I have seen kids virtually bound up in towels and wet wipes by parents who are just super keen to prevent any kind of mess or dirt occurring. But who are you protecting by doing this? Did those children enjoy being bound up? Probably not. I certainly know that my daughter enjoyed being not bound up.
I have seen so many toddlers being pulled out of muddy puddles but actually, in small doses, microbes in the dirt help our immune systems to learn what viruses or bacteria it needs to be able to fight off, helping us to quickly fight off illness later in life. The more parasites, viruses and bacteria our immune system is introduced to, the better chance we have of staving off infections as we age, including allergies and asthma! And as well as boosting our health, muddy play may actually play a role in lifting depression.
Being a mom can be easy if you just relax and go with the flow. A little mess or dirt just won’t hurt. Children wash off. They may be an interesting colour for a few days, but it’s not forever.
Clothes will wash out and shoes can be cleaned. Being a mom can be easy if you just stop worrying.
5 Perfect Excuse To Go Out For The Day
So you have housework to do, maybe some shopping to do, but the sun is out and the kids are restless. Sounds like a perfect excuse to drop everything and just go out for the day. In this picture, we went to the beach. I sat on the rug and sunbathed whilst the kids entertained themselves by burying each other for a while. Then we built a giant sandcastle together and went for a swim. The whole day cost nothing (just a bit of petrol but we’re lucky enough to live near the sea) and we all had a lovely time.
The benefits of going out for the day go beyond just preventing an entire day of squabbling though. This is an easy opportunity to educate your children in some way by visiting a historic property or museum for instance.
Get outside and treat yourself and your children to some fresh air and exercise by going for a bug hunt in the woods, a walk in a country park, or fishing in some rock pools. Psychological studies link time spent out in fresh air and sunshine to a greater sense of vitality. Not only does being outside benefit you with more energy throughout the day, but vitality helps our bodies become more resilient to physical illness.
4 I Think I Fancy A Picnic
It’s time for lunch but you don’t really want to make lots of washing up because you are busy this afternoon. Plus it’s a sunny day and the kids are playing happily in the garden. So don’t make life hard by dragging the kids in and making them sit up. Have a picnic. Paper plates and a rug in the garden means lunchtime is easy. The children won’t feel like you have stopped their games and you can just get a bin liner at the end to clear away.
Or maybe you’ve gone out for the day and know that your children are a bit particular when it comes to eating? Don’t make life hard by forcing your children into a cafe where you know they won’t eat, take a picnic.
I have seen so many parents struggling with children unwilling to sit in high chairs in restaurants on lovely sunny days, but remember, being a mom doesn’t have to be hard. Take a picnic and let your little ones enjoy the sunshine. It can be way less expensive, will get them some much-needed sunlight, and if you bring your own food it doesn't cost a thing.
3 Time To Play
So many moms seem to not like playing with their children. I have seen complaints about playing with children being boring, tedious, and just endlessly being told what to do.
In this photo, I suggested to my daughter that we go to the park. She suggested, no sorry she insisted, that her babies should come too. Whilst playing with the babies isn’t my favourite thing to do, is it actually hard? No, of course not. So I spent the afternoon pushing the babies around the park in the pushchair, pushing them on the swings and helping them on the slide. Then we gave them a picnic and rocked them to sleep. Now compared with an afternoon at work, this is clearly easy.
Similarly at home, building a Lego fort or colouring some pictures is not hard work. So take the time to stop and play with your children.
And however ridiculous the game seems, or however much you don’t want to really do it, just take the time to spend with your children. It’s not hard work and it will make their day.
I am known for my massive hatred of arts and crafts, but not because it’s difficult, just because my child will invariably beg me to start a project with them and then run off after 15 minutes, leaving me to finish creating the Taj Mahal out of matchsticks. So whilst this is irritating and doesn’t particularly make me happy, it’s not hard. So moms, please don’t moan about having to play with your children, it makes them really happy.
2 Photography Madness
So here I am behind the lens again, this time having a particularly hard parenting moment taking photos of my kids and husband by the sea. There was some serious zoom here, so I am quite a way away from them having a little rest whilst simultaneously being slightly annoyed that they won’t stand still long enough for me to get the required shot.
When I look through my photos I find I have taken quite a lot of them. Some of them are almost identical, which shows me that clearly, I had plenty of time on these days out to stand around taking photos. I wasn’t being harassed by the demands of being a mom, nor was I running around chasing naughty children or stressing about when we’re going to eat or where the nearest toilet is. The process of pulling out a phone or camera, turning it on, focusing the camera, and waiting for the perfect moment for a picture can take some time, and if parents have taken hundreds of pictures then they've had a good chunk of time that wasn't consumed with parental duties.
Have a look through your photos and see how many you had time to take. If you’ve got a lot, then you’ve got plenty of time on your hands and being a mum is actually easy.
1 What Is Actually Hard?
So let’s get a little perspective on life here. What is actually hard in life? Think about the global problems we see daily on the news - people affected by war, famine, terrorism. Homeless people. People with no family or friends.
Next time you want to moan about how hard it is being a mom, stop and consider those who really want to be a mom and can’t be for whatever reasons. Think about the people who have nothing. That is hard. Being a mom is actually easy.
Think of the old saying ‘the days are long but the years are short’. This is so true.
So many moms spend so much time complaining about how hard parenthood is, that they must be missing the best bits!
Being a mom is a natural thing that we are designed to do. I’m not saying that every day is a breeze, but just that maybe we should be thanking Mother Nature for sending us these precious bundles of joy and focus on looking at the positives. There are so many places that I’ve been to and so many things that I have done that I probably never would have bothered with if it hadn’t been for my children. I’ve had so many hugs and laughter with my family and these definitely outweigh the bad times.
Like anything, there will be bad days, but compared to most things being a mom is actually easy.