There is a graphic I keep seeing that has me a bit unsettled. I have scrolled past it. I have ignored it. I have tried to understand the heart behind it. However, I just can’t. So let’s talk about that quote that says, “Your kids don’t need a perfect mom. They need a happy one.” Guess what. Your kids don’t need a happy mom!
Your Kids Don’t Need a Happy Mom
Now let me be clear. I am not at all against the person who originated this quote. Instead, I think we have walked very very different parenting journeys and lived very different mothering lives.
Having a newborn can steal your happiness.
When my daughter was born I struggled with post-partum on a level I didn’t’ understand. I was always told my baby would be my pride and joy. I was told that every moment with her would make me happy. I was told that loving her would change me for the better and make me something so amazing.
Guess what. It wasn’t. It wasn’t magical. It was so so hard. I remember a day when my daughter and I both cried for 12 hours straight. She cried because of colic and I cried because I felt like a failure. I couldn’t make her feel better. I couldn’t make the crying stop. I wasn’t a good mom in my own eyes.
I was a good mom though.
Looking back on those days I can tell you that I was a good mom. I poured everything I had into that little person. My lack of happiness in that season didn’t mean she didn’t have what she needed. It didn’t mean she was less loved. It meant it was hard. It meant I needed to find help to move past my depression and her health struggles but that was all it meant.
At that moment, my daughter didn’t need a happy mom. She needed one that showed up when it hurt and loved her anyway.
Grief can steal your happiness.
I have lost many family members over the last few years. It has been very difficult to walk thru and my children have had to watch me grieve. They have had to see me hurt, cry, and process huge losses.
You know what they didn’t see on some days? A happy mom. There are times in your life when a happy mom and grief can’t coexist.
In fact, hiding your grief and keeping a happy face as a mom can be toxic for your kids. My daughter was very angry after her great grandfather died. She was hurting and everyone kept putting on a smile around her. Because of that, she thought her grief was wrong. She thought her emotions were wrong.
It wasn’t until we let her see our real grief that she knew that it was safe and ok for her to hurt, to cry, and ultimately to grieve what she had lost.
She didn’t need a happy mom. She needed a mom who felt her hurts and showed her it was ok to be sad.
Super Mom Status can steal your happiness
When I started this mom thing I wanted to be super mom. You know the vision promised all moms. It’s a baby that sleeps thru the night, a toddler that never throws a tantrum, a child with no learning disabilities, tweens who think you are awesome, and teens who make amazing choices all while you nail it as housework and keep a job paying you so well.
Yeah. The dream dies really fast. If you put your happiness in those things you will quickly find that that super mom status will steal your happiness.
Just to be clear, I had a colicky baby, the most strong-willed toddler, the son who literally peed in his own eye, a daughter with dyslexia, and a tween who has a mind of her own and isn’t afraid to say it.
My kids didn’t need a super mom who was happy all the time. They needed to see me fail, break, cry, and keep going when it wasn’t what I thought it would be.
Life can steal your happiness.
Let’s just be real a minute here! Sometimes life in all of its glory can steal your happiness. It’s the little things and the big things that hit like a ton of bricks. We’ve all had those weeks. You know the week when the kids both get a stomach bug, your husband has a man cold, the tire gets a hole, you have a work deadline, and your mother in law feels the need to try you. (Ok maybe you haven’t had my week exactly.)
The point still stands. Some weeks just SUCK. They suck the life out of you and leave you standing there wondering what else will go wrong.
I can tell you more than once about situations where I have been at the end of myself. I have stood there washing dishes with tears pouring down my face with ugly tears or curled up on the floor and just cried.
Sometimes we soldier on. Sometimes we cry if we’re honest.
Here’s the thing, kids need to see that!
When you are at the end of yourself, your child is watching. They aren’t watching to judge you though. They are watching to see what they should do when life is overwhelming and they just don’t know how to do it.
Kids don’t need happy moms. They need REAL moms!
You aren’t going to be perfect. You will never tick all the boxes, handle every situation right, or always stay happy. Hear my heart. You are not less of a mom if you aren’t always a happy mom!
Your kids need to see how you handle the real world. They need to see how you walk thru the muck and how you deal with the heavy stuff.
If the happy moms meme has ever kicked you in the heart and left you feeling less than, bump that. You are awesome and you can do this mom thing!!!