Being a mom is hard work, no matter which way you spin it. In the last few years since becoming a parent I have found nothing more helpful or supportive than the community of other moms. Forget google, forget parenting books, look around and find the women right around you who are going through the exact same things you are. My mom friends are my go-to with my frustrations, for advice, etc. It is so important to rally together and have one another’s backs through this crazy thing called motherhood. No one else knows just quite what we go through, so why not stick together?
I have asked 10 amazing women (although I could’ve asked 100 from all the great ones I know) who I love and respect to give their own personal tips on surviving motherhood. Everyone’s experience is different, and no two babies are the same but my hope is that if you get anything from this it is knowing that you’re never alone.
10 tips on surviving motherhood from 10 real moms:
Stay at home moms:
1. McKenzie Line, mom of two daughters 10 mo & 2:
My key to motherhood is to always stay true to yourself and never be afraid to ask for help/advice. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and it’s okay to be vulnerable. Find people you can confide in and that make you feel safe because being able to talk about your life and day to day is extremely therapeutic, whether its your significant other, parent, sibling, best friend, etc. As moms, we don’t always have the time to take care of ourselves physically (manicures, hair, the whole nine) but there’s always time to take care of ourselves emotionally and tell someone what’s on our hearts. It’s ok to cry out in frustration and especially in times of joy. Your toddler finally peed in the toilet? Who cares if it was only one little drop, CELEBRATE it! Even on your hardest days, try to remember that these times won’t last forever and your baby is only your baby for a short time. It’s definitely not always easy, but it’s always worth it.
2. Jordan Rudolph, mom of 1 year old identical girl twins:
My key to motherhood…nothing ever goes as planned. And that’s okay. Be flexible, be understanding, turn your type A into its all going to be okay. Be a go with the flow mom, because with babies, nothing ever happens when you want it or how you want it. But somehow everything always gets done! And BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER!
When all else fails, sit in your kids crib and let them rule the world
3. Caitlin Thielen, mom of 1 year old son:
I would say I have a lot of different “keys” to motherhood but my top 3 consist of having patience, finding time for yourself, and having faith. Having patience is a huge one for me because I’ve never had patience until I had my son. When you have a child/children you need to put them before anything else and you need to realize things aren’t going to get done as quick as they would before. Finding time for yourself is another big one for me because I feel that actually helps me become a better mom. When you find time for yourself and get away for even just an hour you feel more rejuvenated and ready to be the best mom you can be. Having faith in motherhood is my third key. Knowing that I fail my son each and every day is tough. I am not a perfect person and some days I feel like I am not doing my best. But having faith and knowing that God is still there for me and helping me get through each day..whether good or bad is so comforting to know!
4. Ashley Graven, mom of 18 month old daughter with baby #2 on the way:
Motherhood has been the most amazing, exhausting, rewarding, terrifying, and worthwhile experience. Let’s all be honest, being a mom can be an emotional rollercoaster – however, it is worth every sleepless night, blow out, tantrum, and worry that may cross your mind, because that child becomes your life and soon you can’t remember what life was even like without them! I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have a daughter who is 18 months old and a son on the way – just hit that third trimester mark, holla! My three main takeaways that I have for other moms out there: 1. Find balance. I believe this is one of the biggest keys, and one of my biggest struggles, as a mother. Trying to make sure that as a working mom and career woman I am able to be and feel successful at work, yet feel like I have enough time to fully embrace the moments with my daughter in the evenings, while still trying to find time to be a wife and potentially sometimes thinking about some time for myself (ha!). 2. Try to not take things too seriously. Don’t get too worked up about things that you can’t control, especially when it comes to our children – because life is just messy! My goal is to have a ‘go with the flow’ attitude and I like to believe that it will rub off on my children so that they might be a little more easy-going as well (time will tell!). 3. Don’t give in to that “mom guilt” or judge other moms. That “mom guilt” is a real thing! I am trying to give myself some grace and not expect that I have to live up to anyone else’s expectations, whether it be another mom or a Pinterest idea. We get so caught up in these things that we forget that all our children really need is our love. Also, as moms, I believe we need to stop apologizing for things all the time or feel the need to defend how we choose to parent. “Sorry, my house is a disaster…Don’t judge me they are watching cartoons…Oh my child eats fruit snacks, yours doesn’t?” We are all in this together and some days, are just trying to survive – can anyone else relate? I am incredibly blessed to be a mother and to be able to have more of a sense of purpose in life because of my daughter and soon-to-be son. Finding balance, not taking things too seriously, and giving myself some grace are all things I will continue to work on to be a better mama for my children, a better wife for my husband, and a better version of myself.
5. Kristina Kaltz, mom of two boys, 6 & 5:
Although there is no magic potion as to how to successfully parent, I feel there are still some methods that make parenting a little easier. As a working mother, my secret to a more successful day is organization, routine, and predictability. Children struggle when they do not know what is about to happen next. It’s often difficult for a young child to adhere to tasks when everything is different every day. This is true in my life as a mother and as a teacher. Kids thrive in a organized and structured environment, where they know what’s going to happen when. For starters, bedtimes, night time routines, and nap times are just a few schedules you can organize in your day. Our bedtime routine is showers (when it’s shower day), brush teeth with their two minute timer, read books (EVERYONE READS, CHILDREN AND BOTH PARENTS… sorry, teacher plug there), then lights out by 7:45/8:00. We do this every, single night; even on nights when we are pushed back by other evening events. My boys know what coming, and it makes the dreaded “bedtime horrors” other parents have nonexistent in our house. As two working parents, we need our time together and our time to whine down before we start our next work day, so we can’t spend hours trying to get our nuggets to sleep.
6. Lauren Reisner, mom of two boys, 2 & 3:
Being a mom is the hardest job on the planet. When you add having a job outside of the home, life gets complicated. For me, as a nurse, the hardest part is giving all day to my patients and then having to come home and give the rest of the night to my family— it’s exhausting. There are things that I do to try to make my life a little bit easier. Keeping my army of men fed seems to be one of the more difficult tasks. I try to meal prep, or at least meal plan. I chop and prepare vegetables and meats ahead of time. There is almost always a bag of meat marinating in my fridge for a quick meal on the grill. Having dinner prepared so its ready for cooking when I get home saves time. It also prevents me for grabbing frozen pizza out of desperation. Another impossible task is keeping my house clean. I have the love of my life, or better known as “Cheech” at my house; the Roomba. The iRobot Roomba helps me keep on top of the dog hair and endless crumbs on my floors. Keeping the toys and kid items organized is also key. Every toy, book, game, truck, tractor, crayon, diaper, wipe, butt paste, ect. has a spot. There is no wire or gray canvas basket that is safe from my shopping cart at target. I will buy them all and find something to organize in them. Literally, I have a small basket for toy screws.
7. Jennifer Sullivan, mom of Irish twin girls, 3 & 2:
For me, the single most important key to parental bliss has been the conscious recognition that I am not alone. That other moms the world over are not only sharing in the joys of parenthood but in the struggles, as well. I think in this age of social media, it’s easy to become accustomed to seeing nothing but the positive moments of a person’s life, and that goes for moms, too. It’s easy to become disillusioned and begin to believe that you’re the only one who’s experiencing anger, anxiety, resentment, isolation. And when you believe that you’re the only one facing these emotional obstacles, it’s hard not to get even more down on yourself — wondering what’s wrong with you and why you can’t function like all of the other moms who seem to have fully embraced their new role. But it’s just that: an illusion. Because when you start to open up to others — bare, raw, and real — you’ll find that every mom experiences anger at one point or another. Every mom gets overwhelmed by the enormity of their circumstance. Every mom experiences feelings of resentment and isolation as they adjust to their new normal. Some experience it less often than others, sure. Some just talk about it less. But it’s always there. So as you navigate this rocky road called motherhood, be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that you’re not the only one experiencing these feelings, facing these hurdles. That you’re human. And everyone else is human, too. (Except for your toddler — that freak is clearly immortal.) And go out there and find yourself a friend who will be as real with you as you are with yourself. Because you know what they say: misery really does love company. 😉
Mom of a child with Autism:
8. Bianca Martinez, mom of 2 boys, 4 & 8 mo:
I am a mom to two beautiful boys ages 4 years old and 8 months old. My four year old, Mason, happens to have autism. I have learned so much about being the best mother I can to him over the last few years. One key to embracing life as a special needs parent is knowing that it’s okay to feel the roller coaster of emotions that come with the territory. It’s okay to grieve for the parenting experience you’d always imagined. It’s okay to feel jealous of other parents who have neurotypical (aka “normal”) children. It’s okay to cry out of pure frustration. I believe it’s important to acknowledge all of those raw emotions instead of sweeping them under the rug. Just be sure to keep moving forward because if you wallow in these emotions too long, you’ll miss the good times—the small wins and gains that are definitely worth celebrating. It’s not an easy life but it’s OUR life. Even on the most challenging days, I know I am the woman for the job and I like to think Mason would agree!
Mom of 3+ children:
9. Kalyn Johnson, mom of 3 girls and 1 boy:
Being a mom of 4 (5 if you count the husband) you are constantly questioning yourself on what you’re doing wrong. The most important key that I have learned is “do not compare yourself to any other mom or dad” as long as my kids are fed and alive I know I’m doing an amazing job. Not all kids are the same, so with having multiple children a million things work for one but not the other. Our kids are people too and once they get old enough they start to voice their opinions. Always listen. Give them the same attention when thy are speaking that you would want from them or anyone else. As moms we need to give ourselves credit for taking care of our kids and family, really give yourself a pat on the back. Bring a stay at home mom we get so hung up on “it’s my job” “I should be doing this” “that’s my fault” when it’s not about that at all. Be proud of yourself for the things that you are doing as a mother no matter the age of your kids. If you are proud and appreciate yourself it’s going to show and radiate the same energy and vibes to your kids and they will develop that appreciation for the things that you do as well.
10. Taitym Porter, mom of 6 year old girl:
A little about me- I’ve been a single mom for just over 6 years now. I had my daughter when I was 19 years old and since then I’ve received my undergraduate degree, my law degree and currently studying for the Bar Exam. It has been far from “easy” but being a mom is, and always will be, my GREATEST accomplishment. It was hard to choose just one tip so here a few of my top tips I’ve learned on this mommy journey—First, take care of yourself and let the guilt go. Exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep are not only vital for your overall well-being, it’s important for your kids as well. You can’t run on empty! Don’t feel guilty for taking “mom” time- you deserve it! And most importantly do not blame yourself or spoil your children to make up for being a single parent. Second, don’t lose sight of your own goals and dreams. Whether your dream is to be a stay at home mommy, top blogger, lawyer, or Starbucks barista- do what lights YOUR soul on fire- not what other want to see from you. Your passions and dreams don’t go away simply when you have children. Yes, sometimes you have to make sacrifices, face roadblocks, fail a few times but it is worth it and your child will admire you for it. Third, don’t try to do it all- there will be days where you can accomplish the world and there will be days when the house is a mess, laundry is piled to the ceiling, and you can barely whip up Kraft mac-and-cheese for dinner. This is OK. Leave it, recharge your batteries, and get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is another day. Lastly, let go of what you can’t control. Particularly if there is another parent involved or a co-parenting situation. That parent is going to choose to be a part of your child’s life however they see fit. You can’t control how much time they spend with your child, how they choose to discipline your child, if they promise to show up to a game/performance and don’t, etc. At the end of the day, this is their issue, not yours. Don’t obsess, stress or lose sleep over it. Rather, focus on what you can control and what kind of parent you choose to be. Stay positive & show your love, always.