The Momma Interviews is a new blog series by Catherine O'Brien, LMFT highlighting the thoughts, experiences and wisdom of a unique real-world mom each week, to normalize and validate the struggles and triumphs that are a part of the universally human experience of motherhood for women everywhere.
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This week's momma, Amanda, has so many good nuggets of wisdom to offer. I love her trick for managing overwhelm. And her favorite quote? So perfect.
How do you balance the mom, work, and relationship roles?
I've been a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, and now I work part-time. They are all difficult and it can take awhile to get into the swing of things so everybody's needs are being met.
Most moms I speak to say there are moments when they are ready to throw in the towel. Can you describe a time you felt this way? What got you through it?
When my second child was younger she didn't sleep for the first year of her life... at least that's what it felt like. I was exhausted and recently became a stay at home mom. The house was always a mess and there were a lot of days we stayed in our pajamas all day. I felt like I was failing as a mom and I would beat myself up a lot about it. Eventually she started sleeping through the night and the house is now clean and we get dressed (most days). Looking back now though, I'm no longer upset about it... I did the best I could with what little energy I had. I wish I wasn't so hard on myself about it.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed, overstretched, or less than?
I'm a big list lady. I just empty my brain out onto the paper... write down everything that is overwhelming me and then break it down into things I need to do this week and this month and next month. Not just errands, but my goals too and what I need to do to accomplish them. I feel like a huge weight is lifted when I write it all down and have a game plan. I don't need to constantly think about it anymore... it's written down and will still be there when it's time to go do it.
I've had parents tell me that one of the hardest things about being a parent is the comparisons and judgements from other parents. How do you personally cope with that?
When I had my first, I used to take all parenting advice from friends, family, and strangers personally. I was already so nervous about if I was doing things the right way that any advice felt like justification that I wasn't doing it right. I stopped worrying about that so much by the time I was pregnant with my second. Sometimes I still get bothered by it, but I just remind myself that there's more than one way to cook an egg... I just smile and listen when someone tells me I'm doing something wrong and then I go ahead and do what I was planning on doing anyways.
What is the great lesson you've learned as a mom?
I used to think that all mom's knew exactly what they were doing. Becoming a mom has made me realize that nobody knows what they are doing and we are all kind of winging it.
What is your favorite quote that inspires you as a mom?
You are the closest that I will ever come to magic.
What is your favorite song that inspires you as a mom?
The Best Day- Taylor Swift
What is the one piece of advice you'd like to give to other moms?
Be the mom your younger self would be proud of! I know that sounds silly, but it helps. I always picture me 5, 10, 15 year old self and if they would be proud of the mom i became today.
What do you feel is your greatest personal struggle with the experience of motherhood?
Always trying to be perfect. I always want to better at something when it comes to my kids, whether it’s playing with them more, being a better cook, taking them on more fun outings. I'm all for self improvement, but I think I might take it too far.
How has your relationship with your partner changed? How has it stayed the same?
It was difficult in the beginning when we first had children because we were raised differently and weren't on the same page about how we should parent. We eventually took the best from my way and the best from his and we've got a pretty good thing going on now. Our relationship has changed completely, but in the best way possible... I love him more today than I did the day we got married.
How has your relationship with your friends, family or support system changed? How has it stayed the same?
I'm SO much closer to my mother now, more now than ever before and we live in different states! She is always so supportive.
What is something that has surprised you about being a mom (i.e. something you didn't realize you'd enjoy, something you didn't know babies/kids did, something you didn't know could bring so much joy)?
Watching my kids do ANYTHING for the first time. There is so much magic and wonder when they are younger in everything that they do and that sort of fades as they get older, so I try to hold on to those moments for as long as I can.
How many children do you have?
Share your relationship status.
Follow Amanda on Instagram: @taketwotreats