What Part of Being A Mom Makes You Want To Drink?

I remember reading an article in one of those glossy women's magazines, maybe it was Vogue, where Angelina Jolie was pregnant and talking about she had never felt so sexy in her body. I remember slamming the magazine shut and thinking "Bull***t!" During my pregnancies I felt like instead of looking like I was with-child, I looked like I had eaten too much, and my boobs can grown to a letter size I didn't think possible. I was self-conscious and I really disliked it. 

Later, after the birth of my daughter, I remember looking at instagram at a good girlfriend's photos of her breastfeeding her baby. Both mother and baby looked so angelic, the photograph looked like it could be hung in the Getty museum, and I was looking at the photos and thinking- "how can she be enjoying this????" I had a baby with reflux who I would spend hours upon hours feeding, only so she could puke it up. I felt like a failure. I felt like a bad mother, like I wasn't doing it right. 

The good news is when my babies became toddlers I really did start to enjoy them, and I found a little bit of a groove being a mom. And let me be clear here before I go on, I adore my kids, I just don't love some parts of mothering. 

I was thinking about this yesterday when a client told me that she really struggled with her wine in the afternoon because she hated the hours with her little kids between 3pm-8pm. "oh my gosh, me too!" I said. "That used to be me!" Those hours, in the early years of parenting, when you have to do dinner, bath and bedtime, can be torture. I remember thinking that when my children were younger (they are now 10 &12), and feeling such an incredible amount of shame. It was the same shame that I had about not loving being pregnant, and not being a professional breastfeeder. "I am supposed to love this part", I would think. 

We drink for a lot of different reasons, to numb out difficult and irritating feelings, but one of the feelings that I think we drink to forget the most is the shame of feeling less than, especially when it comes to mothering.

If I take a good hard look at the reasons that I was drinking, especially when my kids were little, it had so much to do with trying to minimise that awful feeling of not being a good enough mother. And that feeling came as a result of feeling like there were parts of being a mother that I really really should love and enjoy, but I simply just didn't. 

Can I encourage you today my friend? You don't have to love all parts of being a mom. It doesn't make you a bad mom if you really dislike story time. It doesn't make you a bad mom if you really hated the newborn stage. It doesn't mean you are less than a wonderful mother if bath time makes you want to jump out the window. 

What I learned is that because I disliked these parts of parenting, I felt shame. Then I drank to try to make the situation I didn't like (like bedtime), and couldn't admit that I hated, better. Can you relate? 

When I look back I realise that, obviously, the drinking wasn't helping me enjoy the part of mothering I felt like I had to endure, it was just making me grumpy, irritable, tired, and have zero patience in the process.

Remember that shame I talked about? The shame for feeling like I SHOULD be enjoying these parts of motherhood? I added a WHOLE OTHER LEVEL of SHAME on top because then I felt ashamed that I was having to drink to deal with my children. The children that I prayed to God for, that I knew in my heart I was beyond blessed to have. 

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I think as moms we have to be honest with each other. It helps to know that we're not going through this journey alone. We don't have to love every second of parenting. If we can ditch the guilt associated with those feelings it's one less (and a pretty BIG one less) reason to drink. 

This is also why is it is so important to incorporate real self-care in your day to day as a mom. I wish I knew that in the beginning. And I really wish I knew that wine is NOT self-care. It's actually mom-sabotage.

If you can incorporate rest and "me time" into your busy mom schedule, even if in the beginning if it's just a nap, then you will feel so much better. As I've said before, the messaging that we deserve or need wine as moms does such a disservice to mothers everywhere- because in reality it doesn't make any part of mothering better or easier. 

If you're finding it difficult to enjoy the season of mothering that you are in, can I encourage you, as someone who's been through the baby and toddler stage- it doesn't last forever. As the saying goes, the days are long but the years are short. It may seem tricky not, but it won't last forever. I've currently got a pre-teen at home with all of the emotions and wild outbursts, and I am struggling, but I know it's not forever, and I know that drinking would only pour gasoline on the fire of our arguments. 

I teach my clients something called the ACT Technique, which is one of the major coaching tools I utilise from the This Naked Mind Institute. Essentially, it allows us to come up with a turnaround, or a reframe, when we get these thoughts in our head that drag us down. If we can come up with a turnaround that we truly believe, it makes that irritable feeling going away, and it's one less reason to drink.

If you're thinking that this current stage of motherhood is unbearable, I urge you to reframe that thought into something that will make you feel a bit better. For me, as I said, I turn it around to- "this isn't going to be this hard forever." If that doesn't feel good for you, then I encourage you to work on one of your own, that feels really true to you. 

Above all, remember to give yourself so much grace and compassion because being a mother is hard. We don't have to be perfect at it, and we don't have to love every second of it. And if you take one thing from this little blog post, remember that wine isn't going to make those feelings of inadequacy go away, and it certainly won't make the parts of mothering that you hate, any better.