It’s Really Hard To Not Hate Other Mothers With Large Families Sometimes

(This post was written in February 2021 just before I discovered I was pregnant with twins. I’m posting it now, all this time later because I think it might still resonate with others going through the same thing or something similar.)

This is one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever admitted, but sometimes I feel like I hate mothers with large families.

I know it’s not really hate. It’s jealousy, of course. But knowing that doesn’t exactly help and it doesn’t make me feel like less of a terrible person when I get annoyed by things I have no business being annoyed by.

Their family has nothing to do with mine, so why am I expending energy being offended because they have something I wanted and wasn’t able to have? Is it the other woman’s fault? Did she sabotage my chances to have another baby by expanding her family? No, of course not. So why am I so annoyed with her?

Is it simply because her family is a painful reminder of what I most long for? Is it because every time I see her pictures of her smiling kids, arms wrapped around each other and dirty faces, I hear that little voice in the back of my head saying “You’ll never have that.”?

Even if I were to magically fall pregnant now, the age difference between my children would be too much. They wouldn’t play together or have many of the typical sibling experiences.

I think that’s part of what bugs me the most: feeling like I failed to give my daughter that. I wanted so badly to give her a brother or sister and for them to grow up close and have adventures and experiences and memories together and now it’s clear that just simply won’t happen.

So I convince myself moms with lots of kids are ungrateful and undeserving of what they’ve been blessed with. Somehow that makes me feel better and worse, but I run with it anyway because I’m already having a self-pity party so why not just keep going?

The things they complain about, I’d give anything to experience. Siblings bickering? Yes, please. Schedule juggling? I’ll take it! Astronomical food bills trying to feed a large family? I’ll sell my kidney if I have to!

Ok, ok. I’m being ridiculous, I know.


Is it so bad having just one kid?

No.

There are a lot of really incredible things about being able to focus all your energy on one child. I have a bond with my daughter that I might not have if she’d had to spend her time battling for attention with a little brother or sister. I’m thankful for that.

She certainly hasn’t been lonely growing up, which is something other people often worry about when it comes to only children, and which they should stop saying because as a parent it’s like a knife to the heart when someone implies you’re intentionally depriving your child of the companionship that siblings bring.

She’s also been able to have experiences in life that might not have been as attainable had our family been larger. We’ve been able to take trips, take up hobbies and build memories we might not have been able to afford if there’d been additional family members.

Or maybe we would have. It’s really impossible to know what could have been.

At the end of the day, this is the family that we have. It’s a family I’m eternally grateful for.

I know I’m extremely lucky.

But sometimes, when I’m being a spoiled brat, I lose sight of that. It’s embarrassing to admit. But I’m admitting it anyway.

Why You Should Solo Road Trip With Your Kids

I took my first solo road trip with my daughter when she was only a year old. We drove from where we were living at the time – in the Okanagan Valley, B.C. – to visit a friend in Calgary, Alberta. Roughly a 10 hour drive in total depending on how frequently you need to stop – which is obviously often when travelling with a little one in diapers.

That first road trip on my own was such an empowering experience for me, especially as an at-the-time single mom who was fortunate enough to have very supportive, very involved parents who were an endless source of support for me but who occasionally – through no fault of their own – left me feeling like less of a mom because I needed help (but that’s another story for another blog post, although I would like to make it clear they never made me feel that way, it was other people’s comments that got under my skin. But again, another blog, another day.)

But that trip. I had no one to rely on. No back up. No safety net. It was just me, the kiddo, and the road. Ok and the car. And the diaper bag. And about a million other things packed into the car, you get my point though. It was an adventure for just the two of us, and by the end I felt more confident in my skills as a mother than ever before.

My mom and I used to road trip together a lot. My entire family has always been really into road trips actually. We drove nearly all the way across Canada – twice – first when we moved from B.C. to Ontario, and then back to B.C. a handful of years later. But again, another blog post for another day because this post is about those solo trips. Small 2 hour day trips here and there. To Vancouver and back for a weekend more times than I can count. When my daughter was born, she joined our little road tripping crew and the 3 of us continued our journey all over B.C. and occasionally over to Alberta. Sometimes we had reasons for our trips, such as the time I tracked down where my grandmother’s mother had been buried in Alberta so we drove there to visit my great grandmother’s grave. Or when we wanted to take a Girls Weekend drive to Victoria to visit Buchardt Gardens and the Butterfly Gardens for May long weekend, so we rented a van and drove out that way, falling in love with “Sidney by the Sea” along the way. Sometimes our road trips were just because we felt like going for a drive. On a few occasions we’d just pick a random direction and just head out, just because we wanted to explore.

We’d get snacks. We’d pack CDs (yes, CDs) and whether my mother liked it or not I’d sing to her the whole damn time. (She swears she likes it but I’ve heard myself so I think maybe she was just hearing me through the “I love it because I’m your mom” filter.) When I wasn’t singing, we were talking about every single topic under the sun. When I got old enough to drive we started sharing driving duty, something I’m looking forward to in a few short years when my own daughter learns to drive.

Some of the Reasons Why Taking Solo Road Trips With Your Kids Is Awesome

  • Lot’s of quality time for lot’s of quality conversation. Conversation seems to flow better on a road trip for some reason. Maybe it’s the lack of having much else to do (although these days being glued to their phones is still an option, but you can hopefully still get some good chats out of them.)
  • New surroundings have a magical way of pushing you into a new place.
  • Road trip snacks are awesome and nothing feels cooler than when your mom let’s you pick out whatever snack you want…except maybe growing up to be the cool mom who let’s your kids pick out any snack they want!
  • It can be a really education experience, both because of what you’ll learn as you talk along the way, and what you might see and discover on your journey.
  • It’s a great bonding experience, and a way to make new memories. Years after you’ll still be laughing sometimes about a funny thing you saw as you drove through an unfamiliar town, or recounting tales of getting lost or any number of things. When my mom and I were frequently road tripping her car would sometimes overheat and we’d be stuck on the side of the road for hours. We hated it at the time but we laugh about it now.
  • There are so many different options and no two road trips are exactly the same. Weather, the direction you head, even the time of day you hit the road can all drastically alter the experience (in good and bad ways of course, certain times of the year are not the greatest for long drives.)

Leave me a comment and let me know either the best road trip you’ve ever taken, or the longest one. Or if you’d like, tell me your worst road trip experience ever! Mine is tied between when I got sunburnt in Vegas and had to endure a looooong drive back to BC in a car with a window that wouldn’t roll up, or the time I injured my neck on a rollercoaster in Edmonton and had to suffer through the 10+ hour drive back to the Okanagan, unable to get comfortable the entire time.

Fun stuff.

Self Care For Moms

I follow a fair amount of mom groups and blogs and a common theme I see repeated a lot is that moms don’t get their needs met as often as they should. This is obviously a problem a lot of moms can relate to, if the frequency of which it’s brought up is any indication. So why are so many moms lacking the self care department? How can we fix that?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that at least part of the problem is that we’ve made it a habit to put ourselves last, take on too much, and be the go-to person to solve everyone’s problems. We’ve convinced ourselves that if we don’t do it, no one else will and as a result we’ve put ourselves and our needs on the very bottom of the pile. What’s worse, this has gone on for so long that breaking these habits seems impossible and some mothers (obviously not all) are almost comfortable in this “put myself last” dynamic. We’ve certainly normalized it, and that’s unfortunate.

So now let’s normalize undoing it.

Self Care Is Important

It’s great for your mental and overall health, prevents burn out and is a great way to safeguard against developing feelings of resentment towards your spouse or your family in general. Plus it’s healthy for your kids to see you putting yourself first. The importance of self care should be fairly obvious when you look at the consequences of not getting enough, or any.

Some Ways To Help Ensure You Get More Self Care In Your Life

Figure out what self care means to you. It doesn’t have to be bubble baths, massages and getting your nails done. I mean, it can be if that’s your thing, but it’s not the only option. Self care can be going for a solo walk, or having uninterrupted reading time or time to watch your favourite show. It can be a night out or taking a class. Whatever the thing is that makes you feel recharged and reconnected to who you are as a person outside of being a mom, that’s something you should be trying to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

Steal little pockets of time where available, get creative if you must. It can be tough to just find the time to indulge in any type of self care when life gets so busy, so sometimes you need to think outside the box to make it happen. If your kid plays a sport for example, that likely takes up a large chunk of your time. But what if you coordinate with one of the other moms to alternate taking each other’s kids to practice? It doesn’t really add anything to your plate to bring along an extra kid on your days to drive, and it gives you a chunk of time that’s now free on the days when the other mom is taking the kids. Now go do something just for you with that time.

Put other things on the backburner, and prioritize yourself. What is the worst that is going to happen if you sit and read for 20 minutes instead of sweeping? Can you let the kids put the laundry away so you can get a quick work out in? Sure they may not do it exactly the way you would, but does it matter? Really?

Let go and let others take some stuff off your plate. Trust that they can handle it. Resist the urge to micromanage.

Communicate your needs and be firm about them. It would be so nice if your family could read your mind and anticipate your needs, but they can’t. So be realistic and tell them what you need and how you’re going to ensure that need is met. Then hold firm on that. If 7-7:30 is your time to relax in the bath and the kids come knocking on the door asking for a snack: Nope. This is Mom Time. Go ask your dad or figure it out yourself.

Will it always work? No. But if it works even 5% of the time that’s still more than usual so that sounds like a win to me. Plus, it will very likely get easier over time. Think of it this way, it’s like building any other type of habit or skill. It takes practice and repetition.

It can also help if you try to make the self care activities you choose take place outside of the home so they don’t even have the option to disturb you. Call it hiding from your family if you must but sometimes it’s necessary to remove the temptation (that’s you) so they don’t just fall back on the easy solution for all their problems (again, that’s you.)

Find cheap or free alternatives. Sometimes we stop doing the things we enjoy because the expenses of family obligations take priority and anything for ourselves starts to look like an unnecessary indulgence. It’s why so many mom’s will update their kids’ wardrobes every season while they’re still wearing the same yoga pants they’ve had for 6 years.

Ideally, just breaking that way of thinking and learning to treat yourself sometimes would be nice. But until you get to that point, try exploring cheaper or even free options. If buying the newest hardcover novel you’ve been eyeing makes you cringe at the price tag, check your local library or see if there is a used book store or some type of book swap nearby. If getting massages, or getting your nails done is your thing but out of your price range, look for local training schools where you can often get fantastic service by someone learning their trade (guided by a professional in that field.)

Something is better than nothing, so start small if you have to. Making self care a priority is likely a difficult thing to do because you’re not used to it. So any small thing you can do can add up over time. The more you do it, the easier it will become. Your family may even start learning to anticipate some of your needs because you’ve made a point of showing them that they are a priority.  

This one may prickle a few feathers but I’m saying it anyways because some of you need to hear it: Don’t make excuses and don’t be a martyr. You know what I mean.

“But I have to–“ No you don’t.

“Well I can’t–“ Yes you can.

Stop neglecting yourself on purpose just so you can complain about being neglected.

Obviously Sometimes Things Are A Lot More Complicated

Now, I completely acknowledge that a lot of this can be trickier when you’re dealing with circumstances outside of some of the examples I’ve given. If you’re a single mom, that makes it difficult because you can’t exactly hand the kids off to a partner so you can sneak away. Depending on the age of your children, this is still a great opportunity to model that self care behavior. There’s no reason why you can’t have a conversation with your kids and explain to them how every person needs a little time to themselves to do something they enjoy so they can recharge and feel good, modifying the language as needed based on their age. You could ask your kids what activities they think are their own self care activities, and explain to them some of yours. Maybe discuss ways you can help each other practice self care. Start the conversation now so they’ll have a healthy attitude towards self care as they get older.

If you have very young children and a partner that absolutely refuses to help out or accommodate your needs in any way, well…I’m not at all qualified to tell you how to handle that but that might be a bigger issue that needs to be addressed in a more substantial way before it get’s even worse. I’m not saying end your relationship, but having a good serious talk about these things could be beneficial, as well as looking into counselling or other outside sources of support if it seems necessary.


What are your preferred forms of self care? Do you feel like you get enough of it in your life or are you usually putting your needs last to take care of everyone else? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Motherhood Is Not A Competitive Sport

(Photo by cottonbro from Pexels)

Yeah, I said it. Motherhood is not a competitive sport.

Some mom’s seem to have not gotten that memo though. Myself included sometimes. I’m not immune to getting stuck in the trap of at the very least mentally competing with other mothers. Even though I’m aware it happens, it still seems to sneak up on me more than I’m comfortable with, and it’s a habit I’m actively trying to break.

So why are we like this? What makes us feel the need to compete with and try to outdo other moms? I’m sure there are very scientific reasons behind why this happens. Sociologists have probably written papers on this specific phenomenon and all the reasons it occurs. Are dads competitive like this? Are all people?

The thing with competition is, I don’t see anything wrong with it if it just drives you to do better and achieve more. Competition can be a great motivator. But when you’re constantly disrupting everyone else’s moment to shine so you can steal their thunder, it becomes a problem. A really annoying problem.

I have certain mothers in my life who for some reason can’t stand to listen to me say anything about my daughter without trying to one up it. My daughter gets all B’s and 2 A’s on her report card? Oh Lauren got all A’s! My daughter learns a new skill? Yeah Ella learned that 6 months ago. My daughter gets a new device or toy she had been asking for? Ava got that for Christmas and she doesn’t even play with it anymore!

Great. Good for little Laurellava, I’m genuinely happy for the kid but was it really necessary to mention that at this specific moment? I see what you’re doing.

Now, I get that sometimes people just do these things as a way to relate. They want to show that they understand or that they too are familiar with whatever the current topic is, and that’s perfectly understandable. But there’s also a lot of times when you can just tell, either because it happens all the time from this particular person, or because of the way they chime in, you can tell they’re really just trying to say, “My daughter/son did that first/better!”

Why? What is the point of this? Can’t you just say “congratulations” or “good job” or “how exciting!” and move on?

The other thing I always see is the “I’m more tired/my life is busier than yours!” game. You see this a lot from moms with more than one kid, mostly towards mothers of one, or heaven forbid no kids at all. Mother of One Amy might groan about how busy she is and Sally-Three-Kids can’t help but pipe up, “Oh girl! You have no idea! Try having THREE!”

With all due respect, shut up Sally.

Does anyone remember that meme that went around a few years ago with the woman with the letterboard sign saying that moms should get to cut to the front of the line at coffee shops because they were more tired than those who were child free?

Yeah, that kind of thing.

That woman got mostly ripped apart from what I recall, with responses ranging from offended (“Uhhh actually pretty sure DOCTORS and NURSES and FIREFIGHTERS, etc, understand tired more than you ever will!”) to straight up crass (“Yeah you’re not special just because you let someone c*m in you.”) a lot of people seemed really annoyed by her “I deserve special treatment because I’m a MOM!” sentiment, as harmless and tongue-in-cheek as she might have intended it at the time. I’m sure plenty of mom’s also found her post funny and relatable, and from time to time I do still see if get reposted by moms in various places but for the most part I just remember the irritated reactions.

Here’s the thing, motherhood is exhausting. Absolutely. There’s no denying that. Is it more exhausting than anyone else’s life? Not necessarily. So let’s not pretend that any of us deserve X amount of sympathy because of Y contributing factors, and just quit the competing. We’re all freaking tired.

So mothers (yes including myself, as I said I am guilty of this as well!) I’m issuing us all a challenge. If another mom brings up something she’s excited about, let’s try to refrain from responding in a way that tries to beat or one up her story. Let’s just respond positively and with encouragement. If someone says they’re tired, don’t scoff that they have no idea because blah blah blah. If someone brags about something they’ve accomplished that you did before, try to fight the urge to bring up your own accomplishment and just simply congratulate them instead.

You can brag later.

Lessons Motherhood Has Taught Me

(Feature Photo by Flora Westbrook from Pexels)

Motherhood has been a wild journey, so far. It’s interesting to look back at what I expected about parenting from before I ever had even the thought of having kids, or from when I first found out I was pregnant, and compare it to what I’ve learned since then. I’ve been parenting this human for 14 years now and I know I have a million more things to learn as time goes on, but these are some of the things I’ve learned.

Lessons Motherhood Has Taught Me

  • Your kids will hurt you sometimes. Whether it’s a complaint about your cooking, or the dreaded “I hate you!” there is a good chance that your kids will hurt you. You can choose to let yourself feel hurt and victimized by that or you can choose to learn healthy coping mechanisms.
  • No matter how prepared you think you are, you’re not. But you will figure most things out as you go.
  • You can often tell how much some people love you by how much they love your children. Friends who treat your children as if they are their own do so because they love you so much that your family becomes theirs.
  • Everything you’re going through, thousands of other people have gone through too. It might be tempting to imagine you’re the first and only person to ever experience this specific thing, but that’s not the case. That can either make you feel less special, or less lonely depending on how you choose to look at things.
  • No matter what the struggle or the issue, someone else always has it harder and it’s impossible to properly quantify things like that anyways so don’t even bother with that competitive garbage. It’s just not worth it.
  • There are many different ways to be a good mother.
Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels
  • The world is a scary place, and becoming a mother really makes you aware of that.
  • Becoming a parent can really make the way you see your own parents shift. You may have a new appreciation for the things you didn’t realize were as significant as they were, or you’ll see some of the things you thought were normal in a new – and not always so flattering – light. Try to not dwell on the negatives (unless they’re impacting you significantly still, then something like therapy might be a good idea) and try instead to always strive to do better.
  • Even the most well intentioned choices can blow up in your face.
  • Patience, patience, patience, patience. Breathe.
  • Everything you do is teaching your kids something, whether it’s how to treat others to how you react when things get tough. Try to model the behavior you want them to grow up following, but also forgive yourself if you don’t always get it right. You’re human.
  • Things you think are obvious aren’t necessarily obvious to your kids. Remember that and try to be patient. Don’t assume they know how you feel.
  • Your kids are their own people, not an extension of you. Yes sometimes their behavior will be a reflection of how you’re raising them and the values in your home but they are also going to grow to have their own opinions, beliefs and values and that’s a good thing!
Photo by jonas mohamadi from Pexels
  • Sometimes you have to put your ego aside. It’s not always about you, even if it involves you. Especially if your kid is confiding in you. Especially, especially if your kid is confiding in you about something you’ve done that hurt them.
  • Your kids deserve to have lives without your involvement in every single aspect. You don’t need to know or be involved in every detail of everything they do (more applicable as they get older.)
  • It really does go by too fast and it’s true when they say to just slow down and enjoy it because you’ll blink and a decade has passed.
  • Sometimes you have to put yourself first so you have something to give. As the saying goes: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
  • One of the most beautiful things you will ever experience is witnessing your child being authentically, 100% their true selves.
  • One day you’ll barely remember the hard days.

If I’m being totally honest, that barely even scratches the surface of all the lessons I’ve learned. But it’s a start.

Alright, I want to hear from you now. What are some of the best lessons you’ve learned about motherhood? Leave me a comment and let me know.

🤍

7 Signs That You’re a Great Mom

What does it mean to be a good mom, exactly?

Is it going out of your way to give your children all the experiences in life you wish you had? Or making sure they never want for anything – even if that “anything” includes $400 designer jeans they’ll grow out of in a month or the newest iPhone?

Maybe being a good mom means keeping a roof over their heads, food on the table and clothes on their backs, by any means necessary. Or letting them go when you’re not in the right place to care for them.

There are so many ways to be a good mom, and for every Good Mom Thing we do, there are 30 other things we’re doing or not doing that make us feel like we’re failing. That’s just the nature of motherhood, especially motherhood nowadays at the height of Comparison Culture where heavily edited, carefully curated glimpses of other people’s perfect lives leave us feeling as if we don’t measure up.

Here are some thing you might be able to relate to that let you know you’re a good mom.

(Please note, just as a general disclaimer: this is not an exhaustive list, there are many other great examples. Additionally, almost none of the examples on this list are requirements to be a good mother. You are still a good mom even if many of these do not apply to you. And finally, this is not a keeping score type of list. If you can say you check 5 of the 7 boxes on this list, that does not make you a better mom than your sister-in-law who can only relate to 3 of the 7, or vice versa.)

Signs That You’re a Good Mom

#1. You Love Your Kids. Even if they annoy you sometimes. Even if you wish for more time to yourself. YES, even if you sometimes fantasize about what a child-free life may have looked like for you. Despite everything, you love your kids.

#2. You Want What’s Best For Them. Even if what’s best for them isn’t exactly what they want all of the time.

#3. You Worry That You’re Failing/You Worry That You’re A Bad Mom. Does this sound weird to you? It’s totally understandable if it does, but hear me out. The fact that you worry that you’re failing means you care, and just simply caring is one of the most important things.   

#4. You Understand That Your Kids Are Their Own People and Not Just an Extension of You. This means respecting their interests and their choices. Letting them express themselves the way they choose, whether that’s the way they dress, their choice of music or even what they prefer to be called.

#5. You’re Selfish Sometimes. This is something that I think a lot of mom’s struggle with, but, making yourself a priority is definitely a Good Mom habit for multiple reasons. It prevents you from burning out, which helps you be at your best. It also models a very important self-love mentality for your children. Your kids need to see you going out of your way to make yourself happy, not just to make everyone else happy.

#6. Your Kids Get Mad at You Occasionally. Motherhood isn’t just having kids. It’s preparing them for life, helping them become the adults they’re going to be someday. Sometimes this means letting them learn lessons the hard way, or saying no to things even though you know they’ll be mad about it. Obviously this doesn’t mean go out of your way to make life difficult for your kids so they are forced to learn through negative experiences, but sometimes not picking them up when they fall down is the right choice. Letting them figure out the solutions to their own problems instead of swooping in to save them every time.

#7. You Do Stuff With Your Kids. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant, it could be anything like picking up a new hobby together or taking a road trip. Family movie nights, or taking an evening walk. If you have activities you often do with your child, that means you’re giving them your time and attention in some form or another, while creating new memories.

As I said, there are a ton of other ways to tell you’re a good mom, these are just a few. Leave me a comment and let me know some of the things you can think of that let you know you’re a good mom.