Translated and adapted by Anders Peterson from the original article “Tres formas para apreciar nuestros esfuerzos al final del día como madres” by Denhi Chaney
If you are a mother who feels like she has not accomplished anything at the end of the day, if you feel like you have made no difference and haven’t been productive then this article may be just for you. Sometimes, as mothers, we tend to take for granted the things we are able to do during the day. We may even have an idea of what a perfect mother is like, and what she is able to do as the day goes by. In other words, we may have the vision of an impeccable house, well-groomed mothers, clean and well-behaved children and homemade meals (never purchased). In other words, a perfect performance. The truth is that few mothers (if any) are able to do these things on a daily basis and avoid losing their minds at the same time.
If you are trying to avoid losing your mind, which is lost when we try to do the impossible, this is the time to learn to appreciate your efforts, whether great or small. When we learn how to appreciate what we do in our daily routine, it is easier to enjoy our role as mothers as well as our children’s company. In addition, we feel confident, and we see our potential when we appreciate our own efforts. The following tips may help you avoid these discouraging feelings so that you can feel more fulfilled at the end of the day:
1. Enumerate things you have done during the day. This step helps depressed mothers to really appreciate all the things they have accomplished. This step should include taking a look at every accomplishment. You should include not only those actions you consider relevant, but also from the time you got up and fed your children to the point when you took them to the bus stop, among other things. This exercise really helps us see how much we do during the day, and that no mother retires at the end of the day having done nothing.
2. Acknowledge challenging things you do during the day. As mothers, we may do certain things that we don’t feel like doing, whether it is because of lack of motivation, fatigue or because we don’t like doing them. However, we still need to do those things. When you are doing a chore you don’t like, take time to compliment yourself because you are still doing it. Being a mother is a role that is full of these types of situations, which implies that, at one point or another, we are not only being productive but also doing something we would like to avoid doing.
3. Appreciate your small efforts. Mothers have so many responsibilities that it is easy to believe we must do everything perfectly. Don’t believe this lie. Instead, appreciate all of the small things you do, including those that may be imperfect to you. For example, if you have had a difficult day, you are tired and have pizza for dinner, don’t feel like you have failed as a mother. Rather, take pride on the fact that even though you are exhausted, you are finding a way to feed your family. Remember that small efforts are not only important but also essential for your family.
Perfection is an illusion. It is so real that it may make us feel unsatisfied as mothers and unhappy with what we contribute to our family. Make a decision today that regardless how big or small your efforts are your contributions to your family are important. You are essential in your home, and your efforts are commendable. They cannot be compensated, measured or paid for. As you prepare for bed, think of what you have done during the day, and your greatest effort (even if it is small for you) will benefit your family.
Anders Peterson es profesor de lengua española en la Universidad de Arizona. Él reside en Tucson con su esposa e hijos y es traductor e intérprete independiente.