Shout out to all the females who choose to be mothers — whether it’s being a birth mom, a stepmom, an adoptive mom, or even a foster mom. Because no matter what type you are, you are that one curly fry in an order of McDonald’s french fries.
And because mothers have existed since the dawn of time (holla to the OG mom of humanity, Eve), it’s natural that wisdom gets passed down from generation to generation, regardless if it’s wanted or not, and especially if it’s true or not.
So, we’re here to debunk three popular myths people tell you about motherhood.
Myth #1: Motherhood Will Come Naturally
Oh, you beautiful creature. You’re only human. Even with all the parenting skills literature out there, being a mom doesn’t come naturally. It’s a skill that needs to be learned.
In fact, Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of Mindvalley’s Conscious Parenting Mastery Quest and New York Times bestselling author, suggests in order for you to parent well, you need to grow and awaken into it.
To think that we should just know how to respond to our children is really quite irrational.— Dr. Shefali Tsabary
Don’t let all those perfect mother-child Instagram and TikTok posts fool you because a good majority of Millennial mothers are suffering from burnout. And by believing the myth that motherhood comes naturally, you may just be setting yourself up for mega expectations that can lead to a tremendous sense of guilt and shame.
Myth #2: A Good Mom Is a ‘Loving’ Mom
There’s nothing like a mother’s love for her child — that warm, fuzzy feeling, the beauty, and purity, and the sense of ultimate selflessness. And a loving mom is a good one, right? Sometimes, yes.
But other times, the love we have towards our children feels anything but loving. Instead, it might feel authoritative. Why does this happen?
We sometimes forget how to love, that we say we have towards our children, isn’t actually selfless. In fact, our love is heavily tinged with our own egoic agendas.— Dr. Shefali Tsabary
She explains that often when we say we love our children, it’s out of a conditionality — “we love them when…” and “we love them if…” For example, “We love them when they are behaving” or “we love them if they get straight A’s.”
These are agendas of possession, need, dependency, control, and transactionality. And it’s this kind of love that doesn’t feel like love towards our children.
Myth #3: As a Mom, You Need to Be In Control
What’s up with humans and their deep-seated desire to be in control?
It’s one thing (a good thing, actually) to have control over your own self, your life, your successes, and so on. It’s another to control others, especially your children.
As a mother, you may be in denial that your child isn’t meeting the expectations you have for them. Maybe they’re not as athletic as you had hoped they’d be. Or they chose an artistic career path instead of being a lawyer like you’ve been pushing them to be. Or maybe they’re not the happy children you’ve painted them out to be on your social media.
According to Dr. Shefali, when parents find themselves trying to control their children, they often discover that their own parents had done the same to them. It’s not their fault, really. It’s just what they knew from their parents who learned it from their parents and so on and so forth.
Instead of uncovering those patterns and seeing clearly your controlling issues, parents disguise their control in the name of caring.— Dr. Shefali Tsabary
And this sentiment of “caring” acts as a distraction from the lack of control you may have had in your childhood.
You Are Already the Perfect Mom, Anyway
We each have our own idea of what being a perfect mom looks like, and we’re inevitably going to fail to meet that standard.— Carley Fortune, Refinery29’s Editor
Motherhood is not exactly textbook because, like DNA, every mother’s experience is unique. So, if you’re doing the best you can to be a great mom to your child, then hey, you’re already the perfect mom.
And it’s no secret that any mom advice given needs to be taken with a grain of salt. So, whatever momformation you’ve received, keep in mind that your instincts are the best source of guidance out there.
Does it feel right? Go with it.
Feels wrong? Run away as fast as you can.
Learn to get in tune with your instincts, be best friends with it, and respect it when it tries to direct you to the best decision for you and for your child.