What To Do When Motherhood Feels Hard

by Ann deBruyn

What To Do When Motherhood Feels Hard

For many of us, we had a dream to become a mom for as long as we can remember. Then much to our surprise, motherhood looks a lot different than it did in our dreams.

From worrying about your kids to balancing home and work life to rediscovering who you are after kids and so much more, it can feel very challenging to say the least.

Know that if motherhood feels hard it’s because it is hard. And that’s okay.

The way to teach overcoming challenges is different than most experts. Most people will tell you what to DO (what action to take) but this doesn’t get at the root cause of the problem. It’s like putting an Ace Bandage on a broken arm—it’ll feel better in the moment but it doesn’t help heal the bone.

I teach you how to solve the challenges of motherhood from the inside out—where you can identify the root cause of whatever you’re going through and make real, long-lasting changes. The best part is you’ll be equipped with practices that will help you solve future challenges that haven’t even happened yet.

What You Can Do When Motherhood Feels Hard

Below is a list of my favorite practices for approaching the challenges of motherhood, from the inside out. Read through them and choose which tools you resonate with most, then try those out. The goal is not to use all the tools but instead to find a couple that really work for you and help you navigate your life in a better way.

Give yourself permission not to like all of it.

Because you likely wanted to become a mom, there’s this idea that now you’re supposed to be grateful for it, which means you need to like it all the time.

This is just not true. It’s a lie we told ourselves at some point.

The truth is that there are parts of every day, month, season, and year that you’re not going to like—and that’s okay! Practice reminding yourself of the parts you DO like and DON’T like.

For example, you might say “I love being at the pool with my kids in the summer and playing with them.” Then you might say, “I don’t like bedtime with a toddler and baby.”

Bring awareness to both—what you like and what you don’t like. Then don’t judge yourself for any of it. You’re supposed to like certain parts and not like other parts. Just like every season of life. That’s the way of it.


  • How To Stop People Pleasing (podcast)
  • 3 Steps To Reduce Anxiety For Moms (free class)

Get outside once every single day.

After I had RJ, my OB gave me great advice. She said, “get outside every day.” Since then, I’ve tried my best to do just that, and it really has made a difference.

So much of motherhood is in our homes, that when you take a break and get outside (even if it’s with your kiddos), there’s something refreshing about it.

The fresh air, the sun, seeing nature, and being in a new environment—all of it can shift your perspective and help you release tension that feels difficult.


  • Time Management Tips For Busy Moms (free class)
  • Perfectionism In Motherhood (podcast)

Practice a 10 minute daily meditation.

Because your nervous system gets activated by anything it perceives as a danger, it’s triggered by things like tantrums, kids misbehaving, and anything else going “wrong” at home. This is the primitive part of your brain that thinks anything in your environment that is challenging is a threat to your survival. This was really helpful when the threat was a preditor and when you were fending for your survival in caveman days. It’s not so useful in your suburban household with air conditioning.

One way to calm down (and stay calm) is to practice meditating. You can meditate in as little as 10 minutes every. CLICK HERE for my 10 Minutes Of Silence Meditation.

Have a few mantras to tell yourself.

There’s no point where you “arrive” when you won’t experience challenges. I like to say “problems are forever.” Because of this, it’s really useful to prep how you want to think about your challenges before they happen.

Having a few mantras to help you get through a challenge can be the difference between increased anxiety and suffering and just having a tough day—the tough day may be inevitable but the suffering is optional.

A mantra is like an affirmation except you focus on how the thought feels to you. An example of a mantra I love that feels good to me is “this is hard and that’s okay.” It reminds me that I’m not supposed to be perfect and it gives me permission to struggle without adding judgment (i.e.: “it shouldn’t be so hard”) to what’s already challenging.

Here’s a list of mantras I’ve shared on Instagram that you can use:

  • Mantras for when you’re feeling triggered
  • Mantras for overwhelm
  • Mindset shifts for hard days
  • Scripts for mom guilt

Talk to a compassionate friend.

As humans, we feel most seen by people who have struggled similarly to us because there’s this sense of compassion that we often get from the other people.

So, it can be hugely beneficial to talk to a friend who understands what you’re going through.

It’s not even necessary that they’re a mom (although they may be). All that’s necessary is that they’re compassionate to what you’re experiencing.

The goal with talking to a friend is just to feel seen and heard. It’s not that they solve your problem but instead, after you’re with them, you really feel like they got what you were saying.


  • 75 Journals Prompts For Moms (free download)
  • How To Deal With A Challenging Relationship (free class)

Separate your feelings from the facts.

A foundational component that my work is based on is the idea that feelings are not facts.

There are the facts. Then there are your thoughts about the facts. Then there are your feelings.


They’re all separate.

For example: let’s say my client says to me, “I have three kids under five years old so I’m such a stressed out mom”

The facts are: client has three kids under five years old. The thought is: I’m such a stressed out mom. The feeling is: overwhelmed.

There’s no such thing as a “stressed out mom” there are only the facts, what you think about the facts, and how that thought makes you feel.

Often my clients wrap up their feelings in their identity (e.g.: “I’m worried” versus “I’m feeling worry”).

When you separate out the facts from your feelings, you gain awareness into the root cause of everything you’re struggling with.

This is what we do inside Grow You, my mindfulness community for moms.

Drop the perfectionism.

No mom is perfect. There’s no such thing as being a perfect mom. It can be hard to remember this when we see other moms on Instagram, but it’s the truth.

I like to set the standard of “World’s okayest mom” (here’s a photo of me in my World’s Okayest Mom shirt on Instagram). This means that I’m 50% amazing and 50% mess and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

With this standard in mind, I leave room for mistakes; for being human.

Motherhood is hard enough. Don’t make it harder by beating yourself up for not being perfect. You’re not supposed to be perfect. You’re supposed to get it wrong, make mistakes, and be a human mother. You’re the exact mom to your kids that you’re supposed to be. Mistakes and all.

Remember: love is the most important ingredient to have in your home.

As a modern mom, it can be tempting to always want more for our kids. And more isn’t necessarily bad until we use it to want from a place of lack (from thinking what we’re providing for our kids isn’t enough).

Gently remind yourself that the most important part of your home is love. That’s all your kids need—a loving, safe household to grow up in, where they feel seen and heard.

There’s nothing you need to learn or buy to do this. You have all of the knowledge already within you to provide everything they need.


  • Thursday Inspo (weekly email)
  • How To Cope With Negative Thoughts As A Mom (free class)

A Final Note

Motherhood feels hard sometimes because we’re challenging ourselves to grow in ways we’ve never done before. It’s messy and imperfect. And that’s how it’s supposed to be.

The true measure of growth isn’t how easy your life is, it’s how easy you are on yourself when your life is hard. Remember that.