• Dr. Michelle Casarella

The struggle is real: #momlife

Updated: Jul 9, 2019

While both the new mom transition and ongoing struggles of motherhood vary, these are the top 10 common themes many moms have expressed to me:

Mom guilt:

Holy shit, what is there not to feel guilty about?

If you are a mom, you may not have experienced any of the other 9 items on this list, but you’ve definitely experienced mom guilt. Mom guilt is potentially lurking in every decision you make--or don’t make. Everything from how/what you feed them, staying at home or returning to work, giving them “too much” screen time, wanting to run away from it all, etc.


You can love your baby so much it hurts AND count down the minutes til bedtime. It's okay that those two things can be true at the same time.

Children evoke a multitude of emotions: fierce protectiveness, intense anger, love beyond what you could ever imagine, mind-numbing boredom, soul crushing loneliness, and laugh-so-hard-it-hurts-your-belly happiness. And just like a toddler’s behavior, those emotions can change from one minute to the next. It’s completely normal to have a “love/hate” relationship with motherhood. The problem is our societal expectations that shame even the mere thought of this. But really who wants/enjoys something all of the time?


Blame your brain for this one. There are identifiable changes to your brain once you become a mom (even if you didn’t give birth!) Experiencing increased levels of anxiety throughout motherhood (and during pregnancy) is completely normal! It will likely come and go in waves.

The key is accepting it and making a commitment to manage it.

Feeling incompetent:

Motherhood has this amazing way of making any confident woman feel like they can’t get their shit together. There will be many days when we truly can’t get our shit together--and that’s okay. How many times have you looked back on a day and thought to yourself, “I got nothing done today.” This is where changes in your expectations are needed. Doing everything with kids around takes double the time. Just think about (or imagine) how fast you can grocery shop alone, as opposed to when the kids are there?

You are not incompetent; sometimes this shit is just that hard!

Feeling unsupported:

“I get all the support I need/want!” said no mom ever.

This is such a difficult topic because while moms truly do not get all the support they need, we also sometimes make it difficult to receive support.

Sometimes moms just need to hear that they are not being selfish or incompetent by wanting/needing support. At the same time, you can definitely make some changes in your life to get more support--even if it’s not all the support you deserve!


A lot of moms share with me they didn’t expect to feel so lonely in motherhood.

As a mom you are constantly around your kids. So while you may be never alone, you may frequently feel lonely.

That is because so many components of motherhood induces loneliness. For example, some mothers prefer to breastfeed in private, which can make those early days very isolating. And every try to have a phone conversation with a toddler around? It’s nearly impossible. You’re forever half-paying attention to what the other person is saying, so you end up getting off the phone.


This permeates all aspects of #momlife. Moms forever what to feel like they can do it all--and do it all perfect.

The more you let go of perfectionism, the more peace you will feel. It is impossible to achieve high levels of perfectionism, and you’ll only set yourself up to fail these impossible standards.

Neglecting their own needs:

As a mom, it is inevitable that at some point you have to put your needs last. It’s basically in mom DNA. It’s actually the reason behind why the airline safety briefing (that no one listens to) says to adjust your own mask before helping others. Moms default to helping their child first. But, if you’re in a depressurized cabin without your mask, you’ll become disoriented and eventually pass out. So you wouldn’t be able to help your child then.

The bottom line is simple: if you don’t take care of yourself, taking care of your kids will become so much harder.

I get that as a mom there will always be times when you have/want to put your kids first. My advice is just don’t make this a habit to the point where you feel like you’re constantly in a depressurized cabin.

Their shit from the past creeping up:

Isn’t it amazing how becoming a mother drudges up baggage? Everything from your relationship with your own mother to household/marriage roles and beyond.

All the things you think you had gotten over or were no longer an issue suddenly appears, and usually with a vengeance.

The reason is because having kids is a major life transition and a trigger for past issues.

Want help managing the overwhelm of #momlife? Get my amazing freebie here

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