Parenting is the best thing I’ve ever done, but also the most difficult. In my lowest moments, I feel like a piece of my soul has been chipped away, never to return. I know that sounds dramatic, but it happens to all of us! It’s hard work.

After adopting two children in two years, I learned a thing or two about the highs and LOWS of parenting. It’s a roller coaster for the emotions and there have been so many days where I needed a massive pep talk by the end of the day. So I thought I would leave one here for anyone who might need it. 🙂

You are doing great! 
If you don’t read the rest of this, it’s OK as long as you hear this: You are amazing. 

It’s so easy to focus on what you didn’t do perfectly today, but there is no such thing as a perfect mom. If you’re doing your best, you are doing GREAT. Remember, no one knows how to parent your children like you do. You were made for this!

Take care of yourself. 
I understand how hard it is to take the time to go get a massage or schedule lunch with a friend or even just leave the house for an hour alone. This is really hard for me when I’m overwhelmed, but it’s part of my job to stay healthy. Do whatever you need to do to “put your own mask on first.” That can mean a lot of different things, so just remember that your health really matters. Take any chance you can to recharge your batteries.

Do you need an internet break? 
If you are going through a tough time and all of a sudden everyone on the internet is REALLY annoying, maybe take a little break. You won’t miss that much. It will be there when you get back. Getting offline can be a great form of self-care.

Have you tried therapy? 
The best thing I did for myself as a new parent was start regular therapy sessions. In past decades, there was more stigma around therapy; now most people I know go regularly. I’m so glad therapy has become more “popular” because in my experience it’s helped me work through things faster and stronger. I can’t recommend it enough. Even on weeks when I don’t feel like I have anything “big” to talk about, I’m always happy I took the time to go.

Let go of guilt. 
One of the biggest things I had to get over as a new mom was my guilt for not being everything I was before kids anymore. There are days (and months) where I am just not the friend or the granddaughter or the business owner that I want to be. There are times when I’m not able to be a 10 out of 10. I had to let it go. Part of being able to balance and juggle my new life is giving myself permission to cancel something or to not volunteer for everything, or to realize that there will be so many years in my future where I have more to offer—but that time is not now. In the years I have little kids in my home, they take up a lot of space in my heart and mind, leaving less room for other things, even important ones. I had to accept this. I hope you can too.

Tune out shame—especially from yourself.

If you’re still reading, I am sending you the biggest hug. I know it’s imaginary, but I still hope you can feel it! Being a parent is not easy, it’s a marathon and it’s OK to do it imperfectly. I hope you feel seen and supported today. I hope you find a way to take care of yourself or give yourself a break—you deserve it!

xx- Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.