They didn’t tell me it would be like this!

by admin on March 6, 2015

Is motherhood not what you expected it to be?

Guest Posting: Alexandra Hughes

Can you remember what you expected motherhood to be like?

Did it look like you holding quiet baby on a rocking chair, looking longingly into each others’ eyes?

Did it look like you putting baby down with ease and bidding him goodnight as he wafted into a peaceful 8-hour rest?

Did it look like you cooking away calmly as your toddler entertained herself with beautifully crafted European toys nearby?

Did it look you coming home from a fulfilling career, energized to spend quality time with a contented child?

This romantic vision of clean smiles, hugs and moments of shared peace and fun are engraved in many mothers’ minds and expectations.

These images conveniently miss out on a few common-felt Mom feelings and experiences, though.

The exhaustion, the frustration, the overwhelm, the mush mind. The unravelling relationships, unmet deadlines, spit covered blazers, screaming (wrestling!) siblings, the perpetual mess and “to do” lists.

I went into motherhood completely unprepared. I “knew” that my children wouldn’t argue, wouldn’t become tv (or sugar!) addicts. I knew they would want to help me, would speak to me kindly and respectfully (as I spoke with them (always!). I knew my career and social lives would go unaltered, as I seamlessly integrated my children into what I considered, a full-life.


As I plunged head-first into this manic and messy world of motherhood (and that is another story!) I found myself in a serious state of shock.

Eight years and three kids later I think it’s fair to say that I am still in that state of shock. Despite having bought all the books and done all the courses, I am still not sure what is going on.

Everyday I find myself struggling to be the mother and professional woman that I want to be.

The good news is that somewhere along the way I discovered that I am not alone in this struggle.

Support from mentors and coaches, solidarity with other mothers-in-shock coupled with a good sense of humor, A LOT of self-care (against all odds) help me to see the value in my broken expectations.

It helps me to hold all that IS, all that wasn’t supposed to be or happen, in a place of gratitude.

Here’s a quick 5-minute exercise to help you shift away from expectations that may weigh down your experience of what IS.

  • Identify your expectations of motherhood – imagine them, write them up, or draw them out.
  • Let them go – breath them out, rip them up.
  • Write a gratitude list of what brought you joy today – take 3-5 minutes sitting in a feeling this list brings you; simply breathing and being in joy.
  • Imagine yourself in a circle of women who are sitting with you in this place of joy.
  • Hold onto or recall this feeling throughout the day

This is one of many simple exercises you can use to support yourself as a mother. Other resources and tools can be found on – a website dedicated to supporting mothers seeking calmer and more joyful lives.

If stress and motherhood feel as if they go hand in hand, consider joining the next Calm Mom Coaching Circle, starting 25 March in Tenleytown, D.C. Visit to learn more. Bethesda Breastfeeding clients receive a 10% discount.


Alexandra Hughes

Alexandra Hughes is founder of and a transformational women’s coach dedicated to helping mothers find balance, joy and to become empowered creatrixes and leaders of their personal and professional lives.  She launched In Essence Coaching, LLC in 2011 after training with the International Coaching Academy to become a Certified Professional Coach. Prior to this, Alexandra dedicating 18 years of her professional career to International Development research and practice.

Alexandra lives in Washington D.C. with her three young vivacious children and her husband.

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