The Myth of “Having It All” During Matrescence

Posted 02 Jul 2024

Introduction

Imagine a woman who effortlessly balances a successful career, a happy family, and a vibrant social life, all while looking perfect. This image is often what society portrays as “having it all.” However, for many mothers, this image feels unrealistic and unattainable, especially when they are experiencing Matrescence. Matrescence, a term not as commonly known as adolescence, refers to the ongoing process of becoming a mother, a period of profound transformation. The notion of “having it all” can be misleading and harmful. This blog will explore why the concept is a myth and how mothers can redefine success during their Matrescence journey.

Understanding Matrescence

Matrescence is the ongoing monumental transformation a woman undergoes when becoming and being a mother, similar to how adolescence describes the transformation from childhood into adulthood. This period involves significant physical, emotional, and psychological changes. Just as teenagers undergo major transformations, so do new mothers.

When a woman becomes a mother, her body undergoes numerous changes to support the growth and nurturing of a baby. Hormonal shifts prepare the body for childbirth and breastfeeding. These changes can lead to physical symptoms like fatigue, changes in appetite, and body aches. Understanding that these changes are normal can help mothers navigate this challenging time.

Emotionally, the experience of Matrescence can be a rollercoaster. New mothers often experience a mix of joy, anxiety, happiness, stress, fear, and excitement. They might feel a strong bond with their baby but also worry about their ability to care for them. It’s important to recognise that these emotions are part of the ongoing process and don’t indicate failure or inadequacy.

Psychologically, Matrescence involves a shift in identity. Women move from seeing themselves primarily as individuals to viewing themselves as mothers. This shift can be challenging as it can involve letting go of some aspects of their previous identity while embracing new roles and responsibilities as a mother. This transformation is complex and deeply personal, highlighting the need for support and understanding from family and society.

The Myth of “Having It All”

The idea of “having it all” is deeply rooted in historical and societal norms. It suggests that women can simultaneously excel in their careers, maintain perfect households, and raise well-adjusted children without missing a beat. This concept gained momentum in the late 20th century as women entered the workforce in larger numbers, and media began portraying superwomen who seemed to manage everything effortlessly.

However, this idea can create unrealistic expectations and unneeded pressure for mothers. Society often reinforces this myth through movies, advertisements, and social media, where the highlights of others’ lives are showcased, making the “perfect” balance seem achievable. The reality is that these portrayals are often curated and don’t reflect the reality of everyday challenges and struggles of motherhood.

Culturally, the pressure to “have it all” varies. In many Western societies, the emphasis is on individual achievement and maintaining a facade of perfection. Other cultures may have different expectations, focusing more on community and family support. However, the underlying pressure to meet societal standards can be found globally, making it essential to question and challenge these norms.

woman experiencing Matrescence

The Realities of Matrescence

Matrescence comes with its own set of challenges. New mothers can face identity crises as they try to reconcile their pre-motherhood selves with their new roles.

One example is women who have been career-focused. The sudden change in priorities and the demands of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming when their personal aspirations seem to be on hold.

Another example is women who feel pressured to return to work quickly, regain their pre-baby bodies, and resume their previous social lives. This pressure can conflict with their desire to spend time with their children and embrace their new identities. The expectation to revert to their old selves often fails to acknowledge the profound and lasting changes that motherhood brings. Sometimes, a woman can feel both of the examples simultaneously.

One of the significant challenges is balancing various roles. Mothers are often expected to be primary caregivers, manage household responsibilities, and sometimes continue working. This balancing act can lead to physical exhaustion and mental stress. The pressure to meet these expectations can result in feelings of inadequacy and guilt, especially when things do not go as planned.

Social media exacerbates these feelings by presenting an idealised version of motherhood. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook often show mothers who appear to have everything under control, with perfectly dressed children and immaculate homes. These images can make real-life struggles seem like personal failures rather than common experiences.

Redefining Success During Matrescence

To counter the myth of “having it all,” it’s important for mothers to define success on their own terms. Success during Matrescence does not have to mean excelling in every aspect of life simultaneously. Instead, it can mean finding a balance that works for the individual and their family. This balance will look different for everyone and can change over time.

Personal definitions of success might include prioritising well-being over perfection. For some mothers, this might mean taking time for self-care, whether that involves exercise, hobbies, or simply resting. For others, it might mean focusing on building a strong bond with their child rather than keeping up with household chores.

Practical tips for balancing priorities include setting realistic goals and expectations. It’s essential to recognise that it’s okay to ask for help and delegate tasks. Sharing responsibilities with a partner, family members, or friends can lighten the load and provide much-needed support. Additionally, creating a flexible schedule that allows for adjustments can help manage the unpredictable nature of motherhood.

Another important aspect to highlight is self-compassion. Mothers must give themselves permission to make mistakes and learn from them. Parenting is a continuous learning process, and no one has all the answers. Embracing this mindset can reduce the pressure to be perfect and make the journey more enjoyable.

Matrescence Coaching can be a valuable tool in this process. A coach can help mothers explore their conflicting priorities and values, offering guidance on how to align their actions with what truly matters to them. Coaching can also provide strategies for managing the different “seasons” of motherhood, recognising that there is a time and phase for everything.

Building a Supportive Community

Support systems play a vital role during Matrescence. Having a network of people who understand and share similar experiences can provide emotional and practical support. Family and friends can offer help with childcare, and household tasks, or simply be there to listen and offer encouragement.

Open conversations about the realities of motherhood are crucial. Encouraging honest discussions can help break down the myth of “having it all” and normalise the challenges that come with Matrescence. By sharing their stories, mothers can support each other and foster a more realistic understanding of what it means to become a mother.

mother reclaiming herself

Conclusion

The concept of “having it all” is a myth that can create unrealistic expectations and unnecessary pressure for new mothers. Understanding the transformative nature of Matrescence, acknowledging the challenges, and redefining success on personal terms are essential steps in countering this myth. Building supportive communities and encouraging open conversations can further help mothers navigate this journey with confidence and self-compassion.

By redefining what it means to “have it all,” mothers can focus on what truly matters to them and their families, finding balance and fulfillment in their unique ways. Remember, every mother’s journey is different, and there is no single definition of success. Embracing this diversity and supporting each other can make the experience of Matrescence more enriching and less stressful for all.

Are you ready to redefine what success looks like for you? Book in a complimentary Matrescence Discovery Call today.


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