Do you ever wonder if being a mama should be this tough? No matter how hard you try, that nagging feeling of not measuring up creeps in, and the frustration, guilt, and exhaustion seem to linger far more than you’d like.

I’ve got a secret to tell you… It’s not you, and it’s not the kids, either.

Let’s talk about the real culprit behind this struggle: the sneaky traps of modern motherhood. Designed by outdated patriarchal societal norms, these traps set unrealistic expectations of who a “good mother” should be.

Trap 1: The Bounce Back Brigade 

The changes a woman experiences through matrescence are simply not acknowledged. We’re expected to return to normal (whatever normal is), but now with ‘mum’ added to our CV.

This pressure to “bounce back” makes us feel lost and broken because we’re desperately trying to prove that we’re the same person as before, while every single cell in our body is screaming, “I’ve changed!”

Truth: It’s okay to admit that you’ve changed – to grieve what you’ve lost whilst celebrating what you’ve gained. And to need time to figure out who you are now.

Trap 2: The Maternal Instinct Myth 

The belief that being a mama should come naturally and that these mythical maternal instincts will come flooding in the moment a baby is placed in a woman’s arms is one of the biggest lies ever told. It sets unrealistic standards for two reasons:

Firstly, when we realize we haven’t been bestowed with this superpower but rather brimming with self-doubt, it makes us feel like we’re not maternal and that we’ve failed as a mama. Secondly, internalized gender norms mean that the burden of childcare, the mental load, and associated domestic tasks all fall disproportionately on mamas because “you know how to do this stuff better than I do.”

Truth: Parenting is a learned skill, not an innate talent. It’s okay to grow as you go and to ask for support. 

Trap 3: Superwoman Syndrome 

“Mums are superheroes!” I’m sorry, but no we’re not. We’re human with very human needs and limits. But we’ve been conditioned to attach our worth to how many balls we can juggle. The pressure to have it all, do it all, be it all, and feel grateful and fulfilled whilst doing it is exhausting and unsustainable.

Truth: It’s time to ditch the cape, drop a ball or two, and embrace imperfection. 

Trap 4: Mother Martyr Mentality 

The age-old idea that a good mother puts her children’s needs before her own; she’s selfless and being a mother is the most important part (if not all) of her identity.

Not only is self-care, being unapologetic about your needs, and daring to dream beyond the edges of motherhood not selfish, but ignoring them leads to resentment and a much deeper sense of loss of identity.

Truth: Remember, you don’t need to disappear to prove your love. 

If you resonate with any of these, I want you to know that you’re not alone and you’re certainly not to blame! Society’s unrealistic expectations of motherhood have been ingrained in us for too long.

But it’s never too late to do things differently and reimagine our own rules to help us experience a more aligned, calmer, and more joyful motherhood.

And if you’re looking for a first step towards this, why not download my FREE guide, Discover Your Motherhood Code Discover your Motherhood Code — Katrina Court Matrescence Coaching ( 

This article is by Katrina Court, one of our partner coaches.

Katrina is an ICF-certified coach, Mama Rising™ Matrescence Facilitator and mother of one. She works with mums who feel invisible, frustrated, and depleted by the early years of motherhood supporting them to understand their matrescence, connect to their new identity, redefine success, and feel equipped with the tools and mindset to live a reimagined version of their motherhood.

You can find out more and book a free exploratory session through her profile page.