My first Mother’s Day just happened this past weekend and it was filled with nice compliments like “You’re a great mom! You’re doing a terrific job!” When my response was that I was trying, I was met with a “no need to try, you’re a natural!” And you know what? 99% of the time I’m not sure I would agree with that statement. You see, for years and years I dreamed of being a mom, longed to be a mom, and counted down the days until that dream became a reality. But all of a sudden I was handed a baby and given the enormous responsibility of keeping said baby alive and it hit me just how big of a task I had been given.
I mean it when I say I try my hardest to be a great mom, but so often throughout the days and weeks I find myself questioning things I’ve done or decisions I’ve made. I suppose that’s the greatest shortcoming for the majority of moms going about the business of raising their children. That we constantly doubt and critique ourselves, putting us up against the “perfect” moms we see on Facebook or Pinterest and wondering if we’re doing it all wrong. That mom guilt can really eat away at a person, especially if they’re already feeling like they aren’t doing enough. The truth is that there are no perfect moms out there, no one floating through parenthood all easy breezy, and if they say they are they’re lying. So yes, I am trying every day and some days I’m doing the Jay-Z “dust your shoulders off” and giving myself a high five, but most days? Most days I’m (literally) pulling my hair out, wondering what I could have done differently for each situation I’m presented with. For example:
- I feed my kid canned veggies, because trying to find the time to steam fresh veggies and use them all up before they go bad is difficult and not to mention expensive. Do I feel bad about this? ABSOLUTELY. But you know what? At least he’s eating veggies and other healthy foods on a daily basis, I attempt to make sure he’s getting food from every food group, and he’s definitely not getting any fast food, juice, soda or sweets. Okay he had one donut hole on Mother’s Day but I swear that’s it!
- I raise my voice a lot more than I ever thought I would. I’ve never been a patient person to begin with, but I wish I had more control over it on a daily basis. I get stressed because I’m working while trying to take care of my son at the same time and the next thing I know I’m snapping at him over something he can’t help. He’s being extra naughty or fussy, he’s being too rough with the poor cat, he’s doing all of these things that drive me nuts. But do you think he’s doing them all to intentionally frustrate me? Nope, he’s not. He’s just a baby doing baby things, something that can be so hard to grasp when I’m right in the middle of the chaos.
- I constantly wonder what more I could be doing. I spend all day talking to him about different animals and the noises they make, colors, numbers and shapes, we read several books, and yet I find myself always questioning what more I can do, or feeling like I’m not doing enough. My husband tells me I’m doing a great job and all I can think is “but what more could I be doing?” Why do I have to be doing more, why can’t what I’m doing be enough?
I think in the end that’s the most important question to ask yourself if you’re feeling like you’re failing as a parent. Why can’t what you’re doing be enough? Your home doesn’t need to be spotless, a little dust or clutter never hurt anyone. You don’t need to feed your children strictly organic products made from unicorn tears and coconut oil three meals a day, that occasional box of mac and cheese isn’t going to kill them. You don’t need to be perfect, you’re probably still perfect in their eyes. No matter what goes on throughout our day and how hectic it gets, my little one still pulls himself up in his crib each night, smiling and giggling, wanting more hugs & kisses from his mommy. He doesn’t care that I may have raised my voice at him during dinnertime, or that I played on my phone a little longer than I should have, I’m still his whole world. So maybe the next time someone tells me I’m doing a great job, I’ll really listen to the words and take them in instead of immediately thinking “I could do better.” Maybe I’ll stop judging myself so harshly and tell myself that I don’t have to be the most perfect mom to ever walk this Earth. Just because I’m not perfect doesn’t mean that I can’t still be great.