The doctor’s confirmation of my pregnancy triggered an onset of worry.
I had no clue how to be a mother. How was I going to help this child thrive and survive this world? I wasn’t even sure if I was capable of properly carrying a baby full term. The constant worry and questioning led to hours of online research, countless calls to my mom, and frequent Q & As with other mothers I knew. In the nine months of my pregnancy, I read multitudes of blogs and received enough advice to give myself a false sense of preparation. Even the unsolicited advice from the older women at the grocery store was duly noted. “A good mother puts her child first.” “A good mother knows the balance between work and home.” “A good mother feeds her children a hot, nutritional meal everyday.” I had been told everything about parenting, everything BUT the fact that there is no real definition of what a good mother is, and none of us has quite figured this parenting thing out yet.
The birth of my baby boy brought a quick realization that I didn’t measure up to the definition of what a good mom should be, and, after nearly six years of parenting, I still don’t feel that I live up to those standards.
My truth is that motherhood is HARD.
It’s exhausting, messy, and a constant need to be present even when you want to disappear. No one showed me this side of motherhood. In the world of social media, motherhood is a sum of clean, smiling children in loving family photos. Mothers are portrayed to be super humans who always have it together. We write captions boasting and bragging about our motherly feats and rarely do we mention the moments we can’t get ourselves out of bed, let alone encourage our kids to be positive, fearless, and ready to take on the day. It’s difficult to balance the fairy tale of motherhood and reality.
But the reality is we are great mothers.
No matter how tired, sick, or frustrated we are, we get up and parent our kids day in and day out. We are raising little people with unique personalities so there will be bad moments, but none of those moments make you a bad parent. I wish I would have known that as a new mom. It would have saved me years of questioning if I deserved to be a mother because I didn’t have it quite together like I believe all the other moms did. I would have never faulted myself for the moments I didn’t enjoy being a mother or apologized for wanting a break some days. During the past couple of years, I’ve worked hard to unlearn the preconceived notions of what defines a good mother. I focus more on my children’s needs and emotional cues because life has shown me that no parent has raised a perfect child.
I’ve had moments where I’ve been cold and distant like Sandra Bullock on Bird Box, and I’ve had days when I’ve been sunny and magical like Mary Poppins. Most days, I just take it moment by moment and try to figure out what’s best for my kids. I encourage you to do the same.