I’ve always struggled with self-doubt. I beat myself up constantly – for forgetting to send an important email, for making a typo, for not keeping the house 100% clean, for spending $30 at Kohls, the list goes on and on. So it should come as no surprise that my self-doubt increased when I became a mom.
Ever since my son was born nearly 8 months ago, I have held myself to an impossible standard. I have expected to remember every single detail about every little thing despite the fact that I had just been through one of the most extreme experiences possible (read: labor). In the early days, I reamed myself out for not opening the flaps of my son’s diaper, resulting in him peeing through three different outfits. I beat myself up for being angry when my son woke up every hour on the hour. I beat myself up for not being proactive and reaching out to my friends to say hi. I beat myself up for not having dinner cooking when my husband got home from work. I beat myself up for thinking about work when I should be thinking about my son. I beat myself up for feeling frustrated when my son is crying and I don’t know how to make him stop. I beat myself up for being unable to lose the remaining 10 pounds I put on during my pregnancy. I beat myself up for feeling too tired to exercise. I beat myself up for binge eating cookies and watching Netflix while my son naps. I beat myself up for wearing only sweatpants during the majority of maternity leave. I beat myself up for not showering for four days in the first two weeks after bringing my son home.
Moms, why are we so hard on ourselves? We treat ourselves worse than we would treat an enemy. We expect to do everything perfectly and then crucify ourselves when we don’t. We spend time looking through pictures on Facebook and Instagram and wonder why other moms have their you-know-what together. We wonder why we’re the abnormal ones.
Guess what? You’re not abnormal. You know what’s abnormal? The idea that moms should be perfect. The idea that moms won’t ever feel overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, angry, sad, etc. The idea that moms should have the house clean and be showered and dressed with their hair done perfectly every day…. while caring for a newborn. The idea that moms should shave all of the pregnancy weight within the first month after having a baby (despite the fact that it took 9 months to put on the weight).
Those are the abnormal ideas. Those are the stigmas society places on us. Those are the expectations we’re facing every day.
Let’s squash those expectations. Let’s allow ourselves to be imperfect. Let’s be content with doing the best we can – even if we only get through the first two items on our to-do list. Better yet – let’s throw those to-do lists out the window.
You know what really matters? Our children. Too many moms (myself included) spend all their time rushing from thing to thing without really being present with their kids. There have been times (as much as I hate to admit it) where I am with my son, but my mind is elsewhere. There are times where I catch him smiling up at me and I realize: I’m his entire world. I’m the most important person in his life and he deserves my full attention.
Today I’m throwing away my to-do list. Today I’m going to focus on what really matters. This is but one moment in my son’s life and before I know it, the moment will have passed. I don’t want to regret not being there to experience it with him.
I encourage all of you moms to go easy on yourselves. Stop expecting so much. You’re doing the most important job of all: raising your child. Everything else can wait.
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