Ah, does such a thing even exist. When I found out I was pregnant I had all these thoughts in my mind about how I was going to be ‘the perfect mom’. I would breastfeed my baby until they were 6 months old and then they would enjoy moving on to my healthy homemade meals for them. I would not use dummies as they cause a speech impediment. They would sleep in a fabulous routine and I would tidy the house and prepare food whilst they did so. No child of mine was going to watch Kids TV, and heaven forbid they shall see an iPad before they were in secondary school. My child would be polite, well mannered and behave just how I asked them too. It would all be perfect and easy.
Was it hell.
I think Evie had her first dummy around 2 days old. We were still in the hospital and I vividly remember I had left her in the room (we were there for a while and had been placed in a private room) with Matt and said I needed fresh air. It was new years day and there was no one around. I called my mom and I sobbed. Evie just would not stop crying for me, she wouldn’t feed from me and I had convinced myself she hated me. I even said that to my mom. My baby hated me.
My mom, being awesome as always, calmed me down and reminded me that she was a baby, of course she did not hate me and that she was getting stressed out because she could sense I was stressed. She told me to pop to the nurse’s station and ask them for a small bottle of formula because she was clearly hungry. And I did just that. Some people probably think that was a bad move but I did what I had to do to keep my sanity and to make my baby happy. I tried combination feeding, and it worked for a while but a few weeks later my milk went and she had no choice but to have bottles all the time.
My house was a state instantly. I couldn’t remember to feed myself, left alone prepare home cooked meals for Matt when he got back from work. The washing pile was a mountain and I remember sitting there hating myself, because this was not how it was meant to be. Every few days I would get my shit together and manage to get on top of things but then I always knackered myself out doing it and end up back at square one. I couldn’t understand where I was going wrong.
Luckily for me I was part of an amazing network of moms online, in a birth board of mamas going through the same thing at the same time. We were all tired, hungry and in need of a good shower. But we were solidarity in numbers and we gave each other the boost we could not give ourselves.
I was lucky, Evie seemed to come with a built in sleep pattern and was a relatively easy baby. Even so, I found myself finding this whole becoming a mom game much harder than I could have ever imagined. I constantly judged myself on what other believed made you a great parent and not by what I was actually doing. Which was keeping this tiny little human alive! She was doing well, gaining weight and developing into her hilarious little character.
I think it took until Evie turned 2 for me to start realising that I was not doing so badly at this parenting game. For me to begin to trust my own judgments and for me to not run her up the doctors with every little sniffle. Its so hard with social media, where we all portray just the best of ourselves. So many people take photos in their house in the same spot, and I have come to realise this is most likely because it is the only spot that is clean and tidy, so we can pretend we have our shit together.
It is about time we all realised there is no such thing as a perfect mom. Not because it is cheesy and totally unrealistic but because how can we say each child is different and then expect each parent to be the same. No, I am not a perfect mom, but I am just the way my child needs me to be.
I will never have a picture perfect house. I rarely see the bottom of the washing basket and to be frank my oven could do with a clean. But my child is fed and healthy. She can be well mannered and polite and she can also be a little mare. Sometimes she will eat the food I cook her and sometimes she acts like it is poison. And so what if she does, it’s not like I like everything that I eat!
Until next time …