Sunday, 6 March 2016

Oh Perfect Mother Where Art Thou?


Today on Mombies Unite, Melanie offers an honest and straight-up look at the expectations of motherhood vs. the everyday reality. She had me cracking up, nodding along and making myself a note to channel Lady Gaga the next time I discover myself poop-smeared in public

Is she laughing or crying? She'll never tell.

Meet Melanie. Finding her way through a never-ending daunting pile of crumbs, laundry and oh-so-tired eyes, Melanie is the proud owner of two messy, but lovable munchkins.  She would like to thank her husband, coffee and Roomba for helping her make it through the day.  

Mel's the kind of gal that is both intimidating and engaging. She's confident and she's always got it together between the way she balances ongoing higher education and teaching while remodeling an entire house, her dancer physique and her rocking trademark style so I was secretly just incredibly a little delighted to hear she's been wearing her pajamas as street clothes. Thanks Melanie!

Ah.  The “perfect mother” syndrome.  You know, that elusive goal where life with babies and toddlers is filled with smiles, laughs, and perfection?  
Yeah. I fell for that. 

The notion of the perfect mom was one that had been ingrained in my mind as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Books, blogs, apps – I felt I had all the tools necessary to live up to my totally achievable goal of being that mom.  The only truth I faced was when the reality fairy stopped by and let me know my aspiration was by no means plausible.

I have a confession to make.  I purposely now purchase pajamas that not only function at night but will also lend itself to my daily outings (Trust me. I know how pathetic that really is).  
Ladies, there are days I have tried my darndest to put myself together so I at least look half presentable before I face the world at Wal-Mart, only to realize five minutes before leaving the house I have a sleeve covered in snot and a shoulder with spit-up ever so beautifully dripping down my back.  
I’ve had to learn I will not look like Jessica Alba as I’m headed out the door.  Instead, I channel my best Lady Gaga trend setting booger vomit attire as best I can.  
While making myself presentable is a feat in itself, so is the amount of responsibility my day entails.  As moms, not only are we responsible for keeping our littles healthy, happy and breathing, we feel the duty to run an effective and thriving household adorned with Pinterest everythings.  I hate you Pinterest…well sorta.  
The most enjoyable tasks of laundry, cleaning, organizing, cleaning, laundry, cooking, groceries, laundry, cleaning, booking appointments (did I mention laundry and cleaning?) are bottomless pits. Our 24 hours in a day either feel drudgingly slow or tick by faster than you can say “cracked nipple”.  I will never have it all together, but that’s okay. I’ve learned that having it all together is simply not possible being a mom.  I would rather look a hot mess with two happy kids than have curled hair and lipstick with two screaming kids.  I would rather have five heaping piles of laundry than to miss out on hugs, kisses and giggles.  I will have glimpse and pieces of togetherness, but not in its entirety.  
Besides, my three year old thinks it’s cool that I wear pajamas all day (and by all day I mean three days in row).
VIa Scary Mommy on Facebook

If you’ve never had your ego pinched, bumped or down right crushed as a mom, I envy you.  It took me two children to finally allow my perfect mom reality to take a kick in the shins.  
As embarrassing that it took me that long to come to this realization, perhaps what is the most disconcerting is the fact I actually thought I could really be the perfect mom.  Thinking I could cook the “Baby/Toddler Friendly Organic Low Salt/Sugar/Fats High Protein/Vegetable/Fruit Gluten Easy Pinterest Meals” after returning from a full day of work while my two littles entertain themselves ever so respectfully  (no – we do not purposely hit in the face) would be simple.  
My newly fresh yet oh so already weathered motherhood ego has taken many bruises, bumps, and let’s be honest, major falls along the way.  I don’t expect the ego injuries to disappear anytime soon. I’ve begun to learn they are and will continue to be what makes me “mom” on a daily basis. I’m okay with that.  In fact, I am more than okay with that.  It has brought me down to a level of normal where I do not focus on societal and personal expectations, or what Pinterest tells me I should be creating.  
Instead I focus on being me. My ego can take a hike.

As a mom, if you have never, ever, ever shed one tear – I mean, even a slow dramatic tear roll down your face -- then PLEASE tell me your emotional strategy secrets.  Like. Right. Now.  
The reality of the "perfect" mom is she has it all emotionally in check.  Nothing phases her, not even a toddler drawing markers all over your brand new floors explaining “it was an accident” or your newborn shrieking for attention while you quickly try once again to potty train your stubborn toddler who is unrolling all the toilet paper.  
From the first moment I brought my first born home (WHERE IS THE BABY MANUAL?!) I shed tears.  They continued. Some days they flowed like the rivers of the Nile.  Then two kids came along. I learned to accept the fact it was best to just let the tears appear. To Kim Kardashian ugly cry and just let it happen.  Tears are a way of emotionally letting go and eventually learning to exhale and start again.  
Move forward, don’t look back, and continue to conquer motherhood the best instinctual way you know how.

Failures. Fiascos. Fumbles. 

The mere idea of failure still is a really difficult concept for me to grasp.  While I am the first to admit to many #momfails, the term failure seems so harsh. As if each of us does not feel like a total failure at some point (or daily) as a mom, let’s focus on less personal and social judgement and more open-mindedness.  Thus, the transition from failure to fumble.  
That time when you have to lead parent-teacher interviews in 30 mins and rush a birthday "cake" only to realize you have no candles. #momfail

My Type A drive for being the best quickly took a deep nose dive after the birth of my kids.  When my firstborn was wailing uncontrollably in the wee hours of the morning and I could not get her to stop, I fumbled.  When I tried to YouTube multiple ways to properly swaddle only to have my kids break out 2.3 seconds later…I fumbled.  Those times I swore I’d never use TV as a babysitter yet I turned on Doc McStuffins one more time to quickly make dinner, I fumbled.  When I told my husband I resented him because he was not a mom and did not understand anything I was going through…I fumbled (or did I?). 

Don't worry everybody. We made up for our blunder. Caketastrophe averted.

I have learned to accept fumbles as part of my day.  I used to look at fumbles with such self-loathing and disappointment.  That was not healthy.  It did not get me any further ahead.  I needed to embrace my blunders and look at it as a means of picking myself up off the ground and growing from the experience.  

To me, fumble is synonymous with acceptance I’ve accepted the fact I will make mistakes.  I will continue to make mistakes.  But it is what I choose to do after I have made my mistakes that is most important.  

Failures to fumbles.  Fumbles to acceptance.  Acceptance to growth.

There is no perfect mom.  There will never be a perfect mom.  What makes us “perfect” is what makes us human – being raw, real, exposed.  We struggle, we succeed, we cry, we celebrate.  Whether it is losing your cool over hearing “there is so much poop mom” or doing a victory dance over your littlest pointing out a cow in a story, you’re doing what you do best – being a mom.   We strive to let our kids know that mistakes are okay; they are part of being human.  So why do we not take the same life lessons we are teaching our littles and adopt the same notion?  Let’s celebrate our successes and celebrate our failures.  

You are not perfect and I am not perfect, because perfect just doesn’t exist.  

You keep being you.  I’ll keep being me.    

Together we will be perfectly imperfect REAL moms.


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