Before I was a mom, I had this idea of what type of mom I would be. I thought that my children would listen to me and follow my instruction. I would be the awesome classroom mom that always brought the best cookies and hosted the most epic parties. My house would have all the awesome toys and there would be an infinite amount of the newest, coolest snacks. I would cook three meals a day, do laundry daily, and I was going to make healthy snacks and pack healthy lunches every single day. It would be amazing. I would be amazing.
As a first-time mom, I washed my daughter’s pacifier every time it fell from her mouth. I cleaned EVERYTHING, and I cleaned it all EVERYDAY. I thought this was how things were “supposed” to be. I stressed over every tiny thing. I was so worried about making sure she was reaching her next mile stone that I did not enjoy the trivial things that she did every day. I wanted to make certain that I was not “spoiling” her, that she was sleeping in her own bed, that I was not holding her too often or for too long. I was so concerned with meeting expectations set by others that I set myself up to feel like a failure. For the longest time, I did not think of myself as a “first-time mom”, I was a “fail at every turn mom”.
When my step son came to live with us, my daughter was only 9 months old and we lived in a tiny 2-bedroom apartment. I kid you not, the apartment was approx. 900 square feet. My kitchen had 2.5’ x 6’ of walk space and if the refrigerator door was open it blocked the doorway. It was an extremely small apartment but, we managed to squeeze two adults, one school-aged child, one baby, and a 50 lb. dog. I thought, “this is just what I need, another child to fail”. Things were super tense.
I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted my step son to transition smoothly and to thrive in his new school. Well, eventually happened it just took 2 years. He hated me. I did not think I was qualified to be raising a 6-year-old. What did I know? I was struggling with a 9-month-old. I was dealing with milestones and obstacles that I had otherwise thought I had years to prepare for. Suddenly, I was a first-time mom with two children.
I got the hang of things-well, sort of. Things were going okay, but I wanted to move into a bigger place. We found a house for a great price and it was big enough. It was old, but we did not care. How soon can we move in? Within 32 days we had packed up and moved. That was 3 years ago. In August, our family grew again. I gave birth to a perfect baby boy! Our oldest plays every sport and our daughter is an aspiring ballet dancer/brain surgeon. HA! My husband and I are both attending Troy University. Life is good, but busy.
If I could meet “before mom” me, I would laugh in the face of that naive child. I am certain that version of myself would cringe at the baggy, food stained sweater and boxers that I have worn since yesterday. She would scoff at my floors and faint at the sight of my laundry room. However, as shocking as this may be, children are messy and being a mom is hard.
I still have lofty goals of organized closets, fantasize about uncluttered counter tops, and dread the thought of turning off the ceiling fans-the dust bunnies would invade. Guess what though? The world did not explode, my children are healthy, my husband is happy, and I still have a sliver of sanity left. It is okay to not be perfect. The sun will still rise, the laundry will be there and getting the dishes out of the dishwasher as needed has not ever killed anyone-to my knowledge. Start enjoying being a mom and stop stressing over being the best mom.
There is no “Best Mom”. Just be, Mom.