The pull & push of motherhood is real. We want our children close (physically & emotionally) but we also crave some space. Don’t feel alarmed at your ambivalence. It’s uncomfortable to feel two opposing things at the same time. More often than not, the experience of motherhood is not good or bad, it’s both. It’s important to learn how to recognize & even get comfortable with the discomfort we feel with this tug-of-war inside of us.
When we are pregnant, we start developing thoughts, feelings and ideas about our fantasy baby. We start to write our own story about who he/she is, what they will be like & what our family will now look like. We spend so much time fantasizing over this story we create, it becomes an expectation for our future. Women create this unrealistic expectation of what a “good mom” looks & acts like. Are we supposed to be bright-eyed & have sunshine pouring out of us 24/7? Are we supposed to have zero needs & take painstaking measures to fulfill everyone else? Are we supposed to stand behind 100% of the decisions we make every single day? Yikes, imagine how exhausting that would actually be. Don’t feel like you are less that what you are because your day-to-day looks worse than someone’s highlight reel. IT’S NOT REAL. That mother DOES NOT EXIST. That’s right, she’s like a Disney princess, fast metabolism & high sex drive post baby, just a fantasy. If you consider yourself a “good enough” mother, know that you are not alone. Striving for perfection sets you up to feel nothing but shame & guilt. Who the heck wants to feel that way because you had to stop breastfeeding because your nipples were going to fall off or you let your baby cry for an extra 3 seconds because you needed to pee with the door closed.
We don’t talk about feeling guilty or ashamed for the challenging & impossible choices we have to make, but we should. If you opened up to a true friend, you’d find you are not alone. Unless you are putting your unborn baby or child in eminent, present, emotional or physical danger from the choices you are making… you have nothing to feel ashamed about. My friend I will tell you, there is nothing wrong with you. You are enough, you are doing enough & I need you to stop trying to compare yourself to an unrealistic, unattainable standard.
You my friend are not lost. You will find yourself in the position to uniquely create a “new you” without the expense of changing your legal name, passport or drivers license. The “you” that existed prior to this new phase of your life is not gone, she has transitioned to 2.0. So go on, bring a store bought treat to school. Read a magazine on the toilet with the door closed while your kids raid the pantry for all of the no-no-list snacks you shoved into the bottom of your grocery cart so that no one else would see them. It’s ok, we’ve been there too. In fact, most of us are there right now. Solidarity sisters, change the way people perceive our role as “the perfect mother” in 2018.