When I first became a stay at home mom, I really struggled to figure out how to structure my day. I had gone from working a full-time job where I woke up at 6:30, got dressed, went to work, had lunch at noon and left work at 4 o’clock. Now, I was waking up at 5 am, nursing the baby, putting him back to bed, and sleeping in until 9am when he would wake back up to be fed. It was then a question of not what to wear but, do I feel like putting a bra on today? There is not a scheduled lunch time, or break time and eventually you feel like you don’t even get a bathroom break!
On top of that you are left wondering, what do I do today? In those first few months of having a newborn at home, all you can do is really just survive, but after that time is past, you have to eventually create some type of routine. I would look to other moms to see what they did. Some did laundry on Mondays, vacuuming on Tuesdays, washing the floor on Wednesdays and so on. But what if I wanted to just go out on Tuesday, and Wednesday I would like to take my child to a music class, and oh we are out of diapers so I need to run errands on Thursday, but crap, there goes my schedule! This continued on week after week, and instead of my floors getting washed on Wednesday’s, I was lucky if they got washed once a month!
I’ll admit it, I am just not one of those OCD cleaning people. I want to be, really I do, but I am okay to just take my clothes off right where I am standing and NOT put them away. I’m okay to leave the breakfast dishes on the table and not do them until later that night….or the next day. Call it laziness, but I just don’t care that much. Don’t get me wrong though, I LOVE when my house is clean and organized. It makes me feel more accomplished and helps the whole atmosphere of the house feel less chaotic. But the next day, it just gets messy again….
When you become a stay at home mom, all of the sudden your social circle changes to include other stay at home mom’s because, let’s be real, you can only stay home for so many days, talking baby talk to your infant and staring at the clock, wondering when your husband can get home and give you adult conversation. So instead you try out this magical new social event called “playdates.” I remember one of my first playdates was with a mom who I now consider my best friend. She invited me to come over to her house to play with her two older kids and when I got there, her living room was an explosion of toys everywhere, her kitchen had dishes piled up in the sink and my friend was in sweats with her hair up and no make-up on, and guess what? It was THE BEST PLAYDATE EVER. Why? Probably because our personalities are very similar in that we are both not Type A about our houses being clean, but also because of the atmosphere of her house. What do I mean by that? I felt welcomed. I felt heard. I felt comfortable to just be me. The imperfect Mom. However, all good things definitely feel like they come to an end, and my dear messy friend, up and moved out of the state! I’m still mad about it!
But I had to eventually wipe away my tears and determine myself to make other mom friends. However, I kept befriending OCD mom’s who seemed to always have it all together. When we went to the library, their hair was nicely done, make up on and wearing super stylish clothes, whereas I would have struggled to just wash my face that morning and was wearing yoga pants for the 3rd time that week. When I would go to their home, every room was like Joanna Gaines had just visited and was perfectly picked up, with even the toy room organized! And so without my kindred spirit of a messy friend nearby, I started to become the OCD mom. I didn’t want anyone to come over if my house was not clean. I would spend the entire day going crazy cleaning, organizing, decorating, and shoving things in closets and under the bed, meanwhile leaving the TV to babysit my kid, and being a grouchy hot mess when my husband would come home. But then when our guests came for a playdate, shrug it off like, “no big deal, this is how it always looks.” And then it finally dawned on me…. Perfectionism kills vulnerability.
None of us are actually perfect, right? We hear that all the time, yet we strive to be the exception. But in every area that you try to be perfect in, there is an area that you are now neglecting. For me, my house would be perfect but my kids would be ignored, my husband would get word vomited on and my friendships were lacking depth. I realized that the reason I felt so comfortable at my first friends’ house, was because she was more concerned with being real and vulnerable than she was being perfect. That’s the kind of friend I want to be. That’s the atmosphere I want to create. And maybe you tend to be more of an OCD cleaning person, and that really is okay, but don’t let it get in the way of true friendships.
Being a mom is hard, but being a mom who can’t be real with other mom’s is just plain lonely. So leave those dishes for “Thursday” and call up that friend you know you can be real with and let vulnerability take over perfectionism.
Amanda Ryan is a mom-trepreneur who owns a business as a lifestyle and birth photographer as well as works as a college minister at the University at Buffalo, and runs a monthly mom’s group for mom’s who need a night out. She is mom to three little ones and wife to one amazingly supportive husband. Her mantra is to be real in all areas of life, while trying to spread hope and positivity. Her hobbies include making real friends, coming home to a clean house that she didn’t have to clean, wearing a bathrobe every single day, and watching Hallmark movies with the same plot.
Personal page: https://www.facebook.com/amanda.ryan.739
Business page: https://www.facebook.com/amandaryanphoto/