If you’re anything like me, you’ve planned motherhood to fit neatly into the space between a successful career, and nestling into a home with just the right partner. You’re an urban, Type-A, used-to-controlling-your-life woman who’s joined the Mommy Club during an age of unreasonable expectations on women. You know—that mythical 70’s Wonder Woman badass who could do it all, and still feel sexy (yeah, right!).
When you have a baby, everything spins out of control, and you start to feel like you’re living in a house of falling cards. Haircuts, folded laundry and sleep become luxuries. Your life revolves around naps and poops. You may begin to feel like you’re failing at everything, and become OCD about creating order. If so you’re simply craving control. Welcome to your new (out-of-control) life.
Now, everyone’s surely told you that it will get better, but I’ll share a little secret with you. It doesn’t just happen. You don’t wake up one day and magically have an easier life with a flock of family to help. You have to decide that you don’t want to feel this way, and take steps to take care of yourself so you don’t become a totally depleted, empty shell of a woman who doesn’t resemble the real you. If this sounds familiar, don’t beat yourself up. This is all normal. And it can change, if you decide that you want it to change.
Here’s something you can do right here, right now:
Let Go of the Idea of the “Perfect Mom”
She doesn’t exist. Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes, you will lose your patience, and you will torture yourself about all the things you think you’re doing wrong. But that doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. In your baby’s eyes, you are perfect, just as you are.
Breathe that in for a minute, and then….
I’d like to invite you to do a little exercise. Write this down. Put it in your wallet or stick it on your bathroom mirror, and read it daily. Let it be your Mommy Mantra, and then, apply it to every aspect of your life.
“I am good enough.”
If any of this resonates, if you’ve been feeling guilty and stressed and worry that you’re not a good enough mother, leave a comment here and share with all the other moms reading this who feel just like you. It’s anonymous, so you can spill your guts. Now go spill ‘em!
Hi, I’m Natalie, founder of Mommywise. I’m a Brooklyn mom of two (now) teenagers, PPD survivor, still humbled by the early years of parenting. I started this blog in 2004 as a way to help other parents who felt as dark and lonely as I felt to feel less shame, normalize the feelings of not loving parenthood, and raise awareness about postpartum mood disorders. I’m passionately committed to helping new parents feel more joy, offering sustainable employment for women and mothers, and contributing to positive change in the world.