When I decided I wanted to start a blog, I knew in my heart this needed to be the first post. As cliche as it sounds, being a mom truly is the hardest job in the world. Yes, it’s the most satisfying but it is definitely not all rainbows and sunshine. When J was 2, I distinctly remember having a conversation with a friend. She had a daughter J’s age, and an older son. I told her that I was happy the “terrible twos” were almost done and asked her when it gets easier. Without skipping a beat, she replied “it doesn’t”. We laughed at the time – a laugh that was a combination of humour and fear.
Remember the scene in “Bad Moms” where Mila Kunis announces to the entire PTA that every mom is a bad mom? (Sidebar, if you haven’t seen this movie, it’s a must see. I highly suggest you check it out!) Mila’s character goes on to say that sometimes she’s too strict, sometimes she’s too lenient. She laments that what works for one child almost never works for the other. Well I don’t know about you, but I was not-so-secretly raising my hands along with her. There is something freeing about knowing that being a “bad mom” is okay. That not every decision has to be perfect. It should be just that easy, right?
Except it’s not. As moms, we are our own worst critics. We scrutinize every inch of our decisions with that little voice in our heads. Are we feeding our children too much? Too little? Are they too short? Too tall? Are they outside enough? Too much? Every decision is a rubiks cube of emotions and a see-saw of back and forth. It starts the day they are born, and it never stops. Never gets old. Never lets go. Don’t get me wrong, dads do this too. Some, even more so than moms. But there is a special place in our heads for mom-guilt. We feel guilty when we’re doing it, and we feel guilty if we’re not. There is no end to the madness.
As a mom, my first years were trial by fire. I have never been good at learning as I go. I am a planner, an organizer, and a chronic over-thinker. This is starkly juxtaposed by Hubby who is a feeler and a doer. We do end up balancing each other out, which is good since two of the same would be a serious nightmare. I thought I could plan out life with a child, but life doesn’t give you that choice. So I was forced to maneuver through motherhood like the proverbial bull in a china shop. There were days I thought I has it all figured out, and there were days where I thought I was an absolutely failure. But when I look back, and look at my children now, I think we managed through it alright.
Society doesn’t do mothers any favours. Mila’s “Bad Mom’s character states in her rant that being a mom today is impossible. Every now and then, first time mothers ask me for advice (and let me clear this is NOT unsolicited advice as society loves to dole out to moms….). My number one piece of advice is that motherhood is not just rainbows and sunshine. Feeding your baby is not going to be natural. They are not going to latch right away. They are not going to grab at the bottle immediately. It’s not like they show in the movies, and it definitely isn’t spoken about enough. Movies and tv shows will show moms as being perfect, and that everything will come naturally – from the moment they birth out a perfect 6-month infant. The mom is able to breast-feed perfectly, and the baby sleeps through the night on day 1. Then the mom wakes up super refreshed and dewy-faced, ready to face the day. This is so far from reality, it hurts to even type it. As moms, we need to talk to one another, and share the “ugly truths”.
So what are these ugly truths? We are all, in some way, shape, or form, a bad mom. It doesn’t get better. But it does get easier for a hot minute. We will get into a groove and figure most things out. Then our children will grow, change, or evolve and we will be back to the beginning. Nothing is perfect. There is definitely no such thing as a perfect mom (no matter what you see on social media). The more we share this with one another, the more normal it will feel. And then maybe, one day, we won’t feel so guilty.
This is life. Love, Mom.