What did you think motherhood would be like?
Can you think back to that image you had in your head as you rubbed your round, pregnant belly?
Did you imagine a baby at your breast, nursing sleepily as you gazed into each other’s eyes? Did you envision you and your partner staring at your perfect, little angel as they drifted off to sleep in their crib? Maybe you thought about meeting your friends for brunch and catching up on girl talk while your babe snoozed in their stroller?
Did you think that you - the person who juggled work and home and friends and life - would be able to add one more ball into the mix and keep them all in the air?
Of course you did. And you were probably wrong about most of it.
But here’s the postpartum reality: You Are Not A Perfect Mom. And that’s okay. In fact, that’s more than okay.
See, in this society we have this myth about the perfect mom. She can handle her new baby with ease and never doubts her abilities as a mother. She breastfeeds seamlessly and always gets enough sleep. Her home is tidy. Her meals are nutritious and home-cooked. She’s still dynamite in the sack with her partner. She can do it all.
That’s the myth of the perfect mom. And let me tell you, it’s just a myth.
Because, the reality is, in this culture, we set new moms up for failure. We tout sleep deprivation as the gold standard in new motherhood. We constantly bombard new moms with pressure to "bounce back." This society promotes breastfeeding as “best” yet provides very few resources for parents to feel supported through their struggles and then sends moms back to work at 4-6 weeks postpartum.
We make new moms feel like failures if they need help; if they are not perfect.
So excuse me for getting real here, but that’s bullshit.
New motherhood is FAR from perfect. It is messy, literally. You are leaking from everywhere, your body hurts, you haven’t slept in days, and there are no loving gazes into your wailing newborns eyes at 3:00 am.
The dishes and the laundry baskets are overflowing. Dinner tonight is pizza. Again. If your partner tries to touch you, you swear you will murder them because you are JUST TOUCHED OUT. When your friends ask how you’re doing, you say fine. When they ask if you have a good baby, you say he’s great. You’re afraid to ask for help; afraid to admit that some days you just don’t like this screaming little thing.
And if you think you are failing at motherhood because this is your reality, please hear me when I say: You Are Not. You are actually perfectly normal. You are realer than real.
There is no such thing as a perfect mom. That perfect mom just doesn’t exist. So stop trying to be her.
Instead be real. Tell other new moms what this reality is like. Let things go. Ask for help. Lower your expectations. Be the world’s okayest mom.