I had my first kid at age 21, newlywed and still maturing. I had all these thoughts of what I was and wasn’t going to do as a mom. I had planned to go back to work after having my baby and kick ass at juggling both. My world was turned upside down when I had to quit my great paying job due to complications with my pregnancy. It was for the best in order to ensure that I was healthy and that Cameron baked as long as possible and was healthy as well. Becoming a housewife at the time was not something I was happy about, nor did I enjoy. I was beyond bored and felt utterly useless. Later in the pregnancy, my husband enlisted active duty into the United States Army and it was then decided that me being at home was going to be a permanent arrangement. How perfect would this be for me to really be the “perfect mom”. We have since moved on from the chapter of the Army life, and transitioned back into the civilian world where we have been for a few years now. We have grown our family, moved, changed careers, obtained degrees and more.
It should be widely known that sometimes being a stay at home mom isn’t all fun and games as A LOT of people think it is. It does plain out suck sometimes and sometimes it’s really rewarding. The years I have been at home taught me a lot about myself and my level of patience, my ability to get stains out, what it really takes for me to lose my sh*t, and that reheated coffee isn’t too bad. I came into parenthood with the wrong mentality that I was going to be the perfect mom. No processed foods, homemade everything, limited screen time and other things some might deem as appropriate and/or perfect. Everyone has a different definition and standards.
I figured I would be a millennial version of Mrs. Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver. I ended up finding that trying to be the “perfect” mom not only sucks but it was exhausting.
Reasons I gave up on being the “perfect” mom
- It was not making me happy. I learned that one way to be happy is to stop trying to be perfect. Make mistakes, learn from them and keep going. I had to redefine what it meant to be perfect. I had to stop comparing myself to other moms and the sh*t they were doing.
- Parenting is a learning experience. I had to learn to go with the flow. Becoming a parent is pretty scary. There are a lot of things you think you have under control and then all hell breaks loose and you lose your sh*t.
- It is okay to be a little bit selfish. I use to dedicate all of my time to my kids. I know a few people like this as well. I found that I was losing touch with myself by doing this. I barely did anything for myself or took time out for me. I started to let my kids sort out their problems on their own, if they fell down I didn’t immediately rush to scoop them up anymore, and I stopped immediately jumping at every request. There are now a lot of “gimme a second”, “when I get done with…” and “maybe later” “leave me alone” (ha-ha) replies to requests.
- Making everything from scratch is a waste of my time. I used to literally make the majority of what we ate from scratch. From pancakes, to Teriyaki sauce, to mashed potatoes. I found that doing this didn’t make me happy, nor did my family give a sh*t about it. It still taste just as good coming out of a box. I use instant potatoes, Bisquik, and other items religiously now and slashed food prep in half. Let’s be real here, with a hungry husband and 4 kids to feed, not to mention being preggo who has time for that crap? I almost felt like it was a sense of superiority because I would make things from scratch, when in actuality I hated it.
- I let myself go. I always make sure my kids are dressed and presentable before we leave the house. I was however at one point making sure there wasn’t a booger in sight, no buttons missing, not one hair standing up on their heads, and stupid sh*t like that. I always said I would never “let myself go” to where people could look at me and tell that I am a mom whatever that means to you. Everyone knows what I am talking about no matter how polite or politically correct they want to be about it. The mommy let go is when you just flat out look like sh*t. You look run down, worn out and like you just gave up and checked out on life. Now I wasn’t totally slumming it, but there was a time where I stopped caring if my shirt was wrinkled and I did everything in sweat pants. I have upgraded to yoga pants *wink* , I wear a little make up now because I actually have a little time to do it before I leave the house. I was tired and I didn’t care as long as my babies looked good.
- I started to neglect my marriage. This is very common. Parents tend to get so wrapped up into being parents that they forget each other’s needs. We both found ourselves wanting to sleep instead of spending time together because the kids wore us out. Between work, school, sports and such it was exhausting. A lot of couples refuse to realize that it is okay not to put the kids first sometimes. It doesn’t hurt them, it doesn’t mean you love them any less.There is enough love to go around.
- Being a perfectionist is not the same as doing your best. There were no advanced achievements or expedited growth from my ways of making nothing but homemade meals and having an always tidy house and things of that nature. Who cares about bragging rights?
- We live in a society where some expectations are unattainable. What will people think? The mommy drain is real (having a job or career, starting a family and never returning back to work). A lot of moms want to “have it all” where they have a career and a family. In most cases this is bullsh*t. You can’t realistically have both. Maternity leave is a joke when you work for some companies, and the cost of living keeps increasing. Daycare costs just as much if not more than college. I thought I was going to have it all by having an amazing career and a family, but in reality one will suffer some how. It may not be intentional but there will be some neglect. Even if it is just a tiny little bit. It doesn’t matter if you are your own boss or work for a Fortune 500 company. So you might as well pick which one you love more and put more effort into that or find something that balances things out to where they can co-exist. For me, I had to do a total career change and find something that works for my family’s dynamics because what I wanted to do and what I was doing wasn’t working.
I think I am doing a better job as a mom, now that I don’t try to do all of this fancy smancy sh*t and I wing it. People can judge all they want about my appearance, food choices, or whatever… I am still learning as I am only 7 years in the game. I wouldn’t consider myself an OG just yet until my oldest hits age 10. I am enjoying it; the good, the bad and the ugly. I am continuing to write my happily ever after with my prince charming Zaine around managing our crazy handful of kids.
Me being the perfect mom is plenty of wine, coffee, Pinterest fails, bad hair days, cereal for dinner, too much screen time, dinosaur chicken nuggets, uncooked Pop Tarts, giving my kids what they need based off of their unique individual situations, likes, dislikes, goals, and ambitions; all while taking care of myself.