Every now and then, there are moments within your fresh journey of parenthood where we feel hopeless. Moments where we feel like we are not good enough, no matter how hard we try. Even though we are giving 200% of ourselves, working harder than ever before, it is not being appreciated, or even notices… by anyone. Not only do we need to constantly think about the wellbeing of our newborn(s), but also the wellbeing of our significant other. In those short yet difficult moments it seems like simply too much for us to handle. Things that once wouldn’t have an emotional effect on us, now do, to a very heavy extend, keeping us up at night, or isolating us from activities and people we love.
As I believe that everything in life is an experience brought to us from a precoded path from some other higher place, I know that these feelings and moments are also here for a reason. Without them, it simply wouldn’t be fair for us to experience the sweet highs of new parenthood that we do when moments of pure joy pop up in our daily routine as we grow our little humans and interact as a family.
That is why rather than always strive to be a “perfect” mom (whatever that may mean in today’s world) I am admitting to myself who I am, flushing out the lies, the hypocrisy and the cheating actions behind my parenting choices.
I AM A LIAR.
I am. I sometimes lie not only to myself, but to others as well. I constantly lie about the big things and the small things.
The biggest lie I tell myself (way way too often), is that…I know what I am doing. I really don’t. I have no clue what a mother should be, or should not. I have no clue what a good wife should be or should not. The decisions I make are purely guided by my moral compass (20%), my gut feeling (70%), and my impulses (10%). And let’s be honest, my decisions have not always taken me to the best of places. But I always enjoy the ride, exploring it, learning from it and taking a piece of it with me for the next one.
I also lie to other people. The other day for example I was expressing the frustration to my husband about how tired I am after doing everything I do everyday for my little one, on top of working full time, and taking care of our home. My diarrhea of complaining was triggered by me seeing him play video games during the day, and me perhaps feeling a bit jealous thatI didn’t have time to do something like that for myself. Between the bottle cleaning, preparing Zoe’s food for the next day, doing the laundry, cleaning up the toys, vacuuming every night because she is crawling and literally eating the carpet everyday, and then … maybe showering in the late hours of the day …if I am not too exhausted. Sometimes I choose a wine glass instead of the shower (yep), and sometimes I go right to bed. But, it is in those late hours in the evening, when I digest the events of that day, that particular evening I realized that my statement of not having time for myself…is a lie. I am tired, that’s’a fact, but I have dedicated myself fully to raising our daughter, forgetting myself along the way.
I am a good mom. But I am also starting to realize that being a good mom is learning how to find myself again as a new mother, taking care of my own needs and not making excuses, because ultimately if I am happy with myself, my family is happy as well.
I AM A CHEAT.
Although every family chooses how to raise their babies differently, for our family what worked is creating and sticking to routines…for almost everything. We started with bath time and bedtime, and before we knew it, our little one was getting full nights sleep, and loving her crib at just 10 weeks old. We moved on to scheduled daily naps, and mealtime and now are adding in daily activities. I love everything about routines, as it makes me feel like sanity, is just around the corner in moments of complete chaos.
But, I do cheat sometimes. For example, while we were learning how to sleep train our little one very early on, we both decided to stick to a strict schedule, not picking her up so that she could learn how togo back to sleep on her own. But some nights were nearly impossible for me at the very beginning, waking up 10-15 times, just to give her the pacifier and try to get her back to sleep. I sometimes did cheat, and picked her up. I wanted to feel her little heart beat against mine, calming her down in my arms and allowing her to fall back to sleep peacefully. I did feel guilty because I knew I was caving in and it would only be harder for me in the long run… but eventually our little one learned how to sleep through the night, and now I only cheat when she is teething and needs a midnight hug from mommy.
I also cheat with my nutrition. This one is a tough one for me to crack. After giving birth, I was eating non stop. And not gaining much, but also not loosing anything after my pregnancy (which gave me 35+ pounds). After I stopped breastfeeding just a few months ago, I started to exercise and eat better. But I cheat sometimes, because now more than ever the exhaustion and stress of being a new mom, a wife, and a working, functioning human being, is tough. At times after my workout I sneak into the kitchen and have a spoon of ice cream, or a piece of chocolate, or maybe even a second glass of wine after dinner. This type of cheating is temporarily, and probably way too common for new moms out there. It usually is a result of the lack of sleep and the need for comfort food. A bite that will juts make you feel better, even if for a second.
I am a good mom though. I listen to my instinct when I cheat, and I don’t go overboard. I allow my gut feeling to take over when I feel that I need to step outside of our routines, and I do indulge in some sweets in moments of weakness. But most importantly, I don’t beat myself up about cheating. I acknowledge it for what it is and accept it as part of my new life as a mom.
I AM A HYPOCRATE.
First allow me to admit to you that I have a bit of a high standard/compulsiveness when it comes to the organization of certain things, like our home. My mind can only be at peace when things around me are organized. And the funny thing about that is that it only applies to the things I can see. All of the closets, drawers and dressers could be a complete mess, but since they are not in my line of sight 24/7, it does not have any effect on me.
That fact, bundled with the personality trait of someone who is a little too controlling at times, makes me quite demanding to say the least. I am mostly demanding of myself, but recently I did notice that I have been a little too demanding of my other half. And as I result, I very quickly realized that I was becoming a hypocrite.
For example, as out little one is eating full meals now, I have asked my husband to only cut meats on the meat cutting board and veggies on the veggie one. And of course being the amazing person he is, he said “no problem” and never looked back. Days later, I found myself in the middle of the night cutting sausage on the veggies cutting board, speaking out load to myself while stuffing my face, saying “you are such a f&^%(@ hypocrite Asia”. For the next few days after that, I noticed that I was a hypocrite on quite a few things I told my husband not to do, or even to do. I realized that the control freak in me, couldn’t even live up to her own standards.
But I am a good mom. I realize that the hypocrisy is a result of me trying to be too controlling with respect to parenting our little one. My husband is a fantastic father, and I need to learn how to let go of some of that control that I have grown to have towards our baby. After all, my way is never the best way. The collective combination of experiences shared through the care of mom and dad will build the behavior’s, habits and personally of our little Zoe.
BE WHO YOU ARE, BECAUSE YOU ARE A GOOD MOM TOO.
Regardless of what it is that you do, or don’t do as a mom, a wife, a partner…you are a good mom. We might not feel like we get recognized for what we do, so do yourself a favor and recognize it yourself. I encourage you to admit to yourself what those shortcoming are, and own them. But above all, trust that your faults or shortcomings will give you the balance you need to be the best mom you can be.