This post was supposed to go live on Monday but life got in the way. Better late than never, I suppose.
The last few weeks I’ve done some parenting confessions and this week is no exception. I didn’t think I had so much to confess as a parent but clearly I do so we’ll keep this train rolling until it falls off the tracks.
This week, I confess that I stopped trying to be supermom. As in, I don’t even try anymore. I turned in my cape and shield. And I’ve never been happier.
When my daughter was born, I had this notion in my head that I’d be the mom I’d been brainwashed to believe that I should be. I’d lose all the baby weight really quickly (ha! That’s a cruel ass joke. We’ll be diving into my weight issues in the next few weeks), I’d always look put together, my house would look Pinterest worthy (or whatever it was called in 2007, right after my daughter was born), I’d cook healthy meals, I’d be the classroom volunteer, and I’d be able to balance everything. My kid would always look supercute, I’d be organized, and I’d do all these fun crafts and projects and I’d look like the type of mom you read about on all those “I’m a perfect mom and you wish you were like me” blogs.
Which was insane of me to think. I am not that put together. If I got 2 of those done on any given day, I succeeded. But I had put so much pressure on myself to be the perfect mom that it led to some not so healthy behaviors, both physically and mentally. I’d beat myself up daily that the house was a disaster or I forgot to do laundry (again) or we had to get takeout (again) or I was a hot mess when I left the house. And we won’t even get into the mommy guilt about putting my daughter in daycare.
Actually, yes. We will.
>>>steps on soapbox<<< My daughter was a daycare kid. I had to work because the income I was earning far exceeded the cost of putting her in daycare. My family needed that money to, you know, eat and survive, and so I worked. I felt guilty for awhile, mostly as a result of people trying to make me feel like shit about it. Then I realized they didn’t live my life and if they weren’t willing to pay my mortgage and other bills, then they had no business spewing their opinions at me. Also, I LIKED WORKING. I liked earning my own paycheck and not relying on someone else and getting out of the house and engaging with other adults and using my working brain to be something other than someone’s mother. So I let that guilt go. And if you’re in that situation, you need to let it go, too. No one has any business telling you what is best for your family. If they try, politely tell them to shut the fuck up. >>>steps of soapbox<<<
I think letting the mommy guilt about daycare go was the first step in realizing I’ll never be supermom. I was never going to be the mom that devoted her entire life and existence to her kid. And I was actually okay with that. And becoming okay with that meant that I could come to terms with my other perceived shortcomings.
Accepting my shortcomings as a parent actually made me a better parent. Because now, instead of focusing my energy on the unimportant things, I could focus on the important ones. For instance, I stopped worrying about whether or not my daughter looked cute and trendy all the time. There were, and are, some days when as long as her clothes are clean and free from holes, I don’t care what she wears. So I confess my child will never be a fashionista or catalog model on my watch. But her clothes fit and are seasonally appropriate and I keep them in good enough condition to pass them on to others.
Here’s another mommy point to deduct–I have no interest in being part of the PTA. As in, I genuinely don’t care and will not join. It would just frustrate me and take time away from everything else that is exponentially better than joining the PTA. I don’t feel the need to be that involved with her school, and by opting out of that commitment, I have time to help with homework or volunteer when I feel like it instead of being obligated. I can enjoy her little concerts instead of working them and I can preserve my friendships by not harassing people for money.
I know it’s trendy to do so because clearly the more you share, the more you love your kid, but I do not overshare my kid’s life on social media. I know “good moms” post every little mundane detail about a kid’s life on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, and I do share the big stuff like losing a tooth or the first day of school or the training wheels coming off her bike, but the every day stuff? Nope. I don’t need to share every picture of her being cute or every snarky, crazy comment that comes out of her mouth. There are moments I like to keep for myself. Call me selfish, call me private, say I don’t love her enough to brag about her all the time. Doesn’t matter to me. Her life doesn’t need to play out on social media.
I’m sure I do some things that people perceive as overachieving. I like to make cute food crafts for her on special occasions. I bake and decorate her birthday cake or cupcakes every year. I plan semi-elaborate birthday parties (her birthday is in December and I refuse to let it get lost in the shuffle of Christmas and Hanukkah). I have her places on time. I remember and stick to commitments (and please don’t give me this “oh, you only have one. It’s so much easier for you” nonsense. My parents had 3 of us and I learned this behavior from somewhere). I cook dinner most nights and I pack her lunch every day. But I don’t consider most of this overachieving. I consider it being a responsible adult.
We can discuss that if you’d like.
Here’s the thing. I know I’m a good mom. I don’t need to live a Pinterest ready or be an overachiever in order to prove it. And neither do you. We’re all just trying to do the best we can. So if you need to hang up your supermom cape, go ahead.
I’ll clear a space for you.
Linking up with Kathy and Liz