Motherhood isn’t always pretty, but more importantly, it’s OK to admit that. I mean, we all know this intellectually, but of course it can be hard to process it emotionally.
For many moms and dads, especially in the first weeks, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to “enjoy every precious moment.” When you’re sleep-deprived and overwhelmed and covered in baby spit-up, it can be hard to feel that joy.
Having people in your life who understand and embrace the less glamorous moments of parenthood, and let you do the same, is essential.
I’ve compiled a list of tips, bits of counsel and musings that I’ve found most helpful so far. I write as a new mom, with the unsolicited, yet mostly well-wishing advice of friends and family.
If you’re a new parent like me, maybe you’ll be able to relate. And if you’re an experienced parent who’s already been down this road several times, please, enjoy a chuckle at my expense.
What I’ve Learned About Being a Perfect Mom
1. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good. Sometimes in the chaotic swirl of life, things just need to get done, and they don’t have to be perfect.
2. Oversharing of our personal lives on social media often makes parenting feel like a competition. It’s OK to let yourself off the hook and just be “good enough” sometimes. We all have multiple roles to fill in our life — parent, spouse, employee, etc. — and it’s impossible to earn an A-plus in all areas at all times.
3. Limit your exposure to the overwhelming amount of available parenting information and advice. Equipping yourself with knowledge can make you feel prepared, confident and empowered, but drowning in too many choices and too much information can often hamper your ability to make your own decision.
4. Some things, like car seats, are important and warrant careful consideration and research. Other things, like diaper wipes, are just not that important and shouldn’t consume your time and energy. I found it helpful to limit myself to one or two trusted sources, then rely on family and friends to help with the rest.
5. Take time for self-care, even if it’s just in small doses. Especially in the first weeks, you’ll feel like there’s no possible way to squeeze in a few moments for yourself, but it’s supremely important. That includes trying to rest when the baby is napping, which is easy to say but is admittedly hard to do.
6. Let people help you within the boundaries of what feels comfortable and helpful to you. Most friends and family members genuinely want to be helpful, but they don’t always know how.
Take this all with a large grain of salt. I certainly don’t have all the answers, and there’s no magic formula that works for everyone. Parenthood is a fascinating journey, and we each have to forge our own way. Fasten your seat belt, enjoy the ride, and I’ll be trying to do the same.
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