The life of a stay at home mother is one that I have dreamed about since I was a little girl. Raising the perfect children in the perfect home surrounded by the perfect family. This word seems to echo through my mind as I question… why am I so stressed? I’m achieving my personal goals. I’ve had two beautiful children and have been able to stay home with them for the past four years. But is staying home with them everything I thought it would be?
As I start to compare my early motherhood experiences with my toddlerhood experiences, I realize that these ideas of “perfection” seem to be held to various expectations I valued. Expectations that were built by a former me that didn’t have children of her own, but yet I still try to shame myself for not living up to them. I have changed so much since the birth of my first child, but why does this judgemental voice of a younger/skinner me always come out on my worst days of SAHMing? Enough is enough!
The expectations rarely ever live up to the true reality of what’s going on behind the closed doors, and that is fine! The truth is we are all struggling, if not today… give it a week. Every mother gets sick, every mother gets stressed, every mother has a fail day that may turn into a fail month. The trick to surviving? Become empowered by these “fails”.
There is perfection in failure. It may not be what you imagine when you’re daydreaming about your ideal family. It’s such a strong word that it keeps many of us awake with anxiety at night. Now take a deep breath, bear with me, and let’s embrace this. Take a moment to think about our mentality for a second.
Remove those expectations, embrace the “failure”, and perfection starts to become less of what could be and more of what is. This can be implemented in everything that we do.
Start with breakfast for example :
The expectation is to have a beautifully presented breakfast on the table, where the entire family eats together. The reality is that my kids get the proper nutrition they need every morning, but sometimes It’s in front of a tv so I can shower for the day. Other times it’s in a car so we can successfully make it somewhere before 10am. This is our perfect because my kids never go without breakfast. I get to sleep until they wake up (so I’m well rested for the tantrums to come) and I get to be a functioning human in some sorts.
To the kids getting dressed:
The expectation is that both kids are in clean clothes that match and somehow show our family’s social status of not being broke. Getting a “look how cute they are” reaction anywhere we go. The reality of it, sometimes my children will live in the same t-shirt for like three days. My daughter is on a kick of putting on her bell dress first thing in the morning. You’d be lucky to even get my son in clothes. This is our perfect because my children are always comfortable and clean. If there’s a stain or they are don’t like what they are in, they change. My kids will always know that when they get dressed, it’s for them.
To nap time:
The expectation, being that they lay down in complete silence at the same time daily and instantly drift to sleep. The reality, my kids get a nap when they get a nap. At some point from 11am-2pm… those hoodlums will become too tired or just get too mean to keep up. At this point, I put them in their separate rooms and threaten to take away toys for an hour until they finally pass out and nap for anywhere from 1-4 hours. There is normally five bathroom breaks and a lot of tears (from all three of us) through this process. This is our perfect because we are never a slave to naptime and the kids get a nap every day. It takes a while, but they wake up genuinely nicer and more alert. And let’s be honest… naptime is just a win in general (no matter how they got to this point).
The expectation is that I should be this enriched version of myself before babies. I should have my body back and feel 100% happier all the time because having kids is the most rewarding thing in the world. The reality, Motherhood is super rewarding, yes. But you can’t reap a reward without a ton of hard work. Sometimes that means sacrificing things like your perfect body. Motherhood is exhausting. I’m always tired, I refuse to repeat anything after 4pm, and I may have moments in the day that I trap my kids in a bathtub together with toys just to sit in my living room in peace for 10 minutes. They know the phrase, “Mommy needs a break,” very well.
This is our perfect because my honesty with my emotions and not being “perfect” around my kids all the time creates an empathy they can use towards others who are having a hard time with things.
You do you, momma! It’ll all turn out ok!