Excuse me, Doctor, you've given me this baby, but where is the instructional manual? Seriously! Where is it?
That's how I felt when I got home from the hospital and looked at my precious new baby girl seven years ago. I quickly realized that I not only had no idea how to work my diaper genie, but I also had no idea what to do next.
I saw a post on Facebook about how there really ought to be real parenting classes for parents, like How to cook one-handed and How to pee with two under two. Oh, how that brought back so many memories. I spent my first anniversary spending the entire weekend in a pre-natal parenting class with my husband. Hours upon hours learning how to breathe and watching that insanely cheesy and out-dated birthing video. And in the end I had a c-section and nothing from that class was helpful.
So where do you turn? Every medical practitioner, new mom, and ever-so-helpful parenting advice book all have plenty to say. But I personally found no information on what to do when your baby spits out her soother and you are driving in rush hour. Or how to juggle nap times and preschool when you have your second child.
So where does this leave us? As new clueless parents who are so hard on ourselves for not being the perfect mom we envisioned we would be. But the truth is we are all doing the best we can with what we know. I truly believe parenting is all about survival. You may have the best intentions to have a perfectly clean and organized house. To never yell at your kids. To always have your family wearing coordinated outfits. To always have children who are on their very best behaviour. And, of course, being that perfect wife and mother who has lost all the baby weight, only serves organic freshly made lunches, and has plenty of time for her husband at the end of the day.
Well, here is my reality check. You make think all the other moms are living like that, but I bet if you peeked into their homes you would see their kids eating spilled Cheerios on the couch and watching tv while Mom runs around the house frantically trying to get everything ready before she ships off her kids to school in un-matching outfits, which she likely pulled from the pile of laundry she hoped was the clean pile. I know at my house you will see my son wearing pajamas nearly 24-hours a day and, likely, I un-matching footwear (maybe even one rubber and one winter boot in the middle or summer).
So, let's make a pact. Stop pretending to be super mom. Stop striving to be. Stop judging other moms! Bond together and admit it. It's hard. Hard being a mom. Hard feeling guilty if you are a working mom. Hard answering the question, "What do you do for work?" if you are a stay-at-home mom. It's. Just. Hard. And that's ok.
Did you feed and clothe your kids today? I say Rock Star Mom! I don't care if they still have jam on their face or you have five loads of laundry yet to be put away. Your kids are happy. They are loved. You did good today. So have a glass of wine and go to bed early. Because let's be honest, you have to do it all again tomorrow and that's without an instructional manual!
The Epidemic of Superwoman Syndrome: Striving for this unrealistic goal has serious costs.