“Do we have any supermoms here? The perfectionist moms? The moms who think, ‘If it’s not my way, then it’s the wrong way?’ Yup, that’s me! But that’s definitely not how I’ve always been. I once was a carefree, unapologetic, laid back, fun, young lady. Then it all changed once I got pregnant. I fell victim to becoming the ‘perfect mom’ I see on TV and social media.
Breast is best? Great, I’ll only breastfeed. Sleep training is bad for mental health? Ok, I just won’t sleep for the first year. Screen time is toxic? Oh yeah, my kid definitely won’t have screen time until he goes to school. HA! Jokes on me newbie. One by one, these expectations I had for myself and my family fell…HARD. And each time was more painful than the last. Each time something I swore I wouldn’t do happened, I felt like a total failure. It didn’t matter if I gave it my blood, sweat, and tears (literally all of the above). Some things were just out of my control.
For example, I tried everything in the books to exclusively breastfeed. All I heard, even from my doctors, was ‘breast is best.’ So, of course, that’s what I wanted for my son. When my supply started decreasing, I tried it all — lactation consultant, pills, food, pumping, and more feeding (as if I wasn’t feeding enough already)! I stressed about it so much I went into a highly irritable state for a while. My husband even has a name for it: the ‘Dark Zombie Stage.’
I finally decided to incorporate formula and HALLELUJAH! Best decision I’ve ever made, not just for me but for the entire family. I was able to get help when it came to feeding my son. Which meant I no longer had to wait for my meal to get cold, I showered when I had the chance, and the best part? I was feeling like myself again. Breast is best? You mean ‘fed is best’?
The reason why I’m talking about being the ‘perfect mom’ is because that’s all I see in the media now. I have never seen a diaper commercial of a REAL mom. Where’s the mom with the messy, unwashed hair? The mom with mysterious stains on her clothes? We should be wondering if that’s baby spit-up or last night’s Alfredo sauce. And how are their houses always sparkling clean with multiple kids? What. A. Fraud. Even with one toddler, it is absolutely impossible! And do not get me started on the ‘mom bod’ the media shows. I want to throw my phone in a blender each time I see moms with perfect abs and no cellulite. Since this is what we see everywhere, we automatically put ourselves under pressure to become these unreal magical creatures.
I had the basics of motherhood down after my firstborn. I knew it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but I still secretly had this image in my head of how things should be. I expected myself to have the house spotless, cook dinner every day, never complain, play with my kids 24/7, never yell at them…the list goes on. I thought it would be easier the second time around, but it in fact, was harder. The expectations I gave myself were so strenuous, I ended up having the infamous postpartum depression.
I never went to speak to therapists, because let’s be honest, I didn’t want to spend the little bit of my free time going there. And I never took medications because I’m just stubborn. I decided to try a method my husband and I came up with first: to LET THINGS BE. I tried to level my anxiety by not caring too much about how the house looked; and if I was too tired to make dinner, my husband would pick up food. If the past few days had been hard (ex: baby woke up in the middle of the night for a few days), I would ask my parents or my in-laws to help watch the kids for few hours, so I could get some extra time to nap or clean in peace.
Basically, I stopped trying to be the super mom and it totally worked! As I’m writing this, I see a few toys on the living room floor, and I’m just going to leave them — my toddler will ask for them as soon as he wakes up tomorrow. The dishes are done but I have no idea what we will eat tomorrow morning. They don’t want leftover food? Then cereal it is, until we go grocery shopping in the afternoon (aka after my coffee).
After two kids, I’d like to think I’m somewhat of a veteran mom now. And so far, the biggest thing motherhood has taught me, is absolutely nothing goes as planned. Starting from pregnancy to birth, and all the way to…I’m guessing even when I become a grandma, life will throw you curve-balls and you just have to deal with it. Think about the little things you stress about as little pebbles you carry. The more you stress, the more you’ll carry. You’ll end up falling hard because it will eventually be too heavy for you, and hopefully you won’t hurt your loved ones in the process out of your own exhaustion.
To be completely honest, the things we let get to us on a daily basis are so minuscule, aren’t they? Don’t do that to yourselves mommas, give yourselves a break because you deserve it. All those ‘perfect moms’ you see in the media are NOT REAL. As long as your family is healthy and happy, what more do you ask for? That’s a blessing already. Enjoy, and I mean really enjoy, these moments because they go by fast. To your children, you’re the most perfect person in the world and you’re doing an amazing job already.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Diane Sung. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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