“Most of my life, I spent daydreaming about one day becoming a mom. I longed to be a stay at home mom, mostly because, knowing myself so well, I knew there was no way I would manage it all. Going to work was hard enough every day when I only had me, myself, and I to look after. I couldn’t imagine taking care of another human being on top of it all! How exhausting! Seriously, I don’t know how women do it.
I prayed and prayed and prayed that when I finally did become a mom, I would be able to stay home and raise my sweet baby. Luckily, my husband and I were in a position to make that happen and prior to our son being born, I would make my husband all sorts of reassurances about why it made sense to leave my six-figure job and all kinds of promises about the type of stay at home mom and housewife I would be. I would blather on about how I’d keep the house spotless, make my own baby food, take daily trips to the park, get in shape, teach the baby sign language, have dinner on the table every night when he came home, cut coupons, and keep the finances in check, blah blah blah blah blah. The big sell: His life would get SO MUCH BETTER.
Mostly he would just smile or roll his eyes, not buying one bit of the bullsh*t I was selling, but he played along. I, in all honesty, believed every word I was spewing. Without a full-time job weighing me down, I was going to be the domestic goddess I had always dreamed of becoming. I would conquer the f*cking world! A cookie-baking trophy wife who worked out regularly, kept a beautiful home, and had a fiery libido.
Okay, I am assuming at this point in your reading, you are on the ground laughing hysterically at my naivety? Needless to say, I am none of those things. I am literally failing at all of it. My house is a mess. I’m lucky if my son and I get out of our PJs some days. I hate cooking, let alone meal planning. I haven’t cut one coupon, I burned the last thing I tried to bake, I sneak naps when my son naps, I have dust bunnies the size of small animals on my hardwood floors, I yell at the dogs like a crazy person, I let my son watch cartoons probably more than I should, and my sex drive is anything but fiery. I only recently got in shape because I had a stomach bug that lasted 4 weeks and forced me to stop eating. There’s been stretches of days where I haven’t left the house or talked to anyone but my husband and son. I’m on Instagram and Pinterest way too much, the laundry piles up, the dust settles, and I find myself a bit depressed at my epic crash and burn.
I am a failure. There, I said it.
So how is it possible to be so bad at the one thing I wanted to be my whole entire life? I have all day long to achieve some very basic things, like unloading the dishwasher or brushing my hair, so seriously, what gives? Am I just lazy? I’m not going to lie, I kind of am. Am I preoccupied with my son? Absolutely. Am I tired? I’m 41, so I’m always a little tired. Is it depression? I’m sure there is some of that. I mean, I left the career I knew for a decade and pretty much sequestered myself to isolation and Elmo’s World. Am I bored? Yes, I am incredibly bored some days. It can get very lonely, if I’m being honest. Would I change any of it? NOPE.
Thing is, I’m really happy. I get to spend my days watching this little human grow before my very eyes. Some days, like today, when he is screaming and crying because I took a shoebox from him, it’s tougher than others. But even in those moments when he is screaming his face off and I want to scream back, I look into those beautiful blue eyes with snot running down his face and I see this tiny human who needs me. He needs me to lead by example and show him right from wrong. I see this little boy who was only just an infant 10 seconds ago, and now he’s running all over the house climbing on anything and everything. I see him and know this fit is only a blip. In a few seconds, the Hulk will disappear and there will stand my little doll, smiling and eating strawberries and hugging me like he couldn’t hold me any tighter.
Being a mom is hard, but at the same time incredibly easy. It’s lonely and then it’s the entire world, frustrating but then immensely joyful. It’s everything I hoped it would be and more. And yet nothing you can really prepare for. So on those days where I’m feeling like a failure for not being a domesticated queen bee, with polished floors, manicured nails, and dinner on the table, I force myself to remember I get to spend every moment of the day with my little boy, who won’t be little for very long, doing amazing things, and making memories together. The snot that’s now on my t-shirt isn’t that big of a deal and the dishes can wait, right?
Why am I airing my dirty laundry like this instead of leaving it folded in the basket for two weeks like I normally do? Because whether you are a working mom, a stay at home mom, a single mom, or a mom to multiple children (God bless you)… you are doing just fine.
For all the working moms out there who feel like they can’t get it all done, no worries. Stay at home moms can’t get it all done and we don’t have a full-time job on top of it, so please don’t beat yourselves up. You are rocking it! Seriously, I bow down to you. To the stay at home moms who feel like they aren’t contributing to society or keeping it all together — you are making a great contribution to spending quality time with your kiddos. No one is gonna die if dinner is a frozen pizza tonight or the baby misses a bath.
The grass always seems greener from the other side but if we are honest with ourselves, no one feels like they are killing it. We always feel lacking in some aspect, whether it be a tidier house, more time with the kids, fewer distractions, a better body, or keeping up with the endless piles of laundry. We all struggle in some area or another. As women, we are masochists and decide to torture ourselves over our failures, no matter how small or insignificant they might be. We need to cut that sh*t out.
I’m going to make a more concerted effort to straighten up the house and find my passion again for cooking. I’m also going to make time to work out each day instead of being lazy, as I know working out makes me feel better and keeps me healthy. At 41, I need to stay on my toes and in tip-top shape for my little marathoner. But I have to learn to let go of the other stuff that weighs me down and makes me feel less than. I think you should too. Whether you feel guilty for sending packaged cookies instead of homemade or never volunteering for school functions, or maybe you feel guilty for wearing sweat pants 6 out of 7 days a week and beat yourself up over still having Christmas decorations in the living room, just know it’s not written anywhere you have to be perfect. Your kids will love you and think you are a superhero no matter what.
We are not failing. We are learning as we go and, in the end, who cares if your drawers are neat and tidy or your kids’ clothes always match? Sure, you have two different shoes on and you’re not sure when you washed your hair last but that’s not the stuff your kids will remember. They will remember you being loving, kind, and there for them no matter what. Pat yourself on the back, pour a glass of wine, grab a book, relax in the tub — okay, I’m totally kidding, you’re a mom, you don’t have time for that! Bring the bottle into the shower and enjoy five minutes of peace and quiet. No judgment. Tomorrow is another day, and you’re going to do great. How do I know that? Because you already are.
P.S. My son has had mac and cheese four times already this week and I have made peace with that. Namaste.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Beth of Pennsylvania. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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