Throughout my teen years, I was around my sister and her three kids. My first nephew was born around the time I turned twelve. So I grew up, literally, watching my sister tackle motherhood.
By the time I got married at twenty-two, and started my own family two years later, I had been through it all with her or thought I had; the late nights walking the fussy child back and forth, exploding diapers, potty training, getting up early to make breakfast, telling them to go to bed five hundred times, and to clean up their room five hundred more times… I honestly thought when my time came that “I got this.”
However, nothing can prepare you for motherhood, except… motherhood.
What I didn’t realize through all of those years is that this journey that motherhood takes you down has a lot more twists and turns, a lot more curve balls, a lot more lonely nights, and I quickly realized that I knew absolutely nothing in regards to the vast life-journey of motherhood.
Since then, I’ve learned two things in particular as a stay-at-home-mother:
One: I don’t know as much as I thought about being a mother and what all it actually asked of you
Two: I am nowhere near a perfect mother -if anyone even knows what that is-
Since taking on the role myself, I have started watching a lot of Mommy YouTuber’s and reading a lot of mommy blogs ,and found myself envious of them. They seem to have it all together with their 4, 5, and 9 kids, and here I am floundering with just one! How do they keep their house so clean? How do they keep to a routine? How did they not look like they want to pull their hair out? How do they not lose their temper when their child, for the five hundredth time messes up what you just cleaned or unfold the laundry you just spent twenty minutes folding? How do they not look like they are perfect candidates for the insane asylum? Because I do! By the end of most days, I feel like the perfect candidate for a straight jacket! At least that’s how I feel.
I am, very slowly, learning, though, that I can’t compare my life to anyone else’s. I can’t compare my motherhood journey to anyone else’s. I’m NOT a perfect mother. Not even close. I can have a short temper and get frustrated, and maybe even snap and yell. There are days I can’t seem to get out of bed with my alarm and our routine is all thrown off. There are days I go to bed with laundry still in the dryer and toys on the floor. There are days we eat on a towel in the living room while watching a movie of her choosing. There are days we pretty much stay in our pajamas most of the day. There are days that I don’t want to play Animal Bingo or color.
And that’s OK!
My mindset has been that it makes me a bad mother. But it doesn’t. I want to say that it makes me a normal mother. One who tries her best day after day, but ultimately has those days where you you don’t know what the right thing is or you just need a break from Animal Bingo.
The truth is, we mothers don’t always have it all together, and that doesn’t make us bad mothers. We never have motherhood “down pat”. It’s a journey, one that you have to take a day at a time, and lasts a lifetime. You have good days and you have bad days. And just when we think we’ve got it all down, life happens or our kiddos switch things up on us.
If I could say one thing to another mother reading this, one who maybe feels inadequate and like a failure the way I do most days… keep your head up. If your child is healthy and happy and still comes and snuggles up to you after your “moment”, you are a good mother. If you go through a day that feels like hell and still get up the next morning and try to do your best, you are a good mother. Stop comparing your journey to the picture perfect moments you see in blogs, and the edited clips you see on YouTube. Your journey is not theirs. It is yours to triumph in and fail in. To take pride in on the good days and have a good long cry in the tub at the end of those bad ones. Then you get up the next morning and try again.
Mommy, you have the best and worst job in the world. The best because you get to take care of the little ones you welcomed into your world and get to be the ones to help mold and shape them into successful, future citizens. The worst job because you get to take care of them and its your job to help mold and shape them into successful, future citizens… and that is so hard.
But know that you are not alone. There are many mothers who feel the way you do; like the biggest mommy failures in the world. You aren’t, though.
You are a mommy, with a never ending journey that not everyone gets the chance at, and many give up the choice to have. You are cherished and loved and needed, and so much more. You may not always feel it, but you are.