I’m my toughest critic. When I’m working hard at something and coming up short, I answer to the little voice in my head that says I could have done better. That knows if I’d had more time or energy or had gotten more sleep, I would have done better. When the laundry is stacked up so high that I can’t even wade into the laundry room, my former pre-baby self wonders who this person is who just can’t cut it. When someone compliments me and says I’m such a good mom, I think, “But you don’t ever see me lose my temper! You don’t see what a disaster the house is!”
I think most women and mothers are their own toughest critics. I know I have an image in my head of what I’d like my house to look like (it doesn’t involved Mr. Potato Head pieces everywhere). I have an image in my head of what I want to look like (makeup would be nice, but I’d even accept clean hair). I have an image in my head of what “good moms” do with their kids…and it involves less Sesame Street and more arts and crafts and Pinterest.
But truly, we need to stop comparing our former selves, our pre-baby selves, to our current selves (and not just our bods). We will almost always come up short. It’s a lot easier to stay showered and brush your hair and have an empty laundry room when you’re not trying to figure out how to do those things while you’re juggling the needs of two kids—and those kids are doing everything in their power to go through two outfits a day and preventing you from ever getting a solid night of sleep. And we need to stop comparing what we think we should be doing to those who somehow perform craft miracles. I’m convinced those women are aliens.
There’s no doubt that this last month has been the toughest of my parenting career. So much tougher than a newborn. So much tougher than the adjustment to the second kiddo. Dealing with a month—yes, a solid month as of last weekend—of illness, ear infections, fevers, vomiting, sinus infections—has tried my parenting skills like nothing else. I find myself in difficult parenting moments thinking “THIS is why there is a Mother’s Day!” Because you just can’t anticipate the demands that kids make on you before you’re knee deep in it. Heck, even well and well-rested kiddos make crazy demands on you that you never could have seen coming.
But that friend is right. You are such a good mom. Even if the house is a wreck and your latest Pinterest project was an epic fail. Even if you lose your temper on occasion. The kids are loved. Even bathed sometimes. And in clean clothes, usually. So give yourself a break. You deserve it, whether you think so or not.
For more self love, head on over to FBG for Love Yo’Self Week! —Erin