Tuesday, April 2, 2013

So I've been home with the new babe now for 5 months. I was really nervous taking this much time off knowing it was entirely possible that I might not be able to do it but also knowing this was my only chance to try.

Before I had her, I made a list of goals. I mean they were just in my head because I am not a list maker but they were goals nonetheless. The simplest being to just keep up with Vivi's baby album and to start one for Brody (um, he's six). I was going to become a great cook & a baker. Try new things. Impress my family. I wanted my home to smell like freshly baked cookies by 3pm. I was going to take sewing classes (again, hmph.) so I could make sweet little dolls for Vivi instead of buying them. I wanted to make new mommy friends and do the things that mommy friends do. I wanted to join a gym and get my body back to where it was when I MET my husband (ha!). I wanted to go for lots of walks with our stupidly expensive celebrity-like stroller that I insisted on buying. I wanted to get up early and cook breakfast for Brody before our walks to school. I wanted to buy a juicer. To stop drinking coffee. To volunteer at church. To have weekly lunches and dinners with my friends. To take quick road trips to see my family. To keep up with the laundry and not have dirty dishes in the sink. To keep up with this little blog.

Have you seen that Target commercial for their Threshold line? -- Our House is a Very Very Very Fine  House -- basically that is what I wanted our home to be like. Professionally decorated, lovely aromas, butterflies randomly flying from room to room, bubbles overflowing out of the tub, clean and perfectly behaved kids, rainbows in the front yard and unicorns for pets. This didn't happen.

My house has been in a constant state of disaster. I didn't become a great baker or cook because somehow dinnertime always came before I could get to the grocery store. I never signed up for sewing classes because it was just one more thing to worry about. I didn't join a gym because I told myself that I would do pilates at home instead. I did it twice and told my husband that I didn't have the energy and it was his fault because he hadn't bought me a juicer yet. I did try going for walks with the babe in our celebrity-like stroller but I quickly realized it was really made for looking but not for walking. I made breakfast for Brody a couple of times but he looked at me like I was a crazy woman and asked for cereal. I didn't even try to kick my coffee addiction and IF I left the house, it was for Starbucks. Not only did I never volunteer at church but each Sunday I have given my husband a reason why we needed to stay home. I've been home to see my family only twice. And where did all this laundry come from?

But you know, it has been the best five months. I had put all these unrealistic expectations on myself because I thought I needed to justify not working for six months. Justify it to myself, I suppose. I knew in my heart though that I was taking the time off to simply love this baby. To hold her. To squeeze her. To kiss her little cheeks. To nibble on her little fingers. To rock her to sleep. To cuddle with her on the couch in her jammies and in my jammies for hours and not care. I KNEW this but I wouldn't admit it. "I am going to do all these things", I said. No, I wasn't. And no, I didn't.

The thing is we are so hard on ourselves. We are even harder on each other. Mommies, that is. Why are we so hard on each other? Cruel to each other, even.

You are a terrible Mom if you don't deliver naturally. If you don't feel the excruciating pain. If you tap out and beg for an epidural. If you end up having a c-section. If you can't breastfeed. If you complain that you are tired. If you want an hour alone. If you use your cell phone in front of your kids. If you put your baby in it's crib too soon. If you go back to work too soon. If you stay home too long. If you believe in Santa. If you don't believe in Santa. If your kids go to public school. If they go to private school. If you give vaccinations. If you don't give vaccinations.

I could go on. The point is, let's stop being so hard on each other and have this conversation instead.

You are a GREAT Mom because you welcomed your little blessing into this world. It doesn't matter if you delivered naturally, had an epidural, adopted, had a c-section, delivered at home, delivered at the hospital...what matters is that you did it. And when someone tells you that you did it wrong, it's ok to punch that person in the face. You have boobs and they might not work but who cares, boobs are good and your baby will be just fine. And if your husband says "but I want you to breastfeed!", then you tell him that when he grows a vagina and pushes out 9 pound baby himself then he gets to have an opinion. If you need some extra sleep that just means you have been rocking your beautiful baby at all hours of the night. If you find yourself crying in a fetal position on your bedroom floor, it's simply because you have discovered that you are no longer in control and you are GOING to cry. If you need an hour alone that just means you have dedicated the other 23 hours to your family. You are using your cell phone in front of your kids because you are looking up directions for the next park to go to, you are looking up their doctor's phone number, you're proudly posting a pic of them that you just took, you are texting their Grandma to tell her the funny things they just said, you are asking other parents to meet up to play, you are double checking what time soccer practice is (and baseball and football and ballet and that birthday party you forgot about), you are juggling a million things at once because you are a Mom and that's what we do. If someone says to you "but you just missed your daughter's first cartwheel"...politely let them know that it was actually her 101st cartwheel just that morning. (Trust us, we didn't miss it.) You are great because you have a baby and that in itself is a miracle.

So. Let us hold each other to a higher standard. A standard of grace. Not a standard of perfection. I promise to do this too. To you and to myself.


  1. I love this blog entry! Great lessons learned and great statement for all moms! I think we all as moms should hug more and judge less. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Beautiful post!!! You said everything moms are always thinking but not always saying. You are a wonderful mommy and incredible wife!

  3. That was beautiful you are such a great person and mom. Thank you for helping lots of moms out there.