Recently a blogosphere friend of mine, Laura, posted about her lapse into postpartum depression. This is something I can obviously relate to, so I left her a supportive comment. She responded by thanking me, of course, but also by saying that it seems like I’ve “figured out this whole parenting thing.” When another commenter also mentioned that she had been through PPD, Laura was shocked and said, “You seem like the perfect mom!”
How many times have we said to ourselves that some other mom seems like the perfect mom? This is especially true in those first few months of your new life as a mom, but it keeps popping up, at least it still is at 18 months in for me.
So the idea that another mom might be saying the same thing about me was surprising, to say the least. I’m not sure what other people think of me, as a mother and as a person generally, but I tend to think I don’t seem particularly put together, what with my hair always in a ponytail, my clothes not nearly as stylish as I’d like, and my daughter always a complete mess. Maybe I do seem “perfect” to some other moms, as unlikely as that seems to me. Just in case, let me set the record straight.
My kitchen is often a mess. I hate opening the child lock on the garbage, so I wait until a critical mass of trash has collected on the counter before I throw it away. Doing dishes is my least favorite chore (seriously, I’d rather clean the toilet, I can’t even explain it) so dishes sometimes pile up. I tend to think that germs are our friends, so Addie and I don’t wash our hands nearly as much as we’re “supposed” to. (Don’t worry, we’ll wash our hands before sharing food with you.). I love entertaining, but I get really stressed about it. A party usually involves a detailed schedule so I actually remember to do everything. I don’t sweep the floor nearly enough. I basically have to wear shoes all the time because I hate the feel of bits of stuff on my feet, but I’m too lazy to actually sweep. Our house is not particularly well-decorated, but we can’t really afford to do anything better right now, so we just live with it. Sometimes I forget to change Addie’s diaper for a long time. I often leave her in clothes that are filthy because I know if I put her in something clean it will just get dirty again right away. The backseat of my car is like a cheddar bunny and puffs war zone. Right now the puffs are winning, but the tide could turn at any moment. I sometimes go days without wiping off Addie’s booster seat and it gets really gross.
I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I often feel out-of-control and scared. I compare myself to other moms and I’m pretty sure I don’t stack up. I try not to care, but sometimes I can’t help it. I’m a procrastinator and a bit lazy, so I’ve failed to sign Addie up for any of the classes that she should apparently be starting at 18 months. And to be honest, I’m not really a big believer in the classes anyways. I spend too much time on my iPhone, despite my New Year’s resolution to put it down already. If Addie and I spend a whole day together with no major distractions, I get really bored. I’m often writing in my head when I should be engaging her. Sometimes I can’t wait until her bedtime.
But for all that, I love my daughter intensely. I keep her safe, well-fed, clothed and sheltered. I allow her to play freely and to follow her interests. I kiss her often and cuddle her when she’ll let me. I’m definitely not “perfect” and I don’t know that I’ve “figured out this whole parenting thing” but I think I’m doing ok. And I’m sure you are too.