Sometimes I feel like I’m clawing my way back to some semblance of what and who I was before having a child. There have been quite a few moments in my life lately where I stop and ask myself, “Did I JUST say that?”. Usually it’s either my mother coming out of my mouth or some meaner version of myself because I’m exhausted, irritated, frustrated, or some combination of all. There are days when I want to bury my head under my pillow and just be silent. There are days when I want to open the door, step outside, close the door, and breathe for 5 minutes. And you know what? That is ok. That is the biggest lesson I’ve learned this month. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to get frustrated. I am NOWHERE NEAR a perfect person let alone a perfect mother. Pinterest has ruined the measure I hold myself to. I got found that I am so caught up in making things “perfect” or “picture worthy” that I miss the moment entirely. I miss the silly fun because I’m trying to get a perfect angle for the photo or I miss actually sitting down and enjoying the Tea Party that I’ve thrown for my step-daughters 6th birthday. Why? Because I am more concerned about documenting all of my hard work that I don’t get to experience the whole reason behind all of that effort. I’ll say it again, Pinterest has ruined me.
So often I am looking for fun ideas to do with the kids or different ideas for holidays (we’ve had at least one big one a month for the past 6 months). I get overwhelmed with what other people have thought of and done for their children. I think to myself, well, I can do that! So I set out and end up letting the process of making whatever it is so consuming that it actually puts me in a bad mood. I get stressed trying to be like those magical mothers on Pinterest and I turn into nothing like what they say they are. I get short, angry, sad, upset, all of the above. When did I decide that I have to work outside the home, make educational crafts for my 15 month old from scratch, make fantastic and complex meals every night, plan elaborate parties for a one year old and a six year old who would have been happy with a cake from a bakery with their name in rainbow colors? I do it to myself. I go WAY overboard. Why am I measuring myself against what I see on Pinterest? Does it make me less of a mother that I don’t have homemade pillow cases or recycle my old candle wax and turn it into a fantastic art project? No. If anyone is able to do all of that I sincerely applaud you. I do not have the stamina, patience, or energy. I’m exhausted. The tea party birthday has been over for three weeks and I’m still tired. Granted, it was fabulous and my teapot cake is something that I’m still very proud of but truly, I did too much. I stayed up late all week before the party to get things ready. As I’m typing this I’m shaking my head at myself. It’s not about the things that I did, it’s about the way I let it change my attitude because I was overextending myself. I am glad she had an awesome party, but I was miserable. I’m still a good mother. I will continue to make their birthday cakes but I need to calm down on my Pinterest envy and focus on the things that matter; like having tea with my kiddo while she eats star shaped sandwiches in her Aurora Princess dress and crown.
Am I alone in feeling this way? Do all mothers feel like they should be doing more? Do all mothers stop and feel so inadequate some days that it’s defeating? Yes, I believe they do. The positive to this is that there are sooo many wonderful things about motherhood that can drown some of this negativity out. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be picture worthy. What I need to learn to focus on is the experience, not the “stuff”.
This was a really hard lesson for me to swallow this month. If you are anything like me, feel encouraged that you are not alone. We don’t have to be “the best mom in the world”, we just have to be the best mom to OUR children. That seems like a lot less pressure!