Ok, Mom’s, I’ve got a dirty little secret to confess: I used to judge you. You see, before I actually became a parent, I knew all about how to be a stellar mom, and I knew exactly what kind of mom I would be.
Joke’s on me because now that I am a mom, I can confidently tell you that I knew absolutely nothing about parenting. All of those “I’ll never” or “I won’t” criticizing statements I made, have quickly turned into “I have” and “I do’s”. Let’s run down the list to show you just how clueless I truly was.
I judged your messy house
In my pre-baby mind, I didn’t think it was that challenging to keep a tidy home. I’ve always been pretty neat and figured that having a baby wouldn’t change that in the slightest. HA! A tiny person has SO MUCH STUFF. Toys are everywhere all of the time, bottles always need washing, dishes always need to be done, and don’t even get me started on laundry! I’d love to have a Joanna Gaines-esque home (#SHIPLAP), but that’s not my life right now. I may as well embrace the mess because these years will be fleeting.
I judged your unruly kids
Kids are generally pretty obedient, right? And how hard can it be to pacify a baby? Oh, the naiveté! I was SO not prepared for the first public meltdown. We tried going out to dinner when my daughter was only 6 weeks old. She instantly let us know she was not having it, and she would not stop crying. I got so anxious and stressed that we bolted before we could even order. Here’s the thing I now know: babies and kids aren’t robots. They don’t behave on command, as convenient as that would be. Yes, we still go out, and my daughter isn’t always perfect. I’ve learned that most strangers are typically very kind, as many of them have been there too.
I judged your frazzled appearance
How can her kids look so cute when she looks like that? I cringe remembering that I actually had the audacity to think this! Babies are immediately cute, so it’s pretty easy to put your baby in a stylish outfit from his or her adorable mini wardrobe. It’s decidedly less easy to do the same for yourself when you’re postpartum and barely feel like a human being. Motherhood has changed so many things I never expected, like basic self-care. After my baby was born, I often wore the same (maternity) leggings 4 (or 5) days in a row. I left the house, which is an achievement in itself, with dirty hair and dark circles for days. Parenthood has this funny way of making the superficial things matter a lot less.
I judged your tardiness
I never run late. Or at least I never used to run late. A baby is a real game-changer. Just when you’re ready to go, something inevitably happens. (And, most likely, it’s some kind of bodily function – children are really disgusting little creatures) Mom time is forgiving because it has to be, and really, what’s 5 minutes in the grand scheme of things?
I judged your menus
“What kind of terrible parent would feed their child sugar or fast food?” – foolish words from a pre-baby me. I’m a full-time working mama – I simply don’t have the time to puree all of my own baby food or cook delicious gourmet, organic meals every night. My daughter has had bites of cupcakes, cookies, and ice cream. French fries are her JAM. Guess what? She’s perfectly healthy. Of course, it’s all about balance, so she also gets her fair share of veggies and lean protein, but what’s life without a few sweet indulgences?
So, to mom’s I unfairly judged: I’m sorry. Now that I am lucky enough to be in your tribe, I know the universal truth about parenthood: we’re all just doing the best that we can.
Motherhood is a lesson in humility. Each day I try to give myself grace as I realize that this season of my life is chaotic and messy and loud, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I’m not suggesting we let our kids run wild like heathens hopped up on sugar inside our filthy homes. But it’s okay if I’m rocking the same t-shirt I wore yesterday and I haven’t swept the floor this week while my kid enjoys a few fries for dinner. We’re all going to survive.
And here’s the best part: our kids are going to thrive. They won’t remember (or care) that our house didn’t look like the after shot of an HGTV show – they’ll remember it was a place for them to play and feel safe to be themselves. They won’t remember (or care) that you looked a hot mess 99% of the time – they’ll remember that you were there for them – that you smiled, laughed, and played.
A happy mom equals happy kids, and that, my friends, is what it’s all about in the end.