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Monday, November 25, 2013

It's Okay To Be An Imperfect Mom - You Are Not Alone

Mom Blogger
I recently came across a tweet that really resonated with me.  It said, "I would rather admit I am an imperfect mom, than have other imperfect mothers think they are alone. ~ @mommykeepslaugh."

As a type-A everything - mom, wife, HR professional, daughter, sister, you name it, it is really hard for me to be vulnerable and accept being less than perfect.  To me, it sometimes feels like accepting less than perfect is somehow like giving up, and giving up never sits well with me.  I am learning though that it can be a strength to embrace being "imperfect."

I know, I know.  It sounds like a "duh" epiphany but I think, especially when it comes to being a new mother, enough people do not talk about how hard it is.  Or if they do talk about it, it is more in a "right of passage" sort of way.  Meaning, all new moms have to go through it.  We did it, and we survived, so suck it up.

And do not get me wrong, I am not looking for a pity party or anything.  I just think it would be nice if more moms would share their vulnerable moments, because I think it is in those vulnerable moments, those crying on the bathroom floor moments that new moms like to know they are not alone.


It's Okay To Be An Imperfect Mom.

Everyone Expects You To Be Happy But We Should Share When We Are Not.  
Right after you have the baby, whenever you see people, they expect you to be happy.  They fawn over your new bundle of joy and jokingly ask you if you are sleeping.  I understand, and I get it.  And of course I love my baby more than life itself, but with this greatest high, comes the greatest low.  Yet you smile for your friends and family because you do not want to disappoint them.  I know I personally felt like the worst person in the world during those early months.  I was having tearful arguments with my husband and some growing resentment due to the loss of what seemed like all personal time.  I know everyone said it was going to be hard, but I thought they just meant from sheer exhaustion.  I was utterly unprepared for how much a new baby would rock my rock solid relationship with my husband.

And I have to remember that It's Okay To Be An Imperfect Mom and to let other moms know they are not alone.

I kept this pain to myself too long.  Part of the reason I am writing this post is because twice now I have shared my near-divorce story with other new moms, and both times, in teary eyed moments, they shared a similar experience.  It felt cathartic to realize that we were not alone.

And It's Okay To Be An Imperfect Mom and admit you need outside help.

My husband and I Personally Sought Out Couples' Counseling.  My husband and I noticed we had been arguing a lot more than usual and our relationship had more tension than it ever had before the baby.  We took advantage of my company's Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  Most companies offer one free of charge with your benefits.  Our program included 6 free counseling sessions.  I wish more people would be open to seeking therapy, and I also wish therapy was something people did not feel ashamed for seeking.  Even when I mentioned the idea of writing this post to my family, they questioned my decision to share that I went to counseling.  I told them they had missed the whole point of my post, because I want other moms to know that it is okay to go to therapy.  It does not mean you are weak or crazy.  It means you are going through a major life change while sleep deprived, and yes, you could benefit from a third party mediating conversations with your husband, because he too, is sleep deprived and going through a major life change.

For us, it was really beneficial and I have to say, a great overall experience.  Sometimes, you have to hear it from a stranger before you really "hear" it, and even though we might have gotten through it without her, it really helped meeting with her weekly.  It got us through the tough parts.  Therapy taught us a lot about each other and allowed us the techniques to communicate more effectively with one another.  We have a stronger relationship now because of it.

And It's Okay To Be An Imperfect Mom Because Being A Great Mother Looks Different In Every Case.  

Parenting seems to be a topic many people like to weigh in on and share their opinion with you.  It is really easy to feel like a "bad mom."  All you have to do is listen to other parents and open up any article on the internet to see that whatever you are doing at home is "wrong."  I have since concluded that it is okay to be imperfect because there is no perfect mom.  That would imply that there is a "right" way to do everything, and frankly, there is not.  There are a lot of different ways to do things, and being a good mom means knowing what is right for you and your family.  It also means supporting other moms and their imperfectness, because I would rather admit I am an imperfect mom, than have other imperfect mothers think they are alone.

What do you think?  What have been your vulnerable, imperfect moments?

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10 comments:

  1. Hey love! You are so brave to have shared this with the world. I think it was such a beautifully written post. You know, I have to admit, this need to be "perfect" or the idea of what a "perfect mom" is has to do with perspective. From your family's reaction to you wanting to post this, it sounds like they are more concerned with things looking a certain way, which like you said, puts a lot of pressure on a mom to be that way and if she's not, she will feel inferior or like a "bad mom." I honestly don't think experiencing stress and having a tough time in the beginning of balancing having a new bundle of joy in your house makes you less than perfect. It's a huge change and with sleep deprivation and our pumping hormones, it is only natural what moms have to go through. I think for every mom, it's important to have a great support system. Many times, this is more than just your spouse. I resorted to things like Babycenter, the La Leche League group for breastfeeding questions and concerns and other moms that I've known or looked up to. The great thing about the blog world is that there are so many other moms out there, that eventually as you meet people you will find support. The sad thing is, many times, women can't find this support from their own extended families. Knowing this, it is definitely my mission not to be this way with my children when they start having their own kids.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Countdown in Style! Don't forget to come back on Friday to see if you are featured! xo

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  2. Thanks for this---we moms are so hard on ourselves. I'm vulnerable around dinner time and am almost ready to snap!! Excercise helps. Its important to have an outlet too. PS thanks for your support on my site, lots of love! Christina

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  3. I think the statement is flawed, Raina. Not because I don't agree with you, but it implies that there is perfection in motherhood. No one is perfect, therefore you can't experience perfect motherhood. There are so many variables in raising your child, including one that you cannot control, your child's personality. The most "perfect" of moms seem to have the best coping mechanism to other people, but you never know what's going on at home, tears, marriage falling apart, abuse, etc. We should not strive for perfection, we should strive to raise well-adjusted children... and through it all, we'll have ups and downs. We are not alone in this journey. Thanks for sharing and linking up with Countdown in Style! Don't forget to come back on Friday to see if you were featured!

    ~~April~~
    100lbCountdown.com

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  4. What a beautiful family - Happy Thanksgiving!

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  5. No one is perfect...we all have our moments and difficulties. I think this is wonderful of you to share...no one should feel like they are alone out there.

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  6. Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments and support :)

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  7. Congrats on your feature, you deserve it!!

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  8. That's so great that you are sharing this because as mom's we think we have to do everything and be a perfect mom but it's just not possible!

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  9. Kudos to you for sharing this story it is amazing! I have one son and when I had him I had severe depression however, mostly due to his father but it was very difficult. Even now, my son is 6 and I feel inadequate most of the time - I over-analyze all details: am I feeding him well? do I give him enough attention? am I giving him too much attention? am I being too hard on him? Too soft? the list goes on and at the end of the day: all we can do is the best we can and let them always know and never doubt that we love them. I'm sure no matter what, your daughter will know that and that will be more than enough :) Hope you're doing better Raina! -Iva

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  10. I agree that there should be more conversation about the difficulties of being a new mom and less of a "suck it up" attitude. It is hard!!! Something I've definitely noticed is a competitive nature among many moms in my community...who's kid is achieving what, who's still breastfeeding, who delivered without medication, bla bla bla. I think many moms are just afraid due to lack of conversation. Thanks for sharing.

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