I was talking to my best friend (a mom of three) the other day and she described how she feels constantly like a failure. I told her I was feeling the same exact way. No matter how hard I tried, I just felt like I was constantly disappointing myself, my husband, E, my daughter, B, friends, and hell, even the dogs. For some reason, we moms have it in our heads that we all have to be supermoms, super wives, and super persons (exercise, diet, hobbies) all the time. That if only it was about willpower that I could get everything done: doing DIY projects all night long and blogging until the wee hours after making a solid dinner, getting up extra early to work out and cook breakfast, cleaning during nap time, and never letting our kids watch TV. Well, for me, it never is going to be like that.
I think it was last year that this “empowering” message came out. I for one took great offense at it (hence my editing with the lines.)
Yes she does have 24 hours in a day, and so does Gisele Bundchen, Gwyneth Paltrow (or name any other celebrity mom) but they have a TON MORE HELP than most of us. Although Gisele may have been doing prenatal yoga and kung fu until the last week of her pregnancy, I can assure you she wasn’t 100% responsible for cleaning her house, getting dinner on, groceries bought, or children watched. And Gwyneth (my favorite) is so fortunate to have help to watch her kids or at least put them in school so she can work out two hours a day to maintain that bangin’ body. I don’t blame them for having help, because my goodness if I had that much money I would have help too! But, I don’t have that luxury, nor do most other moms. So why do I compare my lives/ schedules/ bodies/ postpartum recovery to theirs?
Celebrities have more help, and so do some other bloggers. I don’t have a cleaning lady, a cook, a nanny or even a babysitter aside from my mother-in-law when she comes into town (who I consider myself sooo lucky to have!) And most other moms and mom bloggers are in the same boat as me. But I find myself looking at Instagram thinking that their houses must always look this good, and their children must always be so well behaved, oh and they are always so well coiffed. I constantly wonder how they accomplish so much when they are so pregnant/ busy/ have so many kids? I then beat myself up as to why can’t I accomplish what they do. I will never know how other people do it but I have to be gentler on myself and be proud of what I accomplish.
*Sidenote: I have absolutely nothing against household help. I was a nanny myself for years and I grew up in a family who had a nanny/ housekeeper for 15 years in addition to au pairs for several years. My mom worked crazy hours (and continues to work crazy hours) and my dad commuted between California and Chicago for three years. We all greatly benefited from the love and attention from our nanny/ housekeeper. Everyone does what works for them and I would love to have more help. A cleaning lady would be nice, although my Monica Gellar tendencies may never let me be satisfied. My point is that I shouldn’t compare myself to other people, especially celebrities or bloggers whom I hardly know aside from the internet.
Since experiencing tons of contractions with Baby T2 whenever I overexert myself (vacuuming our entire house and washing all the floors while chasing B), I have had to seriously dial back my activity in the past three weeks per my midwife’s recommendations. Listening to my body is hard because while I am sitting, my mind is still racing saying “other moms do it, why can’t you?” Or “how do you ever think you will manage this household with another baby much less three or four kids?” That kind of thinking seriously gets you down and is part of the reason I have been blogging so erratically lately. I will have a good really productive day, and then pay for it the next. We painted the kitchen (nearly a month ago, and yet I cannot get pictures of it!) And I always question myself when I am pushing publish on the blog posts and my house is in disarray because I feel like I am presenting this inaccurate picture of my life and I should be cleaning instead of blogging.
Luckily, E has been an amazing support. He actually congratulated me Monday night because he came home and the house was a big ol’ mess and I was sitting on the couch with B. I told him I was feeling awful and he told me how proud of me he was that I was able to just let the mess be. To have such a wonderful and understanding husband is such a blessing. He told me that he was happy that I was putting the wellbeing of our unborn child and myself ahead of housekeeping. And I felt so lucky that I have such an amazing man as my partner.
So this is my saying, let’s all try to be gentler on ourselves and stop comparing each other. I don’t think this is something only I struggle with. We all have different circumstances and what works for someone, may not work for someone else. We are all just trying to do our best everyday.
P.S. I absolutely love these bloggers who have blogged about their feelings like this before because it makes them relatable and their blogs I regularly read because of their candor. We are all just trying to do the best for ourselves, for our kids, for our families, so let’s not judge! Bower Power (seriously, how does she do it all?) blogged about her feelings here, Camp Patton regularly keeps it real, and Pawley’s Island Posh is always so honest about motherhood and her recent post about inviting people into our not so perfect homes really resonated with me. Even though I try to do Little Green Notebook’s cleaning schedule, and our house is usually pretty clean (spotless by most people’s standards) it won’t always be and can’t always be. There will be weeks when our showers are not cleaned and I need that to be OK. Our house will not be “finished” for a LONG time.
This recent picture from Emily Clark‘s instagram (a mom of five–the last two twins!) makes me smile. She shared on Instagram what it looks like on the other side of the room after she posted her styled vignette earlier in the day and her reflections on Instagram here.
Emily Clark’s instagramDo you ever struggle with these feelings of inadequacy? What do you do? If you are a blogger or would like to share your feelings, please comment and leave a link to a blog post in which you have discussed it. Or if you are an avid blog reader, feel free to link to someone else’s blog! Reading about other people’s experiences always makes me feel better, so I hope it helps some of you too!
I have linked up today with another mom, House of Malones for Thoughts for Thursday.