Imperfect Parenting

Imperfect Parenting

In my pre-baby life I had it together. I woke up at 5 a.m. to work out at the gym. I returned phone calls. I had supper club with girlfriends once a month. I folded my laundry. I was somewhat stylish. And then I had a child and suddenly none of these things mattered (which is good because I didn’t have time for them anyway!). I reevaluated what was important in my life and shifted my priorities. Eventually I hit my stride as a mommy and managed to mold my new “mom life” with the important aspects from my former life.

But then I had a second child and, even eight months later, I feel like I really don’t have it together. There is hardly any working out, laundry is lucky if it gets washed and I have friends who I haven’t caught up with in months. Every day goes something like this:

  1. Wake up (after a long night of multiple wakings with the baby).
  2. Get the kids ready and off to school.
  3. Throw on whatever fits from my closet and pretend it’s an outfit.
  4. Work.
  5. Pick up the kids and eat something for dinner.
  6. Bath time.
  7. Bedtime.
  8. Flop on the couch in a puddle of exhaustion. 
  9. Sleep (kind of). 
  10. Repeat.

I’m yawning just re-reading that. But the truth is, I love this life. It is the life I chose and I knew that having a second child wasn’t going to magically give me more time or energy. In all honesty, I’ve cried more times over the past six months than I’d like to admit. There are moments where I feel so overwhelmed that I’m convinced I’m failing as a mother, a wife, an employee and certainly as a friend. But then I have to remind myself that it’s okay to feel like I don’t have it all together. It’s okay not to have it together. I’m doing the best I can.

Some days that means we eat frozen chicken nuggets instead of a home-cooked meal. It might mean that I don’t lose the baby weight as quickly as I’d like (turns out it may take more than 9 months to take it off the second time!). And the friendships that matter will remain regardless of how much time passes without a phone call. I’m not perfect, and I can’t do it all. And that’s okay.

But I’ve also realized that while I feel like there’s not an extra minute in the day to spare, it’s very important to find some time just for me. While it may feel selfish to slip away for a massage, or a pedicure, or coffee with a friend, we parents need to remember the importance of taking care of ourselves so that we have the energy to take care of our families. And if it means we need to relax our standards for ourselves so that everyone is happier, then we should do that. We don’t need to throw the perfect Pinterest parties for our kids and no one will care if your house isn’t perfectly tidy (truthfully, I’ll like you better if you invite me over for a playdate and don’t clean your house!). Take some “me” time instead. You’ll be a happier mom (or dad), and your whole family will be better for it.

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