I’m Not Perfect

20 Apr

Founding a parenting site must mean I’m the perfect mom. Hardly! In fact, I sometimes I think people get a sense of relief when they see that I can be disorganized, that my kids act up, my laundry’s stacked in the living room, etc. Although I consider myself an accomplished mom with three fantastic children, what people don’t know is how hard I had to struggle, and fail, for many years before I became the mom I am today. You might recognize some of these struggles in a mom you know or even yourself.

Fifteen years ago, when my first child was born, I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about taking care of an infant nor raising a child. I actually thought newborns were born playing and smiling, not sleeping 18 hours a day. I’m also not one to sit still, and recovery was not in my plan.  I also suffered from severe anxiety exasperated by post partum blues and didn’t know I needed help. This was not the best way to start motherhood.

The older my child got, raising a well-behaved child became my mission. I had no idea what to do to discipline my child except for how I was disciplined: spanking. When that didn’t work, I tried time out, soap, taking things away and anything else I thought would help. Needless to say, I am not proud of what I did, and I knew I needed help with parenting skills but didn’t know where to turn and was embarrassed to admit I couldn’t control my child.

Our second child came along three years later. My husband travelled four days a week, my anxiety became more severe and presented itself in frightening physical symptoms, my new baby had frequent ear infections and had to be in an upright position 24 hours a day. I rarely slept, my husband was out-of-town most of the week, I had a preschooler who needed my attention and had little ability to even care for myself. Unfortunately, I was hard on my children and I was hard on myself.

Luckily some good came a year after our second child was born. I was finally diagnosed with severe anxiety and received treatment and my son had ear tubes put in which finally allowed both us to get the sleep we so desperately needed. Unfortunately, relief didn’t last long.

I was pregnant again and during the third month of my pregnancy we moved for the for the third time in six years. I suffered from morning sickness all day, for nine months, and we lived in a hotel for a month before we could move into our new home. Three months after our child was born, we moved again- half way across the country.

After three years of being a stay-at-home mom, I was desperate to interact in an adult environment, but found myself in friendships with toxic people who negatively impacted my life. Then, we moved half way across the country- again. However, change was on the way this time.

My husband took a less demanding job and continued to be supportive and helpful though my personal challenges and those of motherhood. I began to utilize all of the information I had been learning over the years and realized I was doing a pretty good job as a mom and my kids were becoming awesome little people.

Although these are only a few of the trials and tribulations I faced while trying to be the “perfect mother”, it is not intended to be a sob story, but rather a message. You probably know a woman who appears to be a happy, well-adjusted mother yet is quietly struggling with her own challenges. Or, if you are that mom, know that you are not alone and ask for help. Most of all, know that you’re not expected to be perfect.

So now you know. I wasn’t perfect then and I’m not perfect now, but I have learned so much about parenting during the last fifteen years, and it’s time to share what I have learned with other moms facing the same challenges. My children are entering the teenage years and I’m finding that is a whole new beast! Now, I’m not afraid to find the help I need, ask the questions I don’t know the answers to, and surround myself with fantastic women who make me a better mom and woman during this new phase of parenting. The best part is I know I’m not perfect and so do they.

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