I’m been really hard on myself as a mom. Since my little babe is now a year old, I guess I can’t really call myself a new mom. I feel like I should have my shit together. I should have a routine. I should know what I’m doing. And, obviously, I should have lost all the baby weight and be fit and trim, 100% back to normal, with a clean house. Oh and I should also have a “suck it up and handle it” attitude (at least that’s what all those Instagram memes tell me).
But I don’t. I’m still heavy with the weight I gained during pregnancy. I’m still struggling with postpartum depression, baby blues, or just flat out depression—whatever you want to call it these days. My house is pretty clean…sometimes. Some days I’m a rock star and I feel like a pro at this motherhood thing. Some days, like today, I want to crawl back into bed and sleep like Rip Van Winkle for the foreseeable future (would you mind handling the diaper changes for me?).
I still struggle with my new identity. Mother versus woman. “Unemployed” versus working my ass off 24/7 to be recognized by no one because being a stay at home mom isn’t considered a “real” job. Fat versus fit. Super mom versus average mom.
But why do we have to be one or the other? What makes one mom “super” while another is just “average”? Is it the amount of activities she takes her kid to? Is it how many decorations or how well-themed a birthday party is? Is it the number of dust bunnies in the corners of her house? Homemade meals vs. frozen? Go get ‘em attitude? Why does it have to be one or the other, why can’t I just be… “mom”?
I suppose it all comes down to the “super mom” stereotypes we create in our heads. I have to be this kind of mom to be really great. I can’t have bad days or let anyone see me struggle. Why can’t I be like that mom who has it all together (and looks great too)? At least, this is the kind of thing I tell myself daily. I’m embarrassed to say “I’m depressed.” I’m ashamed to admit “I’m struggling.” I don’t want to utter “I need help.” But I have these kinds of days mixed in with my supermom days. And I don’t think there should be anything wrong with that. Even the most seemingly put together mom has her kryptonite. No one has their shit together 100% of the time. There’s a hole in that [damn] giant golden inflatable goose raft at the pool somewhere, and I’m watching from the side as it sinks slowly the more use it gets.
There should be nothing wrong with admitting that we have a weak spot and be able to put the repair patch on. I want to be able to say to myself that this is the kind of mom that I am, this is what I am able to do, and I’m giving it all I’ve got. I don’t want to identify as any one kind of mom—tiger, helicopter, crunchy, or otherwise. I want to just be Mom.