When I thought about being a stay-at-home-mom, I imagined I’d have the apartment spotless, prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my husband and me, and still have time to do my schoolwork and creative pursuits and hobbies. Instead, I find myself struggling to finish dinner while my Sunstar fusses to be held, the apartment is never as clean as I’d like it to be, and I barely even have time to myself to shower, so that schoolwork is delegated to the weekend, and everything else is forgotten in the hazy fog of long-term sleep deprivation.
I’m doing important work, the MOST important work of caring for our daughter, my husband assures me when I express my feelings of inadequacy, uselessness, and lack of accomplishments. But still, I doubt. Other moms are out there with newborns, and toddlers, and twins, and they’re running businesses, and writing books and successful blogs, and having social lives, and working, and just being supermoms. I am not a supermom. I am an ordinary, average, sometimes good, sometimes not so good, everyday mom.
I’ve failed to meet my own expectations and standards in so many ways. I haven’t managed to teach my daughter to “sleep through the night”, or even to take so much as a nap without having my right next to her and with my boob in her mouth most of the time. I don’t talk to her, or read to her or sing to her as much as I should, and I worry that she seems to be slightly behind in her language development. I’ve failed the “no screens” rule and let her watch Disney songs so I can cut her fingernails because I don’t know how else to get her to be still. I also model bad behaviour by being on my phone all the time, and knowing that her daddy does the exact same thing makes me feel worse, not better.
Being able to be with my daughter all the time is wonderful! And also boring and lonely and frustrating. I struggle with the conflicting emotions of wanting to be with her all the time, but also wanting to have an identity and purpose apart from her. I’ve loved seeing her first smile, watching her learn to crawl, and hearing her first “ba-ba-ba” babbles, but it’s been tough to feel like I’ve had to lose some of my independence and freedom to do so.
Becoming a mom has been the single biggest adjustment of my life and I’m still coming to terms with it. I’m trying to find a balance with my little Sunstar who has become the center of my life without completely falling into her gravitational pull. I try to find time to do a little writing while she sleeps, have a conversation with my husband that’s not about her, read a book, or watch TV, or listen to a podcast; these small triumphs help me feel like I haven’t lost my identity in becoming a mom, but added to it. I continue to hope that someday soon I will feel like a success as a mom, as a wife, and as a to-be-determined career person.