A ‘perfect parent’? It has taken me 5 months of being a Mama to realise this, but now I know – it doesn’t exist. Since having Archie I have had an emotional rollercoaster of not knowing what the hell I’m doing, of trying to live up to expectations and of trying to portray myself as a ‘perfect parent’… whatever that even means. But listen;
We’re all in the same boat.
We’re all just muddling our way through this crazy parenting journey, learning so much more about our little ones – and ourselves – every single day. Not everyone has it all figured out, I promise you. There are going to be twists and turns and good days and bad days for many weeks, months and years to come so trust me when I say – you’re doing well.
That Mum that you see, perfectly made up face and hair, matching outfits with her little one? It probably took her two hours of stop-start getting ready, bouncing her baby on her knee, listening to the same song 20 times in a row just to calm them down and a whole outfit change as a result of a nappy explosion or projectile vomit before she even got out of the house. The perfectly posed instagram picture of them, with the happiest baby you’ve ever seen? It was probably the 50th attempt at a decent photo, and the only smile she’d seen all morning from her poorly teething baby. Just because it’s perfect online, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect offline too. No one is going to post a picture of the messy house, the huge pile of laundry, the overtired baby that won’t settle, the exhausted Mum that hasn’t had a minute to herself all day long… it’s not what we want to show the world, it’s not what we want to remember in years to come.
Every single Mama (and Dad) out there has a different parenting style – there is absolutely no ‘perfect’ way… what works for you and your family is what is right. You co-sleep? That’s cool, I don’t. You breastfeed? You combination feed? You baby wear? You use cloth nappies? That’s ALL cool too… but I don’t. There is no reason at all why Mum A is any better as a parent than Mum B – as long all their children are fed, clean and cared for then it doesn’t matter. I’ll admit, it can be hard to not compare yourself as a parent to others around you, whether it be online or friends and family who have children too… I have often found myself wondering ‘Am I doing this wrong?’ ‘Should I be doing what they do?’ ‘Why can’t I be that organised?’ ‘Why can’t my baby be that calm?’ – when in actual fact, what I should be doing is feeling proud of myself for doing absolutely everything I can for my little boy to make him the happiest, healthiest little baby possible. Just because neither Archie or I are doing everything exactly the same way as other babies and their parents, that doesn’t make me any less of a Mother.
It’s good to admit and understand that you physically cannot be a perfect person. We all, no doubt about it, have bad days, bad weeks, bad months. It’s just the way life works. There are days where I feel so mentally and physically exhausted that it takes all my energy just to get up and change a nappy. There are weeks where all I want to do is hide away from the world and not get out of my pj’s. There are days where nothing seems to go right. Where I can’t settle Archie, where I can’t be the fun, happy girlfriend that I want to be for Chris… but it’s okay. Really. Because every other day I get to look at my little family and feel the most unconditional love that I didn’t even know I would ever feel. I hear my baby boys laugh and everything is okay. I see him look up at me whilst I feed him and know that to him, I am perfect. I see my boyfriend come home after a long day at work, and everything is good again. I’m safe. I’m warm. I’m happy, and I’m so unbelievably lucky to be where I am and to have what I have today. So although I’m not – and never will be – the perfect parent, I know that I am doing the best that I possibly can and that through thick and thin, the good and bad days, I will have my little family that will never stop loving me.
And if you feel like you’ve been the world’s worst Mama today, you’ve failed at everything you’ve tried to do for your little one, you have given up all hope and are counting down the minutes until bedtime, remember… you are perfect to your baby. Your little monkey that has exhausted you, reduced you to tears and used up every bit of energy and patience you have? They love you. They love you no matter what. No makeup? Haven’t showered in days? Run out of playtime ideas after 20 minutes? They love you to the ends of the earth, from the second they wake up to the second they go to sleep. I promise you – you are their entire world.