Just be the mom you are and be happy.
When the link to an article about stay-at-home moms popped up in my email box the other day, I clicked on it immediately. The article's author was prompted to write it after reading a Clare Danes' interview in which she said that she would make a lousy stay-at-home mom. (She is pregnant.) Many stay-at-home moms took offence to her comment. I did not. The article went on to talk about the yo-yo'ing that stay-at-home moms do between going on about their "failings as a mom" one minute and then trying to one up other moms the next.
Being a stay-at-home mom has been waaaay harder than I ever thought it would be. While it is not mentally challenging in the way that my previous work has been, it has proven to be very physically challenging and mentally exhausting. During the girls first year, I was busy learning how to be a mom. I met lots of other new moms. We were all the same. As that first year ended, most of those moms prepared to head back to their careers. Babies went off to daycare or were going to be cared for by nannies. The way I felt last April-ish completely caught me off guard. While I had chosen to stay home with the girls indefinitely, part of me felt like I was missing out. I could start seeing clients again part-time? (I'm a nutritionist) I could start an entirely new business? The ideas started flying through my head and I felt panicked to get something going asap.
Parenthood is all-consuming. It never ends. There are rarely breaks. You all know this, of course! I feared losing myself completely in this. I feared waking up when the girls hit grade one, having no clue what to do with myself. Worst of all, I felt like being a mother wasn't enough for me. What took me several months to realize is that all of my feelings were being driven by everything thing and everyone out there (society). People who don't have children, think that my days are easy. For some reason, I felt insecure and felt like I needed to defend myself.
What I then realized was that while I was worrying about the thoughts of people I didn't even know, my two little girls were growing quickly right in front of me. They were taking their first steps, trying to say their first words, doing adorable twin things and giving me huge smiles, hugs and kisses. So many parents would kill to see (and sometimes video!) every single one of their child's 'firsts' like I have. I am lucky to have this opportunity. I would constantly have parents of older twins look at my with that smile telling me, "Ohhh I remember when mine were that age! Enjoy it!" I used to smile politely and move on, not even thinking about what they had just said. When someone said just this to me this morning, I gave her a genuine smile, looked at my sweet girls and soaked up the moment for all it was worth.
There will be time for work later. There won't be time to play with my 19-month old adorable, hilarious, intelligent and quirky twin girls. So, a few months ago, I made the decision to slow down and be happy with where I am right now. When I am hard on myself and think that I could be doing more or doing better at this mom thing, I try to stop my thoughts in their tracks. I remind myself that I'm doing a great job. Be kind to yourself, my mom would often tell me.
Forget about what others are doing. Don't sweat the small stuff. Just be the mom you are, and be happy.