It’s hard to admit, but I was an arrogant mom. I liked being the mom who didn’t need help. Ever. I liked hauling my kids in the door with a coffee in hand while holding 5 million bags on one arm and somehow opening up the door for myself. I wanted people to see that I was capable. I wanted other moms to know that I was tough and strong and anything but weak. I liked listing off all of the things I could do while mothering. I surely didn’t want to be seen as weak. I would mentally compare myself to other moms to make sure I was maybe a hint better at handling all of the chaos of motherhood, work, running a home, marriage, friends, playdates, and just life. I was arrogant.
I think it started before I had kids. I would look at other mothers in their disheveled mom chaos, and I didn’t want that to be me. I would see them walk into a room with all of their kids in a cloud of stress and I just knew that wasn’t for me. I knew I could do better once I was a mom. I didn’t think they were handling their life’s very well. I was very against this whole wear your gym clothes and pajamas as normal life attire thing. It just looked like motherhood made them give up on life.
When my first child was born, I made sure to go to Starbucks and to shop the day after I got home from the hospital. I made sure to go to church with my hair and makeup just perfect with my new baby daughter dressed to the nines. It wasn’t that getting ready was the issue it was that I was trying to make a point. I made sure to let everyone know that it wasn’t a big deal getting my baby out the door. I could handle it. I’m not like the other mothers. I’m cool, calm, and collected.
I didn’t want anyone to know that I was in-fact depressed and miserable and crying all day and my vagina hurt and the after birth pads were riding up in every horrible place they could. This breastfeeding thing was killing me and the milk coming out and soaking everything was disgusting and I smelled like rotten milk. I didn’t want anyone to know that I didn’t know what to do with this new baby that was crying non-stop and that I didn’t have it together.
I didn’t want anyone to know this because I was an arrogant mom.
When my second child came along it was the same story as before but just a little harder to keep things together. Getting out the door wasn’t a problem, but my anxiety was through the roof. Taking care of a toddler and a newborn was a different game but if you had asked me I would have happily told you I was adjusting well.
I remember this one ridiculous moment so well. I was holding my oldest daughter in one arm and the baby carrier in the other. I was also carrying my gigantic diaper bag, and I was applying my lipstick. I remember thinking in that moment that I needed to capture a picture of this. I wanted to post it on Facebook because I wanted to show that I was a mom-boss and could multi-task like a ninja without needing to ask for help. I could do it all on my own, and I didn’t need help like I was seeing these other moms need. I wasn’t going to be a weak mom. I wasn’t going to be a needy mom. I wasn’t going to be a whiny mom. I wasn’t going to be the mom that was a walking wreck with mom hair and mom style. I wasn’t going to be any of that… but I was choosing to be an arrogant mom.
Then my third child along. I so wish I could tell you that I learned my lesson and that I had grown away from being an arrogant mom. But when my third baby came along I was still determined to have it together. I still didn’t want to be in the category of a needy mom who looked like a wreck. I went to church the second week of my third child’s life instead of the first, but I looked a little less together than I wanted. My hair was in a mom bun. I‘m sure I was wearing some form of stretchy pants. I was huffing and puffing holding the baby carrier while trying to get my other two in the doors. All I wanted was the help. But if someone offered to help me my first reaction was always “no, I got it.”
When my son was six months old, I hit a personal rock bottom. My anxiety was worse than ever, and I was depressed and in a dark place. I was miserable.
I surely didn’t have this mom gig together at all, and everything felt like it was falling through the cracks because it was.
So I finally asked for help and here’s what I learned.
Not being able to juggle everything as a mom doesn’t make you weak, it makes you a normal human. Not having everything together doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you relatable. Asking for help allows other people to see your humanity and step up to the plate. Relating to other moms when they are struggling gives them hope and relief.
Somewhere along the way, our Pinterest perfect, magazine life world taught other moms and me that part of motherhood was looking like you had your life together. Moms on Instagram look flawless while moms in reality often seem like a sh*& show. It’s shocking when you become a mom and instantly realize that even though you are trying your hardest, it still feels like you are swimming upstream. Doesn’t every mom feel this way?
I want to say I’m sorry for being the arrogant mom when I had no business being one. I’m sorry for making you feel like you weren’t measuring up. I’m sorry I chose to separate myself from you instead of locking arms with you. I’m sorry for making you feel like you were weaker than me when in fact, we are more the same than we know.
We are all mothers trying our best. So…here’s my virtual high-five and slap on the butt. You got this.