I used to get really excited about women’s magazines. A newsstand full of publications promising me I could be the best version of myself if I just [insert list of overcommitments here]. I was in that same headspace when I got pregnant, and I just knew I was going to be the best mom possible. I dove in gleefully to motherhood fodder: magazines, books, websites, chat rooms. But when the baby came and the reality of parenthood hit, I realized there were new mom “accomplishments” that, honestly, were not worth it. It never occurred to me, in my pre-mom life and in the beginning of my new life as a mother, that all these possibilities were actually impossible to accomplish at once.
And that maybe I didn’t need any improvement.
Maybe I just had to be someone’s mother and focus on the most immediate needs of myself and my infant: nutrition, hygiene, rest, and love. Those things alone took huge amounts of effort. I was sleep-deprived, most likely suffering some postpartum anxiety that went undiagnosed, and adjusting to life with a newborn when all I had to worry about before she got here were a few bills and not losing my whole Sunday morning to a hangover.
Then again, if there wasn’t so much that went into parenthood, the rewards wouldn’t feel so rich. There are truly no words to describe how it felt to hold our baby, to gaze upon her face and imagine a whole wonderful life for her, even if we weren’t financially equipped to give it to her. The possibilities are endless, when I allow myself a moment to soak in my kid’s lust for life and deep curiosity about her world.
In order to enjoy those moments, I had to make room. I couldn’t continue on self-improvement benders. I had to be good enough as is, most of the time, if I were to have the bandwidth to take pleasure in simply having a family. So, while it’s tempting to dedicate a whole Pinterest board to all the wonderful achievements you are looking forward to as a parent, here are some new mom “accomplishments” I don’t think are worth your (limited) time and energy: