I was so perfect before I had kids. My house was always clean, I only ate organic food, and I was never late for anything. I had a picture in my head of what being a mom would be like, too, and my plans for my baby were — you guessed it — perfect. Then my daughter was born and she screwed everything up. It was for the best, though. I realized I didn't have to be "perfect" to be a good mom, and I learned that there are a lot of things you'll change your mind about after having a baby. If you're lucky, that is.
Very few things will go as planned as soon as you have a baby, my friends. And most of the time, that's totally OK if not actually for the best. When I wasp postpartum and caring for another human being I learned all about priorities, lowering my expectations, and how to let myself relax. I also figured out that the things that make your life easier as a mom, like the occasional fast food meal or letting your kids have screen time, don't make you a bad mom at all. Instead, they just mean you've figured out that the secret to being a so-called "good mom" is not trying to be perfect at all. It's doing what you need to do in order to take care of not only your children, but yourself..
Once I gave up my dreams of being perfect I finally learned how to be happy. Now I know I don't have to be a size two or prepare home-cooked meals from organic, locally-grown produce every day in order to be the best mother I can be to my children. My kids and husband don't care about those things, you guys. They love me just the way I am. And they can have sugary cereal — even for dinner — once in a while and it won't hurt them.
So, while I might have messy hair, wear leggings every day, and am always late, I am way happier than I would be if I tried to live up to some ridiculous standard that is nothing if not impossible. I've stopped reaching for perfection, and have fully embraced my ability to change my mind about the following:
My natural birth plan lasted until I hit 18 hours of goddamn back labor. Then I got my magical epidural and became a total convert. It was just what I needed to have a badass birth. I loved it so much that the last time I gave birth I got the epidural before my induction. I 10/10 would recommend every single time. Amazing.
Being One & Done
For the longest time I didn't know if I wanted to have a child, let alone more than one child. However, after my daughter was born, I just felt like my family wasn't complete. Now I have five kids, you guys. Who knew life would turn out this way? I sure didn't.
Before my first child was born, I was a breastfeeding advocate. I wanted to breastfeed her exclusively until she was a toddler, and I believed that breastfeeding her was the most important thing I could do as a new mother. Then she was born, I had undersupply, and she got re-admitted to the NICU for dehydration. As a result of those aforementioned and unforeseeable complications, I've since learned that there is more than one way to feed and nourish a baby. What's most important is that they (and you) are thriving. Breast is not best for every family, and formula is awesome, too.
Organic Is Better
I wish I would have put all of the extra money I spent on organic food for myself and my kid in a jar or a high interest savings account. If I had, I probably could take my family on some lavish vacation, or even better, buy a new minivan. Since becoming a mom, I've learned that organic doesn't mean healthier, it just means "better marketing." Same goes for "non-GMO" and "all-natural." Kids are expensive AF. You need to save all the money you can.
Owning A Minivan
Oh how the mighty have fallen. I vowed to never, ever own a minivan. Besides, I would never need one, right? Remember, I was only going to have one kid. Now I am in love with our minivan. It has enough room for everyone, automatic doors, and magical storage capacity, which is totally awesome for trips to IKEA. Minivans are badass. Seriously.
My views on screen time have changed drastically over the years. My oldest child didn't get screen time until well after she turned 2-years-old. My second child got to watch what his big sister was watching. My youngest is currently watching Grey's Anatomy (maybe he'll be a surgeon someday). I'll admit —too much screen time turns my kids into surly monsters — but a little bit of screen time is fun for them, educational, and gives me a well-needed break.
Using A Stroller
I own so many wraps and baby carriers that I'm a little embarrassed about it, so I never thought I would use a stroller. That is, of course, until I had kids and learned that strollers are great for when it's freaking hot outside or you need a place to stow grocery bags or swimsuits, or you want to take your kids on a six-mile run. I love my carriers, but my stroller is awesome. too.
I was a cloth diaper fanatic until I became a single mom to two and just couldn't keep up. My evenings were so full, and I had to deal with so much sh*t as it was, that the last thing I needed was to have to wash diapers. It was just too much. I switched to disposables, and my life seriously got easier as a result. Now, I use a mixture of both, and it's honestly the best of both worlds.
I was originally the mom who swore that my kids would never eat cereal with marshmallows or more than five grams of sugar. I remember the first time my son had Lucky Charms. He actually thought it was cat food with candy in it. Now, I have lightened up on added sugar. It won't kill them to have some sugary cereal once in a while.
I used to be the kind of person who swore I would never wear leggings. Now, I know the secret, you guys: leggings are comfy, fun, and easy. They look good on all types of bodies (despite what one High School principal thinks). Besides, if someone is going to judge me for wearing leggings and yoga pants every day, they probably aren't worth my time. Life is too short to be uncomfortable. Wear leggings.