Being a mom is essentially an exercise in being so hard on yourself that you place unrealistic expectations on yourself, while simultaneously needing to extend yourself a lot of grace, kindness, and understanding on a daily basis. Wait, that's just me? Well, either way, it didn't take me long to realize there were more than a few apologies I owe myself now that I'm a mom. Things like saying sorry to myself for not living up to some ideal picture of motherhood I had in my head before my baby was placed in my arms, and apologizing to myself for being so tough on myself every day.
One of the biggest lessons I learned when my daughter was about 6-months-old was that I had to apologize and forgive myself every night in order to give every new day a fresh start. I needed to leave every single piece of baggage from the previous days behind me in order to know, deep down, that I was the mom my daughter needed and deserved. I'd never before had a role where there were about a million tasks that needed to be accomplished in a day, so I had no idea that failing to complete even one or two would make me feel like a failure. Couldn't get her to take a bottle? Failure. Couldn't get her to nap? Failure. Couldn't get out of the house without one or both of us in tears? Failure. As a new mom it was so easy for me to look past my accomplishments and only focus on my perceived shortcomings.
I was incredibly grateful for the moment when I realized that I wasn't a failure of a mom just because I failed any or all of those tasks. So while we're at it, I may as well add the following apologies to my list, too:
I'm Sorry For Thinking I Would Know Everything
I really thought I could teach myself everything there is to know about motherhood, before I actually became a mom. Ha. So you can imagine how hard that realization was when, instead, I felt completely clueless for at least the first year of my daughter's life.
I'm Sorry For Trying So Hard To Be A Perfect Mom
I'm sorry for being so hard on myself time and time again. And I'm sorry for apologizing for this and then still trying (and failing) to be a perfect mom. Again.
I'm Sorry For Not Partying More
It's not really my personality to party, but sometimes the sheer level of responsibility for an entire human makes me want to stay out until 4:00 a.m. without a single responsibility other than taking care of myself. And you know what? I should. I deserve to let loose (responsibly, of course) with friends and enjoy the other parts of myself that don't include wiping someone's butt every few hours all day long.
I'm Sorry For Claiming I Wouldn't Be Totally Obsessed
I watched my friends and family have kids and occasionally rolled my eyes at how obsessed they were with their kids. Then, of course, I would confidently claim that I'd never be that annoyingly obsessed with my own kids. Whoops.
I'm Sorry For Not Having More Sex
I truly had no idea how tired I would be after my baby arrived. So I'm sorry, past me, for not having more carefree sex. I mean, what was I thinking?
I'm Sorry For Not Marrying A Millionaire
Because some days it feels like it would be way easier to just hire someone to clean the house and mop under the high chair for the 11th time before noon. And maybe hire someone to give me a massage every afternoon at about 5:00 p.m. when all hell breaks loose at my house.
I'm Sorry For Caring More About My Child Than My Career
I was completely focused on my career for 31 years before I became a mom, but the minute my daughter arrived you would have had to pay me in gold to check my email for the first six months of her life. Now I am back to work and enjoy it tremendously, but in my heart of hearts I know that right now I don't care about it quite as much as I care about my child. And that's OK.
I'm Sorry For Apologizing So Much
Because motherhood is hard enough without feeling as though I have to apologize for every single thing, from the decisions I make to the feelings I can't help but feel. So, from here on out, I'm going to say sorry less and own whatever I am feeling or doing at any given time.