Parenting

What do you do when being a mom isn’t picture perfect?8 min read

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Welcome to motherhood, where your shopping list is now full of diapers, diaper rash cream, and coffee. Your Instagram feed is full of beautifully curated photos of moms as a subtle reminder that being a “happy mom” should be your goal, no pressure!

And as common sense would suggest, plus the tons of happy moms popping up everywhere on social media and plastered all over billboards, it’s easy for you as a first-time mom to have huge, humongous expectations as you head into the grand land of motherhood.

And frankly, I wouldn’t blame you at all. I know I had big plans about motherhood being a smooth sail with some ups and downs that I’d overcome easily.

But then I became a mom, and my life changed. Aside from being delighted that my baby was healthy, I was clueless about how to keep such a tiny baby alive.

Never at one point during my pregnancy did I sit down and think about what women go through once they give birth. Everyone expects you to figure it out on your own. And sadly, no type of “how to take care of a newborn” class, prepares you to be a mom until you become one.

But what happens when you become a mom and don’t feel the insane happiness and bliss every other mom feels?

Is there something wrong with you when you honestly don’t like motherhood as much?

Can you be a mom, totally in love with your child, would do anything for them, but still, find parenting tough and isolating?

Absolutely!

Because that’s exactly what I’m going through right now.

I’m two years into this parenting gig, and you’d think I’d have it figured out by now. But aside from drowning in confusion and self-doubt half the time, I’ve recently found myself overwhelmed about being a mom. And I constantly found myself thinking, “What if I mess up my daughter?

So here I am, exposing my insecurities while trying to help you realize that motherhood can be a wave of confusion, love, fear, and joy all in one. If you’ve felt out of sorts as a new mom, I understand what you’re going through.

But before you conclude that motherhood is all doom and gloom, come along as I share with you a few revelations ( I have a ton, but these are the top 3) that have helped make my parenting journey, and hopefully yours, a tad bit less stressful.

Reality #1: You’ll blame yourself a lot.

My daughter fell and chipped her tooth. Even after I had consoled her and she was out and about playing, as usual, I felt a huge cloud of guilt hanging over me.

She wouldn’t have fallen down if we stayed in the house and watched cartoons instead of playing outside.

It’s my job and responsibility to keep her safe and I failed miserably!

If I was standing a bit closer to her, I would have broken her fall and she wouldn’t be hurt.

I’m so stupid and careless. How can I take her to play outside when it’s full of objects and surfaces that could hurt her?

Those were just a few of the thoughts in my head. I wasn’t just heartbroken that she was hurt; I was upset that I didn’t keep her safe. I’m still feeling guilty typing this, and I bet you’ll blame yourself as well when your child gets hurt, especially in your care.

People tell you to get past the guilt, forgive yourself, and move on. But unfortunately, there’s no magic pill to swallow that will have you feeling guilt-free in an instant. It will take time, and that’s what I’m giving myself. For now, I feel crappy, a bad mom, and even though I’m not the worst mother in the world, I’m not thrilled with my progress so far.

Reality #2: The future freaks you out.

Never have I been afraid of the future like right now. The whole world is a mess, and having a child present in this disaster is not easy. If anything, it’s scary, upsetting, and troubling.

But instead of driving myself crazy thinking about inflation and all strains of Covid-19, I’m teaching myself to take each day at a time. I’m an overthinker, and if I start obsessing over what’s happening around me, I’ll go down a rabbit hole pretty fast.

I’m not asking you to ignore current events. Nope! But as a new mom, it’s easy to get excessively overwhelmed when you start thinking about the world and whether you even made a wise decision having a child in this era. And regret is something we don’t want, especially regarding your child and family.

Reality #3: Hello Acne!

I had a slight flare-up of acne when I was in high school. It wasn’t something major, just a few breakouts that would pop up whenever they decided and disappear just as fast.

You know the perfect, healthy glowing skin that women have when they’re expectant; I had that. Pregnancy hormones were in my favor. Fast forward two years postpartum, my skin has been through the wringer.

I’d wake up to a new breakout each morning and then drive myself crazy popping the damn pimples (hello, hyperpigmentation!).

So if you’re a new mom trying to figure out what is happening to your skin, I feel you, and I’m here with a glimmer of hope that it does get better, eventually.

For me, my remedy has been a basic skin routine comprising of a mild cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. But the OG, the real MVP, has been the supplements I’m currently taking, which include Zinc, Vitamin E, Flaxseed-Primrose oil, and Vitamin C.

It’s been two weeks since I started taking the supplements, and my acne has calmed down. Plus, having a basic, simple (5 min at most) skincare routine gives my mind a break from obsessing about how to apply my skincare products and which actives to avoid mixing.

Supplements I’m taking right now.

Supplements I’m taking to help clear my acne

Here is a photo of the skincare products I’m using right now.

Morning routine

Evening routine

I use this Neutrogena Triple-Action Toner 2-3 times a week for exfoliation.

So, what’s my point exactly?

There are so many things that happen when you become a new mom. Your body goes through many changes, and just as you’re almost healed up and feeling a slight of normalcy, something happens, and you’re left thinking, “What the heck!”

I don’t think you can ever hack motherhood (I know I haven’t). And I think being a perfect mom should not be your goal. Otherwise, you’ll just be setting yourself up for failure.

So, instead of trying to be Instagram-perfect like the moms you see on social media, allow yourself to be human first. And that means you’ll make mistakes, your child will get hurt, you might yell when frustrated, and all that doesn’t make you a bad mom.

As long as you attempt to be a better human, know then you’re on the right track, Mama!

I’d love to know how your journey as a new mom has been. Please leave a comment below and share it with the rest of us.

And if you’d love to vent, share skincare routines or collaborate, feel free to email me at hello@wanjirumwangi.com.

For other tasteful blog posts about motherhood, dating, and tips on navigating the throes of parenting, here are a couple of articles to get you started.

Want to know how to raise a caring and compassionate child? Raising a Kind Child: 13 Ways to Teach Your Child about Kindness

Are you and your partner fighting more after having a child? Top 10 Relationship Issues You’ll Face after Having a Baby (Plus Practical Solutions)

Feeling unattractive after giving birth? Love Your Postpartum Body: 8 Confidence Tips for New Moms

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