Perfectly Imperfect

Often, my clients dismiss my attempts to "normalize" their emotional frustrations in parenting as "just doing your job- saying what you think I want to hear", and not in fact representative of "real" moms- those who never feel angry at their children, never feel inadequate as caretakers, who seem to make it all look easy. They don't believe me when I tell them they are not alone in their feelings.

One of my colleagues from medical school (who is a successful pediatrician and a new mom) recently disclosed on facebook her own challenges as a parent, tired of trying to maintain an image of perfection. Responses flooded in: praise, understanding, compassion....and above all a shared experience of having felt exactly the same way...

Here it is ( thanks Diane Arnaout for the post, and allowing me to share it), and feel free to chuckle.

Rant: I feel like the internet mothering culture is misleading and very hard on new moms. The internet is a marvel of easily sought and easily found information, but I see the pressure moms feel everyday in my office. The kleenex boxes have to be replaced weekly. We paint ourselves and our lives as perfect online. Perfect, easily breastfed babies in perfect outfits; mothers who never have tears or breakdowns. Mistakes never made. Souffles perfectly risen. Clean house. 3 hours a day to write the perfect blog or facebook post. Judgement on internet mothering boards for those who dont breastfeed for 2 years, or eat organic, or make their own baby food.

Well as a pediatrician and a mom let me be the first to let you know - two days ago my kid rolled himself off the bed and bonked his head on the floor when I turned my back for 5 seconds. And sometimes I let him watch baby einstein videos on youtube just to get him to quit freaking out for 20 minutes so I can make dinner. Most days, his outfit color scheme is ridiculous (if he is wearing pants, it has been a successful day). I'm pretty sure there's some dried up three-day-old barf on the exersaucer. The squeezy pureed food packets taste way better than my homemade food and I dont blame him for wanting to eat 2 of those rather than one spoonful of mine. I don't wear my baby on my hip - it makes my back hurt and frankly I dont want my kid to be in my face all day. I like going to work and I like being at home with him and finding a balance has been a struggle. Breastfeeding was extremely hard for Jack and I, and my body shut down after 6 months. He poops in the tub sometimes. I let him eat the mail. My house is a primary-color disaster zone. My kid has grabbed my cat's anus many times.

Go easy on yourselves, moms. No one is perfect, not even your pediatrician. But you're the perfect mother for your kid.

*steps off soapbox*

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