This motherhood thing is no joke. And I'm only three months into it! One of the challenges I've experienced already is the comparison game. It starts even in pregnancy.
Somebody else didn't drink caffeine while they were pregnant, but I did.
I feel like a bad mom already. I worry my kid will have three heads.
Now that the one-headed kid has arrived, the comparisons go through the roof. So-and-so's kid can hold his head up already. My kid can't quite do it yet. OH NO! HE'S BEHIND!! James doesn't sleep through the night yet. Johnny-sleeps-a-lot does. ACK! MY KID IS DEVELOPMENTALLY DELAYED! I read books to James about once a week, if I had to guess a frequency. It just happens when it happens. Other people have an established bed time routine including story time and such (so I'm told). Somehow I feel like not-as-good-of-a-mom because we don't have our routine all figured out just yet. Also, since we don't read books every day, I'm pretty sure he's not getting into Harvard.
In my head, I should be an expert at everything I do, including motherhood, the very first time I do it. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?
A dear friend described one of her family members like this: Her plate gets full very quickly. What that means to me is that it doesn't take a whole lot to overwhelm her. As soon as I heard her say that I realized that I'm the same way. My plate fills up pretty fast, too. If I have a doctor's appointment and a lunch date, I consider it a full day. My dear friend (MDF for short) is nothing shy of Superwoman, in my opinion. She's a wife, mother of grown children, full time employee, active church member (including small group once/week), elderly caregiver and entrepreneur. Yet MDF always makes time for lunch with me. If I have an appointment on the same day that she wants to do lunch, I'm not sure I can make it. MDF, however, will have ten different scheduled things on the day we do lunch. Somehow she still makes me feel like she has all the time in the world. I find myself comparing me to her. Why can't I juggle things like she can? This week I finally became aware of the fact that I am comparing me to her. Passing judgment on myself because I'm not MDF. I'm struggling with balancing going back to work and caring for a child. Just one child, mind you. (Mrs. Duggar would laugh at me.) MDF wouldn't have trouble juggling one child and work. But then it hit me: I'm NOT MDF. I'm me. And as such, I'm not an expert yet at the motherhood thing. Definitely not an expert at the working mom thing. It's cruelty to compare myself to anyone else, so I need to stop doing it. Just because lots of other people have more complicated lives, it doesn't make my life a cake walk. This is hard TO ME. And that's okay. Acknowledge and move forward. I'm choosing to quit spinning my wheels in the "but other people can juggle more things than I can" mud.
So today I'm breathing a bit easier, allowing myself a little grace. My house is messy. The toilet is some kind of color that it hasn't been in my whole married life. The pile of mail on the table has stuff from June in it. But I do have a very happy, healthy baby boy. I have a husband that is in the trenches with me, not behind enemy lines hurling accusations at me. I have a gracious mother who is providing childcare for us so I can work. I have two fuzz-butts (what my dad calls my cats) that don't really pitch in and help around the house, but they do improve the quality of my life. There's much for which to be grateful. With all this new-found free time since I'm not wasting time comparing myself to others, who KNOWS what I can accomplish!
ps.-- This article on babycenter.com addresses some of what I was talking about. Apparently I'm like a lot of other moms in my comparison-tendencies. Good to know...