I have noticed that as women we seem to always be apologizing. It’s almost as if “I’m sorry” is just our default answer when we don’t meet the expectations of others. Maybe this isn’t your case, but I know this is the case for so many women.
We’re sorry we can’t fit everything in our schedules. We’re sorry we can’t fix everyone’s problems. We’re sorry we didn’t do everything perfect.
Motherhood changes you. I mean OBVIOUSLY. The moment you become a mom life as you know it ends. You are rebirthed! Becoming a mother has truly shifted my entire life, inside and out. It has made me a stronger person than I have ever been before. It has also shifted my mindset. My priorities, and the things that I once worried or cared about have completely changed.
If I’m being honest those first few months of parenthood are no cakewalk, and as a mother and a wife it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning. I am not about to sit here and tell you that I didn’t try to be Stepford mom the first few weeks home with the baby…. but I think we all try that.
I remember saying to my husband that if I was home with the baby I promised to keep the house spotless and food ready for him when he walked through the door. Anyone have a time machine so I can go back in time and laugh in my face?
Everyday is completely out of my control. Some days my daughter is happy to play on her own and entertain herself, others she needs my constant attention. Some days I’m able to get the house squeaky clean and dinner on the table, other days it looks like a bomb went off and I’m begging my husband to pick up takeout. This is life now.
I decided to really look at all the positive aspects of this new life. First I have THE most amazing baby ever… at least I personally think so! I feel so complete when I look into her beautiful blue eyes. If I feel so whole when I’m with my daughter, how can any part of me be missing right? She is my number one priority and she is such a happy girl, so I know in my heart I am doing a good job, even on days when it may not feel like it. Even on days when the house is a mess, dinner is nowhere near ready, and i feel like I have a million things to apologize for not getting done.
When you come from a place of positivity it is easy to let go of a lot of worries. It also helps that you don’t have the energy for all that worrying thanks to your new mom schedule! When I’m not stressed about all those things I’m a more present mother and wife.
So you know what, I decided that I’m happier when I let go of all those things society may tell me to be sorry about. I’m not sorry, because the time I used to use to accomplish these things is now spent being the best mama I can be.
Without further adieu, here is what I no longer apologize for, and you shouldn’t either:
- Bless this mess! My house has literally NEVER been at the level of untidy as it is currently. After several drop ins (anyone else hate this? Seems to come with the territory of having a baby) and several apologies for my messy home I just decided I don’t care. If the cleanliness of my home reflects my life and who I am, here is what it reflects: the dishes in the sink reflect the meals I’ve made for my husband and baby to keep them nourished. The piles of laundry that I’ve folded but haven’t been put away reflect the time I’ve been away at work to help support my family. The dust bunnies in the corners of the rooms reflect the snuggles I have given, books I have read, and precious time I have given to my daughter instead of sweeping. Will my daughter remember the extra piles of laundry, the fact that I couldn’t get to the dishes until she was asleep, or that there was a little extra dust on my shelves? Nope! But she will remember all the time I spent playing and bonding with her! After all, that’s all I remember from my childhood!
- Saying no to plans: before my baby I felt the need to say yes to every single plan a friend or family member would throw my way. Last minute plans to go to a winery… um yes count me in! Sure, I’d be at your party, after working at the farm stand and rushing to a quick dinner with someone I haven’t seen in forever! Well, no I am so so so happy to use the word “no”. No I won’t be attending that party because if my child doesn’t get to bed by 7, I’m paying for it tomorrow morning when she wakes up at 5 am instead of 7 am! Nope, I can’t make it to that dinner because I am so exhausted from all the other things piled on my plate that I actually need 2 hours on couch to watch mindless TV in between my child’s bedtime and my own. I’m not even a little sorry about this one. Yes on one hand I’m sad that I can’t fly by the seat of my pants anymore and say yes to every last minute plan thrown my way… but on the other hand, if I can squeeze in an hour to actually sit down with a glass of wine by myself I’m taking it! It’s not that I won’t miss the company of good friends and family, it’s just that some days I’m not sure when I’ll actually get to be ALONE. If I have that chance, mama is gonna pick that over overstimulation any day and there is no way I’m feeling sorry for it!
- How I choose to parent. This one is SO important for all of us to hear. It’s 2019, and we all know that everyone is different and that’s what makes this world beautiful! My whole life I’ve heard “there is no one exactly like you and that’s why you’re special!” This is absolutely true for everyone! So how in the hell can we expect everyone to do things the way we do them? I’ve only been a mom for 6 months, and the amount of mom shaming I have witnessed is astounding! How can we spread a message that our differences make us beautiful, and then turn around and talk behind some moms back because she didn’t breastfeed her baby? Oh you never let your child have screen time because of that study you read on Facebook? That’s great, but don’t turn around and point your finger at the mother who needs her hands free for 30 minutes while she tries to cook dinner for her family and has no one to hold her screaming toddler! We all read the books Karen, and you know what I learned? Every freaking psychologist has a different theory of how we should raise our children and they all think they’re right! You know the truth? Every mother is different, every child is different, every family is different. What works for one probably won’t work for another! I started my child on Whole Foods and skipped the cereal and had more than one person judge me. Do you mamas! My kid was stealing sweet potatoes off my plate, so I chose to give her the damn sweet potatoes (dr approved of course), and she was ecstatic! If you choose to start with cereal I think that’s great! Neither one way or the other is better. It’s just different! I’m choosing to raise my child with the “respectful parenting” method. I already try to explain to my daughter everything we are doing. When I change her diaper I explain to her “I’m going to change your diaper now”, if I put her down I say “ok, I’m putting you down for a few minutes, I understand you’re upset, but Mommy has to clean up and then I’ll pick you back up!” Yes she’s 6 months old, and YES I have been told she doesn’t understand and this is ridiculous. At the end of the day this feels right to me and I refuse to say sorry for it! If you do it completely differently that’s amazing and I think you’re doing the best for you and your children too! Our differences are what make us beautiful remember?
- My appearance. Shower…. that’s that thing in the bathroom that sprays water out of the wall right? Yes I remember it fondly! Just kidding. I do shower, but is it everyday? Show me one mom that says she hasn’t missed a shower in a year and I will give her a medal. Now that my daughter’s naps are on a schedule this little luxury has finally started coming back into my life, but there are some days it still doesn’t happen. Make up? I mean I use mascara! That’s about all the time I usually have to do it. Shampoo? Yeah I use that about once a week! Dry shampoo is a mamas new best friend am I right? I have literally caught myself going to the store looking like I rolled out of bed, and I only noticed when I caught my reflection in the door on the way out. I could spend more time on my appearance, but when the trade off is time with my child, or attempting to cross a chore off my never ending list, I’m gonna pick one of those.
- Not replying to your texts or calls. Hey remember that time when no one had cell phones? Remember when texting wasn’t unlimited, and you had to wait for the weekend or after 7 to call your friends? Remember when the way you contacted your friends was AIM and if you put an away message up no one cared if u didn’t respond for hours?! Yeah those were the good old days! Now people feel totally ok with calling your cell phone ten times until you pick up, or texting you “hello?!?!?!” if you haven’t responded in two seconds. I am guilty myself, trust me! How sad is it that we have become a culture of now? We can’t even give the people we love some space to be away from their phones or computers? We need them to answer us the second we text them! Well, one thing I consider a blessing is how much time away I spend from my phone now that I’m a mom. I don’t want my daughter to see me on my phone. I want her to have a mom who is present when she is present. So unless I’m taking a photo of her I try to keep my cellphone in the other room. So if you text me or call me 10 times and it took me hours to answer that’s why. Sometimes I look at your texts, and then she wakes from her nap or needs me to remove her from her playpen because she’s overstimulated. Yup, I of course forget to reply. Sometimes it takes me days to remember! I’m not gonna apologize for choosing my child over my phone and neither should you! No one is going to die if you don’t answer their text immediately, and if it’s an emergency they should probably call 911 not you. Never apologize for being present, because that is a gift.
- Taking time for myself. You bet your bottom dollar that I’m taking a few minutes a day for myself. At least I try to! No I’m not taking hours and hours on end to go to the spa, or have my nails done. I’m taking 20-30 minutes a day to keep myself sane. This may consist of a workout, a walk, sitting outside with my dog and a cup of coffee, reading a book, or watching Bravo on tv until my mind melts. I NEED this time. As moms and wives we are constantly doing things for everyone else. My life is literally all about helping my daughter learn and grow. It’s my favorite job, but I can’t help her feel like her needs are being fully met if I don’t also meet my own. What kind of mom and wife would I be if I was resentful and cranky because I didn’t allow myself 30 freaking minutes to decompress? I know I’m a better mom and wife when I give myself even just this tiny amount of time in my day to make myself happy. If you’re not doing this you need to! It will make your day that much better. After all, we can’t pour from an empty cup!
- Being myself. I honestly never really apologized for this, but I did sometimes feel guilty. When I was in the first grade, my parents attended parent teacher conference day and were told that their daughter was a daydreamer. That I spent more time daydreaming and up in the clouds than I did paying attention to class and to others. She also told my parents to never try to change that because it was special. Well people, nothing has changed! That’s not to say that I don’t work really hard, and focus when I’m at work or home trying to accomplish my goals. However, I tend to say things that are in my head without thinking it through, do really spacey things, forget what I’m doing at any given moment, cannot control my facial expressions AT ALL (if I’m thinking it but not saying it… my face is). This is who I am. I’m not malicious, and I of course always feel bad when someone doesn’t understand me, but I never mean to hurt or harm anyone. I’m just up in the clouds! It took me 30 years, but you know what I’m proud of who I am and I’m no longer apologizing. I’m a dreamer, and sometimes that doesn’t compute with people who’s feet are firmly planted on the ground. This is me and I’m not changing. Never apologize for who you are. Your people, your tribe, your family will get you. The people who don’t, they aren’t for you and that’s ok! If we all realized this I think the world would get along so much better! Let’s accept and celebrate our differences. You are exactly the person you were meant to be. Never say sorry for that.
There is so much freedom when we give up apologizing for everything. I’m not telling you to never say sorry. I will always apologize for hurting someone’s feelings, for letting someone down, or for messing up. Just remember that to live life to the fullest may mean giving up some chores, missing some phone calls, taking 20 minutes to chill out, skipping a shower, saying no to plans, and leaning into who you are!
Let’s spend less time apologizing for who we are mamas and more time celebrating ourselves, each other, and all the ways that make us unique and special! You’re doing an amazing job mama! Never apologize for it.