Since Nid was born, I have done everything in my power to be the perfect mom to her. For someone who has never held a baby until her own was born, being a perfect mom has been a struggle and required a lot of extra effort every day.
Many people in my circle know that I don’t like children and even after having my own, that hasn’t changed. I don’t know what it is, I never liked children before and even now I find them annoying. I mean now that Nid is getting older, I definitely enjoy her company more but when she was younger I had no clue with what to do with her. I’m not one of those women that can sit there and play with a baby and go goo gaga all over them, that’s just not me and it never was.
Don’t get me wrong it doesn’t mean that I didn’t or don’t show her love and affection because I do. I just never had the tolerance to sit there and play and pretend to enjoy playing with her, that was her dad’s job. Me and her do other fun things together, like baking, art, crafts, mother-daughter spa days or movie nights.
But the fact of the matter is that I have always tried to be that perfect mom we read about in books and magazines. I try to make sure the house was clean, she always had a snack or food to eat, had clean nice clothes to wear, was learning. Pretty much, I took care of her in every which way possible and always attended to her needs.
However, us moms put so much effort into being that perfect mom because TV, social media, movies and magazines portray moms as these superwomen that can be and do all. My own mother was one of those superwomen; there is not a damn thing she didn’t do for us or her husband and I’m thankful for all she did. Now, when I look at her and think back about growing up, I wonder if my perfect, superwoman mother was happy or not.
Moms put so much emotion and energy into making sure their family and home are well-taken care of that they forget to take care of their own wellbeing and happiness; always putting everyone else’s needs before their own. Ten years ago, my mother would never admit that she wasn’t happy. But the more I get to know her and have confidential conversations with her after becoming an adult, the more I realize she hasn’t truly been happy for a long time. Yes, seeing her children succeed, get married, have families of their own brought her happiness as a mother but as a human being was she happy within herself? I don’t believe so.
I think many women forget that while being the perfect mother, you also need to be happy as a human being. If you’re not happy as a person you could do anything in the world to be the perfect mom and your child will not grow up feeling loved, cared for or happy because your emotional turmoil with yourself will reflect on your children. They will feel the pressure of your unhappiness and it will effect them in the long-run.
I realized that maybe a year or two ago when I took a step back, looked at myself and realized that I was doing everything I should as a mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend. The only thing was I couldn’t see happiness on Nid’s face while doing everything I should be doing for her. She was acting out, getting in way more trouble, having tantrums and not listening when I asked her to do something. The reality was that she was not happy because I was not happy. My depression, anger and anxiety was wearing off on my child and you could clearly see it. Although, we laughed and had fun, as a child, she was not happy.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that my daughter doesn’t need a perfect mom or a perfect home. What she needs is a happy mom and a happy place to come home to; where love was ample and happiness reflected in everything around her.
A year ago, I began this journey of finding myself and working on making myself happy. At times that means I am choosing myself over everyone and everything else. It means I am being a little selfish when it comes to my mental, physical and spiritual health. It means I am working on making sure I am happy as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend but more importantly as a person. It has been a struggle to put my needs first and I am very slowly crawling towards prioritizing myself first but I’m getting there. Slowly but surely. And it shows when I look at Nid and how she behaves. I know I still have a lot more work to do to get to where I should be but any progress forward is good progress.
It’s simple; choose you first because if you’re not happy as a person, then you’ll never be happy playing all the roles you play in the lives of others.