I was sure I knew exactly the kind of mom I'd be. I'd be kind but firm, innovative, attentive, and fun. My daughter would be brilliant, athletic (okay, that one was always a bit of a stretch), and impeccably behaved. She'd walk early, talk early, sleep through the night early; we'd sign, we'd play, we'd go on outings. She'd love me and respect me and appreciate how awesomesauce I was at this whole mom gig. And I wouldn't ever brag. I'd be totally gracious about how perfect we were.
Here I am now with a 9 month old who doesn't sleep and who has now begun to throw temper tantrums. (Does that count as an early milestone?) She eats cheerios with every meal. We have no consistent nap schedule. She doesn't sign. She has a giant bruise on her face from an unfortunate incident with the coffee table.
But she's a great baby. Don't get me wrong. She's beautiful, she's funny, she's pleasant, and she loves me like crazy. She's healthy, she's growing, she's hitting all her milestones within the average range (although not early. Oh no. It's okay baby, mom's a klutz too). I'm not in the least disappointed with her.
Me on the other hand?
I've always been good at things. I was a straight A student. Usually I didn't have to try too hard, but when I had to? I did. Am I trying hard enough at this mom thing? Am I just incompetent at it? Why is it so hard?
I whine too much. I tweet too much. I forget to sign. I don't try enough new foods. I don't read enough books. I don't keep the house clean enough. (That Cheerio on the floor? Not for eating, Baby Girl. Not for eating.) I don't cuddle enough. I cuddle too much. I need to sleep train. I shouldn't think about sleep training.
I am not a star at this.
And I know other people struggle too. Although, not everyone, right? Some people are brilliant at it. So why am I not? It's so conceited of me, but I assumed I wouldn't just be AS good at this as all the other moms. I assumed I'd be better. I'm not even on the low end of average, people.
Probably it's good for me. Probably it's good for both of us. Hopefully, Baby Girl will turn out okay despite all my failings, and she'll have a mom who can tell her, it's okay not to always be perfect. It's okay to lose sometimes.
And, y'know, really mean it. Not just say it because I'm being gracious.