“Having it all” and other Motherhood Myths


People say art imitates life. Our preconceived notions of ourselves, our relationships, our lives, are often a result of the culture that we consume. I was never naive enough to believe that motherhood would be a series of precious, joyful moments, scored by a soundtrack of Bon Iver during the quiet, tender moments. But I had secretly hoped that my experience would be.

I was going to be the mom that “had it all.” I was going to make it work and make precious, wonderful moments that we would all look back on fondly, dammit!

I held the belief that motherhood was, when boiled down to brass tacks, another project. Something to tackle, to conquer, to be the best at. I was in total competition mode, with no one other than myself and the notion of what I was supposed to be doing.

I’ve got a history of anxiety, and I sweat not only the big stuff but also the small stuff. And the teeny-tiny stuff, and even (when I can find the time) the itty-bitty stuff. It’s exhausting and overwhelming. It’s like being in a beautiful meadow and instead of experiencing the wind, sunshine and listening to the birds, I’m waiting for the giant bear to come running out of the woods (woods that aren’t anywhere near the meadow in this analogy, BTW). It’s exhausting. Inventing and categorizing every single tragic scenario possible, and waiting for it to materialize.

In the 9 months I’ve been a mother, I’ve wondered what would happen if there were no experts to tell us how to put our baby to sleep or when they should be talking and walking. What if we didn’t judge ourselves against averages and instead focused on trusting we were already equipped to raise happy, healthy, confident children? What would happen in addition to trusting our own way to parent, we also gave ourselves a bit of grace for not living up to preconceived notions. What if we let go of all that guilt and “should’s.”

I’d love to have an answer for these questions. But I don’t.

In partnering with Baby Dove, now available at Target, and their #RealMoms campaign, I wanted to find a way to share those moments when we felt totally empowered in our imperfections and trust for ourselves. My methods are different from my peers and friends, but we all share in those moments where our best intentions were met with a child who had another idea.

In these moments, where nothing seems to go as planned, I’ve been trying to be kind to myself; stand back and have a sense of humor about it all. I’m not going to lie and say that since employing this technique, things have been perfect, but they have been getting better.

What has helped me gain some perspective, is one of the best pieces of advice on motherhood, that I read in a book about writing:

“E.L. Doctorow once said that, ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Trust that your headlights will guide you in the right direction. Day by day. Sometimes, hour by hour (or minute by minute those really bad nights). Take a deep breath. You got this.

What are some of your #RealMoms moments? The ones that didn’t go the way you thought they would, but turned out great?

I was so inspired by Baby Dove’s brand video, and the #RealMoms campaign, I wanted to share with you a behind-the-scenes video of my life as a mom. Enjoy!

Ed. note: This post was sponsored by Baby Dove. The compensation received in exchange for placement on Wit & Delight is used to purchase props, hire a photographer, write/edit the blog post and support the larger team behind Wit & Delight.

While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow for the development of additional dynamic content to be produced, unsponsored. Thank you for supporting our partners!

BY Kate Arends - April 24, 2017

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I find that most Moms feel bad about their parenting styles, which they definitely shouldn’t. You know your child the best and no one can say otherwise.

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

April 24, 2017 2:05 pm

Such a lovely video, you are clearly a wonderful mom (doubts, anxieties, and all). xo.

Joanna Cendrowski
April 26, 2017 10:22 pm

This is probably my favorite piece you’ve written, and I don’t even have kids to relate to this. But your analogy for anxiety is so incredibly spot on and accurate, and that quote from Bird by Bird. Nailed it. Thanks for sharing!

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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.

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