When my middle son was born, I went into our then pediatrician's office assuming she could see I was clearly frazzled.
I had a 12-month old and a two-month old. She probably thought I was out of my mind.
I remember her telling me: "No one has this mother thing figured out, not the doctors, not the experts. Don't beat yourself up about it. Just be a great mom 95% of the time and a good mom the other 5%."
I felt the bright heavenly lights shine down upon me, and a wave of tears streaming down my face.
Well, if we're being honest, it was just the harsh doctor's lighting, and a tiny amount of baby pee from a diaper change gone wrong.
Now that I had what I felt was the holy grail of mommy hood advice, what did it mean? and what the heck do I do the other 5% of the time?
I think especially with your first, you want everything to be perfect. You hold your breath for every hiccup, and cry. They cannot even talk yet, and they make you feel as if everything you have learned thus far means absolutely nothing. Then by your third or fourth you see them eat dirt, and you only feel bad if another parent also sees it, because then you feel judged.
The fact is, even that mom you hold on a pedestal has an off day. We need to lighten up on ourselves. Yes, of course you should strive to be the best person, and mom you can be, but you should not focus on doing it perfectly.
Here are a few things you can do the other 5% of the time.
1. Save the last candy bar for yourself.
Oh, were you already doing that? I see you waiting til they are occupied to hide behind the counter and indulge on that caramely goodness. Even though you just told your kids there were no chocolate bars left. I see you, and I high five you. You are doing it right and we are soul sistas.
2. Say yes.
Don't you ever get tired of saying " No " all the time? It's never too late to restart your day. There have been mornings where we are three hours into the day and I have already cried twice. On those days, I try to refocus and take back the day. Take them for donuts, do a fun craft. Not rewarding for bad behavior, but redirecting everyone's emotions. Some of those days have ended up being my favorites.
3. Say no.
Wait, am I being indecisive again? Hear me out. Some days you won't feel like being that Martha Stewart mom of the year. Some days your kids will be perfectly adorable and you will still need a break. We often spread ourselves too thin. Don't be afraid to say no to things. You do not have to do it all.
4. Do something a bit selfish.
While I would love to spoil myself with a monthly spa day, for my life, that simply is not realistic. Maybe this fits into yours. Maybe you take fifteen minutes to grab a cup of coffee you won't have to reheat 1,000 times. Maybe you buy that nail polish you've had your eye on. Maybe you read a few chapters in that book collecting dust. It doesn't have to be expensive or lavish, but don't give up things that make you happy.
5. Use your kid as an excuse to do the things you want to do.
Does Mac and cheese sound fabulous? Do you just want to jump on the bed and dance like a fool? None of these things bother kids. They are still so fresh and innocent that these things are acceptable to a perfect day. Oh and on the flip side, if there's an office party you want to get out of, or a dinner you don't want to go to, kids are also great for that. Yes I said it. Yes you've all done it.
6. Designate PJ days
I love getting dressed up with the best of them, but some days I just want to sit my booty on the couch and watch endless movies. If you tell your kids they don't have to get dressed in real clothes, you will be a hero. Blanket forts, and popcorn never hurt anybody.
7. Give your kids quiet time.
Let the tv babysit for a bit. Or, have something small planned, like coloring or having them read quietly. It's good for them to learn to be by themselves. It's also good for mama to get a break. Whatever we can get to stay sane.
So, when you think everyone else has it all figured out, think again. We are all in this crazy club together. And when you see me at Sam's club letting my kids have samples for dinner, because I'm too lazy to cook, just wave, and smile, and know I'm using my 5%.
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