February 23, 2021  |  Published by

I want to paint a picture of idealism vs. reality and motherhood. I know anyone who has children, whether you have one or five kids, knows that there is a big difference between what you want to do as a mom and what you actually do. Even though I consider myself a modern mother and working woman, I somehow automatically revert to June Cleaver status occasionally when it comes to how I view myself and my capabilities of being a mom.

This was just as true when I envisioned having my second daughter recently. For months leading up to my maternity leave, I excitedly scrolled through Pinterest with dreams of picture perfect baking ventures, DIY mom hacks to try, and workouts to get in between naps (because I would be so refreshed and ready to exercise after a C-section). I envisioned a 12 week vacation with a sprinkle of breastfeeding and changing diapers, which is ironic considering this was not my first baby. I knew what having a newborn was like, and yet I convinced myself that I could do it all without fail.

Well, let me tell you (with what I am sure is no surprise to all) that my maternity leave was nothing short of surviving each day with hair not falling out. My visions of baking fresh homemade bread and doing yoga each morning was replaced with eating a bag of Sun Chips for lunch while breastfeeding and watching Netflix in my robe. I am now an expert on many subjects thanks to streaming channels. I can tell you the realities of recycling, the scandals behind big businesses, and even remind you why Joey chose Pacey on Dawson's Creek. I pride myself on my newly refined palette of evolving from Schitt's Creek to The Crown. I did become a real pro on DIY quick meals, and by that I mean eat-your-food-quickly-before-the-baby-notices-you-are-gone-and-starts-screaming-her-head-off. Such a magical 12 weeks.

All joking aside, I found myself longing to be at work where I felt purpose, success, and some sort of autonomy. I was having a daily guilt fest for not living up to what I thought I was capable of. I was already a mom... I should have this figured out! I should be able to multi-task and be perfect. I should be able to make a meal and eat it with my family while keeping the baby content. I was convinced each morning that I would be able to conquer the world that day and produce results.

I realized, unfortunately close to the end of my leave, that I had done some amazing things in my time spent at home. I continued to grow a little person, fed her, bathed her, and helped her explore the new world. I did this all while recovering from major surgery and raising a seven year old with homework that I don't know how to do. I had to reflect and admit that moms are way too hard on themselves and I am guilty party number one. The pressure to be Pinterest perfect is real and I got sucked in with the best of them. I look back now and pat myself on the back for how far I have come. I can now take a shower and brush my teeth before 8:00am and get laundry done in two days vs. six days. So, as they would say in the Pinterest world, this mom gig-nailed it!

Ruth and her newborn, Harlow
Ruth and her newborn, Harlow
Ruth Ray
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