Menu

Mama, it's impossible to be good at *everything*—but you will excel at things that truly matter

So to the new mom who feels like she's failing at motherhood—I get it.

Mama, it's impossible to be good at *everything*—but you will excel at things that truly matter

I'll be honest—I'm used to being good at things. I was always top of my class, got the scholarships, won the prizes. I'm used to excelling and having things come naturally to me. I think I always assumed motherhood would be the same way. My baby would sleep at night. He'd breastfeed easily. I'd love every single second I spent with him. He'd read at age two. Maybe he'd skip a few grades in school... You get the idea.


And the reality: motherhood has rocked my world! (Surprise!)

Especially life as a newborn mom. My oldest is six now, but I still remember those early months and years vividly. Breastfeeding was an enormous struggle for us. I had trouble bonding with my son—possibly because he only slept six hours a day and screamed the other 18 hours. (Colic is no joke!) I struggled with postpartum depression. And in general, I struggled to find fulfillment in my new day-to-day life. I was bored; and yet I was the busiest I'd ever been.

FEATURED VIDEO

Even as my son entered the toddler years, I still found myself struggling to feel secure and fulfilled as a parent. My son didn't sleep through the night, not even once, until he was one. (And I swear all my friends' babies had slept through the night once they were six weeks old!)

He walked later than other kids I knew. His speech was later than what is "typical." He seems to hate healthy foods. He threw some epic tantrums. I never thought potty-training would work. He was the mean kid on the playground a time or two. Honestly, I found it some of it embarrassing and was insecure about it all. I felt like everyone else was a much better mom than I was, and I just wasn't cut out for it.

Fast forward to now: I now have three kids, ages six, four, and 18 months. My perspective is 100% different. I feel so much more comfortable now, with some experience, owning my strengths as a mom. And I am So. Much. Happier.

I think I'll always be the mom that is completely overwhelmed with a newborn. I've struggled with postpartum depression after every birth. Breastfeeding has been hard for me every time. So yeah, newborn life is rough for me.

But guess what? That's okay! Turns out I'm pretty great at parenting older kids. Once my kids turn four, something magical happens and I find so much fulfillment and joy from being their mom. I have friends who are just the opposite. And that's okay too!

And when I go to my friend's house and her son is reading at age two (seriously!), her house is always clean, and her kids have never seen a screen a day in their life—I don't feel any worse about myself. Sure I'm terrible at all those things, but I'm good at other aspects of parenting and I truly believe I'm the exact right mom for my kids.

Some of my parenting strengths include having a very close friendship with my kids, fostering creativity in our home, modeling independence, teaching music from a young age, planning meaningful family trips and activities, and instilling a strong work ethic. So it's okay that I'm not the mom that throws epic birthday parties, can play blocks for two hours with a toddler, or who always has dinner on the table right at 5:00.

Also, I don't blame myself for the struggles my kids have like I used to.

For example, my parenting style hasn't changed much, but my second son never really threw epic grocery store tantrums like my oldest did. My parenting isn't to blame for everything—both the good and the bad. My kids are unique people with their own strengths and weaknesses, and not everything they do is a reflection of my parenting.

My oldest son who I felt was a late reader, is now the top reader in his class. He plows through chapter books like nobody's business. He eventually learned to sleep through the night, potty trained, stopped hitting other kids at the park, and though he still won't touch a vegetable, all-in-all he's turned into a pretty fantastic, smart, kind, wonderful kid.

So to the new mom who feels like she's failing at motherhood—I get it. I've been there! But I promise: things change. Your perspective changes. You'll find the things you thrive at as a mother. You won't be good at everything, but you'll be good at the things that matter to your child. And that's what's important.

You might also like:

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

Keep reading Show less
News