Motherhood does not come with sick days.

Back in my crazy career days (working nonstop) taking a sick day was next to impossible. There have only been a few times I’ve needed to call off – thank God for those legislated sick days! But on those much needed days, I slept off whatever illness hit me and was able to take a break from reality to recoup.

But there’s one thing your doctor forgets to tell you about having a baby – motherhood does not come with sick days.

Maybe that’s why the first trimester of pregnancy is full of exhaustion? Nature knows you are going to need every second of sleep to accommodate for a life of no more sick days?

Wouldn’t it be nice for once just to say “I can’t make it to motherhood today. I’m just really sick. Please figure it out.”

For the past couple weeks I genuinely wanted to call in sick to motherhood.  And why is it when our significant other is under the weather they seemingly get to take a sick day? My only guess – the mommy gene: the inability to ever get sleep or fully relax again due to having children.

No matter how high your fever is or how many times you’ve visited your porcelain friend, the kids are still going to expect dinner and their favorite bedtime story. “Mommy, I want bites I’m hungry!” “Mommy, I want books!”. Sweet children don’t understand that standing up to get them a snack will literally take every ounce of energy out of your body and just might kill you.

But we do it.

Even when we feel like getting our kids out of bed is going to do us in, we still do it. Even when we can’t feed ourselves, we make sure the kids get more than enough. Because that’s what us moms do – CEO’s of the family never get sick days! It’s a full time job and then some to keep the house running smoothly.

It’s hard enough to take a sick day when working a full time career, but when you’re a mom, kids allow ZERO sick days (especially if they’re really little).  At least the office gives us a set number of sick days (even though we aren’t always allowed to take them). Whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom we all have one thing in common – motherhood does not come with sick days.

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Perfect Parenting

Remember those months before becoming a mom … well besides the sickness and endless trips to the bathroom … those months you thought about what kind of parent you would be.

My husband always said I would be the easy parent – always giving in to my children’s demands, a “softie”. He thought he would be the “tough dad”. I envisioned myself making homemade meals every night, doing activities with my kids, our house being organized, and working out just like I used to – I would be the “perfect parent”.

As soon as my first baby was born, my daydream of “perfect parenting” flew right out the window.

Like all new moms, I was hormonal, exhausted, and overwhelmed – not a good recipe for “perfect parenting”. Then I started second guessing every decision I made and every action I took for our new baby. As our kids get older the decisions get harder and I wonder; am I disciplining them correct? Am I saying the right things? Do I play with them enough? Am I teaching them what they need to know?

As moms we constantly feel at war with ourselves. In our own minds we can never do enough for our children. But what is “perfect parenting”?

Some people think “perfect parenting” is – staying home with your babies; pulling yourself together with full faced makeup before the kids get up; having all laundry done at all times; keeping a clean house; planning and executing specific activities with your children; having homemade meals and premade snacks; reading stories and learning all day long; getting the kids into bed without a fight; going to bed to get 8 hours of sleep.

Other people think “perfect parenting” is – working full time to provide; having a nanny or babysitter; Chapstick is the only makeup a mom needs; doing laundry once or twice a week works; making sure the kids eat something; a mom sacrificing all her needs.

Here’s the reality – there is no such thing as “perfect parenting”. “Perfect parenting” is a myth and does not exist. Even if you have the perfect day planned, there’s a really good chance your child will throw an epic tantrum or attempt to eat something they’re not supposed to. Most days motherhood is about surviving, let alone perfection. Every family has a unique situation – It’s okay for moms to work and it’s okay for moms to stay home. Only you know what is best for you and your family.

We are our biggest critics and anyone who says being a parent is a breeze and their kids are perfect is lying. Society’s unobtainable expectations are overwhelming enough, then we have veteran moms judging our every move – keep in mind anyone who expects you to be their version of “perfect parenting” needs to wake up and smell a diaper. There will be days pizza is the best you can do and moments you literally want to pull your hair out – good days and bad.

We sometimes think – I should be doing more. But the majority of the time we physically, emotionally, and mentally have already given motherhood our all – we’re already doing a stellar job. And for anyone who is bold enough to think our best isn’t good enough, is the furthest thing from “perfect parenting”.

What will my parents think?!

Remember that moment when you first found out you were expecting? For most women its a mixture of fear, excitement, and “holy crap!”.  Even as a married woman “trying to conceive”, I was still a bit horrified when my husband and I saw the plus sign on our home pregnancy test and even more appalled when my doctor confirmed the news in person, “Congratulations!”

How are we supposed to feel when we find out we are expecting a baby? Excited? Disappointed? Scared? I guess each situation requires an individual set of emotions.  Both of our pregnancies I was absolutely terrified – the second time more so because I knew what to expect.

Then there’s that moment you have to tell others: – like your parents.

Telling my parents my husband and I were expecting our first baby was literally the most embarrassing moment of my life.  When you tell your parents and family you are pregnant, it is vindication and proof that “their little girl” had sex. I’m sure my parents (like most) wanted to assume my husband and I only kissed until we got married and even after marriage, sex was obviously still out of the question – “Our Kim would never do that!” All of a sudden BOOM your parents look at you a little differently – my dad was shocked! He jumped up out of his chair and asked my husband if he had been having sex with “his daughter”. I joked, “Yes, Dad. Only once though! He talked me into it!”. My mother of course, was blissfully ecstatic.  We were lucky and both of our families were beyond thrilled which made me feel more at ease.

Isn’t that how it is supposed to be? Pure excitement and joy? Just like the pamphlets and movies make becoming pregnant seem? Maybe the pamphlets should have pictures of terrified mothers with hormonal acne trying to find something to wear to work while nine months pregnant.

Society in a way has made women in our generation feel uncomfortable with being a mother.  Our mothers and grandmothers came from the Women’s Rights Movement; passing Title IX and burning bras. They forged the way for modern moms.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of these brave women who proved females are capable of more than just having babies and getting dinner on the table – it took men long enough to realize it!  But as with all great movements there are unintended consequences.

Society now expects Mothers to birth and raise babies along with a new laundry list of other things:

  • “Why yes, I have a Bachelor’s degree …” (Have an education)
  • “Full time career, yes please!” (Working mom)
  • Sure babe, let’s have sex every night! And then I’ll rub your feet!”  (“Perfect” wife)
  • “OMG your house is so clean!” (Pristine house)
  • “I’m sure there’s a Pinterest craft for that!” (Capture every milestone)
  • “Sure, your mom can verbally punch me in goodies whenever!” (“Perfect” daughter-in-law)
  • “Now I organized your clothes by color, size, and season …” (Organization expert)
  • “Of course I washed the shirt you never put in the dirty clothes!” (Human laundry machine)
  • “Yes I sent the bills in a month early just because I am so not busy!” (Family business office manager)
  • “Where did I get this hot body? Just by breathing!” (Hot body lady 2 weeks after giving birth)
  • “No, I do not need any makeup or anything for myself! Not even food …” (Selfless mother)

AND BY THE WAY … this includes being Martha Stewart’s clone and having a healthy, homemade dinner on the table!!

When you tell your parents you are expecting, if not initially, they (hopefully) eventually will be over the moon, but remember, you have so much more on your plate (pun intended) than mothers of any other generation.

My mom used to say “You’re not the first woman to have a baby!” Well guess what … we are the first women to have babies in this technological, pessimistic world that expects us to have our lives pulled together 24/7. Its OKAY TO NOT BE PERFECT ALL THE TIME; our moms weren’t Betty Crocker every night and we can’t be either.  And there’s a pretty good chance, I won’t look like Heidi Klum after giving birth – ever. While we will make immense sacrifices for our children just like mothers before us – we are the innovators of doing it all and then some – being a Mogul Mom.

A New Generation of Moms – “Mogul Moms”

My friends have always said, “Give Kim a few drinks and send her in to teach a sex-ed class and no teenagers would be having sex!” Maybe my friends say this because of the graphic depictions of birth I’ve privied them to, or horror stories of the days after giving birth.  Usually their eyes are about to pop out of their heads as I recall birthing details – “And that’s something they should teach you in birthing class!”

As frank as I am about giving birth, I have done it twice; within 12 months and 19 days of each other.  So obviously I “forgot” about all the pain of the first round and was ready to have another – a far far cry from the truth.  Don’t mistake me, bringing a baby into the world is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most incredible moment, I get choked up just thinking about it.  I classify having my kids as the “best day(s) of my life”.  But during pregnancy, when I was ready to punch most people in the face, colleagues said to me, “Trust me, all the pain over the past 9 (really 10) months will be worth it when hold your baby for the first time.” I stood there in disbelief and with my disheveled eyes and hormonal zit ridden face protested “Yeah, I’m so sure.” They were right.

Before I met my husband I had no desire to get married let alone have any kids – “There’s no way I’m giving up my body for anything or anyone!” I was going to be a career woman because that’s the way I was raised – “I don’t need a man!” That ALL changed the day I met my husband. I am one of the lucky ones; as soon as I met him I knew we would spend our lives together. Our marriage is a sappy “love at first sight” saga that makes most people puke a little in their mouths. That day changed my outlook on life and suddenly my road to being a mom began. After a year and a half of marriage, we took the plunge and decided to try to have a baby.

I always wondered what kind of mother I would be. My husband hypothesized I would be easy on our kids and he would be the tough one (False and False). In my head I envisioned being a mom who had dinner ready on time every night, singing and rocking my babies to sleep, and of course having the smartest kids in the world. Let’s get one thing straight – no kid will read by the time they are two and there is a very slim chance despite all your planning efforts you will have an immaculate dinner ready every night.

But after having two babies and surviving some of the “stuff they never tell you about”, I am still trying to figure out what kind of mom I am. I am also still trying to find that perfect balance of being a wife and being mom. But when you’re a “mom”, suddenly there are more responsibilities around the house, not to mention most moms work full time jobs also resulting in not enough hours in the day. Even stay at home moms can find themselves overwhelmed with a multitude a new items to check off their to do list. And I would be oblivious if I didn’t mention the ever increasing pressure from society and social media to be the “perfect mom”.

Being a mom is the most important job I will ever have, even though it wasn’t in my original career or life plan. This realization brought me to the determination that being a mother in our generation isn’t as simple as being a mom – being a mother now entails being a “Mogul Mom”. We are the CEO’s of our family, whether we want to be or not; Moguls in our right. We have power to change the world, starting with our children. But every now and then our generation of Mogul Moms needs support from each other. While being a mom is the most important job, it is also, the hardest job of them all.