My husband and I are big on learning new things. He’s a teacher and I’m a librarian, so we naturally gravitate toward the acquiring and sharing of ideas and information. We’ve spent the last year or so learning a lot about the power of positive thinking, of having a vision and a purpose, and of intentionally setting the tone for our lives. We’ve read some great books like “Abundance Unleashed” by Christian Mickelsen and “Poverty, Riches, and Wealth” by Kris Vallotton that have inspired us to aim high and step into our best selves as we set out to create our best lives together. But today, I need to take a little break from the positivity of my best self and tell you what’s really going on.

Today, I need you to know that I’m just trying to get through the day.

You see, I have a 5-day old newborn at home, a second child I hoped and prayed for over the course of several years. It’s a blessing beyond belief, but, as I’m sure you know, having a newborn is no walk in the park, especially when you are still recovering from delivery yourself. To put it bluntly, my nether regions are a bloody, war-torn mess. The furniture is covered in waterproof pads in case someone has an accident. Will it be me or the baby? Who knows? Either way, it isn’t pretty, because sometimes motherhood is mesh panties and hospital grade maxi pads.

Don’t even get me started on my appearance. Let’s just say it’s lucky for everyone involved that I have a winning personality. I have managed to shower each day since leaving the hospital, but my feet are so puffy, they look like they belong to a woodland ogre, and suds have not touched my hair for what seems like four score and seven years. Sometimes motherhood is swollen Shrek feet and dry shampoo.

Breastfeeding isn’t going that well this time around either. Apparently, my right nipple is as flat as a pancake, if pancakes cracked and bled and made you cry out in excruciating pain every couple of hours. We’re working to find a way to successfully continue breastfeeding, but right now, we’re using pumped milk and supplementing with formula in the meantime. Sometimes motherhood is nipple shields and things not going according to plan.

I also have a 5-year-old kindergartener. I’d love it if she ate a well-balanced dinner tonight—perhaps some lean protein with a heaping serving of green veggies on the side, capped off by a nutritious bowl of bright, ripe strawberries for dessert. But sometimes motherhood is ordering apple slices in the Happy Meal and hoping for the best.

Yes, sometimes motherhood is sunshine-filled trips to Disney, sweetly whispered I love yous, and warm bedtime snuggles. But it’s also mesh panties and McDonald’s. 

It’s crying in your car, in the bathroom, in the pediatrician’s office. It’s not knowing what to do next, but putting one foot in front of the other anyway—hoping you’ll look back on this in a year and laugh but wondering how you’ll ever get to that point.

Until then, mamas, I’m adding a milkshake for myself to that McDonald’s order and sipping it contentedly on my freshly covered couch, resting in the knowledge that I can always go back to being my best self tomorrow . . . 

You may also like:

Dear New Mom, You’re Killing It

To the Mom in the Trenches: Your Time is Coming

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Leah Baacke

Leah is a mom, librarian, and blogger living and writing in the Tampa Bay, FL, area. Visit her blog, The Open Book Mama, for her hilarious musings on motherhood, reading recommendations for you and your kids, and more!