When my first son was born in 2003, I wanted everything to be just “perfect.” We all have that ideal, after all. With Josh, I did have a perfect pregnancy, I must admit (sorry for all of you who suffered during your pregnancies, really I am). I never experienced morning sickness—which, given what I do for a living, was a major blessing. Even my labor was perfect. I didn’t really feel pain and didn’t go to the hospital until I was about 7 centimeters dilated. My doctor said had I waited any longer, I would have missed out on the epidural, God forbid!
However, that’s where perfect ended. My baby’s heart rate started to seriously drop on the monitor... I pushed. Nothing. Then my doctor said, “It’s time to go in the operating room.”
This was my first wakeup call to being a parent. I realized that all those images of “perfect” dancing in my head would need to undergo some serious re-evaluation. I am very far from being a perfect mom. In fact, I suffer from severe mom guilt, as so many of you do, when I work too much or overschedule myself, keeping me from spending quality time with my children. And although mom guilt is by no means a Latina thing, anyone who grew up in a Latin family knows that Mom does it all: supreme comforter, caregiver and provider. I am a work-in-progress mom, and as much as I try to do it all, I also end up doing way too much. Some days I’m pretty good at being almost perfect, in fact. But most days I’m not, and I go to bed feeling guilty and hoping tomorrow will be a better day.
Can you tell that I’m plagued by perfection? Aren’t we all? It’s time to get over it and accept we are flawed—we are human...[but] Mommy always makes a good dinner and gives them the hugs they need when they are sick or have a boo-boo. I know what I’m good at now—and I strive every day to be a little bit better than the day before. Maybe I’m still chasing perfection, my inner demon. But I’m learning.
To read the full Modern Mami column, pick up the March issue of Latina, on newsstands now. Want to ask Natalie a question? Go to latina.com/asknatalie!