New Motherhood, Pink Eye and the Pursuit of Perfection

Bears can do it, why can't you?

There’s this golden period in motherhood. It’s the time right before you give birth to your first child. You feel connected to the sacred league of mothers, minus the final push and you’re sure you have it all figured out. The battle cry of soon-to-be moms is “I would never do that.”

You could have convinced me to get my Never Manifesto tattooed on my lower back, because I was positively going to stick by it. I swore up and down that I would make everyone later themselves in sanitizer before touching my baby, including myself.

I went to the evil, mom-shaming hell hole that is Pinterest and found adorable ideas like little bottles of hand sanitizer that said “Thank you for cleaning your hands, I’m ready to be snuggled.” So cute. I stocked up like I was preparing for the 2009 H1N1 scare.

Then my baby was born. 7 pounds, 13 ounces of pure love and joy. I could practically see the germs leaping onto her. I hunkered down, ready to squirt hand sanitizer at anyone who came near. But, somewhere between the 1 millionth 3 AM diaper change and screaming fit I stopped caring what was on my hands.

I wiped all manner of bodily fluids on my shirt, my bed, my hair. What did it matter? Everything was dirty and I was convinced it would remain that way in perpetuity. My Never Manifesto was shrinking fast. I was mentally reviewing all the ways I had failed as a new mom when I realized my eye felt like sand paper.

I went to take out my contacts and there it was. Red, puffy, and full of crap. It was like some metaphorical mockery of my life. The 1950’s housewife in me was really disappointed. Wasn’t I supposed to have a baby propped on one hip, laundry on the other and a pot roast in the oven?

Only on Instagram my friends. I’m guilty too, you know. I sure as hell didn’t share a picture of that. But I’m sharing it now because I know how my life as a new mom looks. I share only the best parts. The laughs, the smiles, the sweet face as she sleeps. Sometimes behind all that I have a sick case of pink eye.

I’m just like any other new mom, winging it one cup of coffee at a time. Parenthood and perfection will never mix, sometimes it just takes a little pink eye to figure that out.

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