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If you’d met me before I became I mom, you would have been impressed. Not only had I earned a masters degree and become the boss at my job, but I wore stylish outfits and blow dried my hair every time I took a shower, which was daily.

I really had it going on.

So when I became a stay-at-home mom, I assumed that all the drive and determination that I’d brought to my career would make me an amazing mother. I’d study the latest child development books, create a calm, nurturing and educational environment, cook healthy but adorable meals, limit screen time and otherwise kick motherhood’s ass, because why wouldn’t I?

Now, after six years in the trenches with two small girls, I know the answer to that question. Here’s why I’m not even close to being the perfect mother of my dreams:

1. I Yell

The first time I snuggled my beautiful, innocent, totally dependent newborn baby in my arms, I never imagined that in a few years, I would be screaming in that baby’s face. But when the baby has become a stubborn threenager who is refusing to get into her car seat even though the ice cream is melting and horns are honking and I’m operating on four hours of sleep, things can get loud. And by things, I mean my scary mom voice.

2. I’m Distracted

I really admire parents who can be 100% present with their kids, but apparently, I am not one of them. My toddler’s first complete sentence was “Mommy, put your phone down.” It’s not like my texts and tweets are particularly pressing. I just feel more human when I have a lifeline to the outside world. Which means I am the asshole who is scrolling Facebook looking at pictures of other people’s kids instead of looking at my actual kids who are right in front of me.

3. The Rules Keep Changing

Car seats should be rear-facing until age 1. Just kidding, age 2. Just kidding, forever. Only a psychopath would buy a drop-side crib or crib bumpers or crib tents. Unless it was 10 years ago, and then it was totally fine. In other words, babies should sleep on their back/stomachs while always/never swaddled. Got it? Yeah, me neither.

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