Meet Kristen

I always dreamed of being the perfect mom. You know her. She works full-time outside of the home but seems to attend every school function and play date. She is totally cool under pressure; never yells at her kids, and can keep up with everyone’s schedule because she is really superwoman. Her house is spotless, the laundry is never piled up, and her children well behaved. She is creative and is always doing fun, crafty projects with her kids because she is the Pinterest queen. She rocks at meal planning and couponing. She puts her husband and kids first, yet she has tons of mommy friends. 

I felt like if I worked at it, I could be the perfect mom.

I have always wanted to be a mom, but no one told me how hard it was to be a mom – let alone a perfect one.

Sam & Kristen

Photo Credit : Meredith Branscomb

I’m happily married to the man of my dreams. In fact, I knew I was going to marry Sam the moment I saw him. We have two amazing boys, Xander (5) and Silas (5 months).

We spent the first few years of our marriage as youth pastors, which was a ton of fun, and we viewed becoming parents as the next great adventure. The first baby brought more than a few bumps to our marriage, and that’s putting it nicely. I remember fighting a lot but of course, many people didn’t know. We were stretched in ways that didn’t even seem possible, but we made it.

I began graduate school when Xander was turning two and even though I insisted we wanted the kids closer together, I could not imagine taking on a full-time job, motherhood, and graduate school with a new baby. We waited until I was close to finishing graduate school before we got pregnant again. We also made the decision to move from North Carolina to Milwaukee. We knew that Milwaukee was a great place to raise a family but I struggled with leaving family and friends.

Did I mention that I was 6 months pregnant when we moved? Talk about being in transition. 

Silas is an amazing baby, but it’s been really difficult adjusting to being a mom-of-two. For the first few months, I was walking around in a fog. This dense, black cloud was hovering over me and I could not outrun it. And trust me, I tried.  

brothersAll of the sudden, I felt this pressure to be that perfect mom. All of my mom friends appeared to have it together and they had tons of kids. Surely, I could make it work with two. There was no way it was this hard. I had this constant voice in my head telling me to suck it up and make it work. But, I felt anxious all the time. I talked with the doctor and he told me it was normal, but I wanted to know why I felt like I was coming unhinged. 

I recently realized that there really isn’t “the perfect mom”. Even if things appear perfect on the outside, chances are, that “perfect mom” doesn’t feel too perfect.

I had a picture of what mommy hood was supposed to be but I was tired of trying to be perfect. I stopped focusing on comparing myself to others. It was killing every ounce of confidence and joy I had inside. I needed to enjoy this season.

So while my picture of the “perfect mom” doesn’t really exist, I can still work on being the mom that my kids need. I can be more present and aware of what my boys need from me, rather than fighting myself about the mom I “should” be.

Moving to a new city and adding a new baby to the mix has challenged me in ways I never imagined. I have this desire to really dig into life here in Milwaukee and connect with women. I am so honored to be a part of the MKE Moms Contributor team and begin sharing my motherhood journey with all of you!

You can follow Meredith’s photography journey by checking out her Facebook page

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