I used to think my kids needed the perfect mother. A mom who never yelled, always was patient, always used kind words, had everything put together (which included both the appearance of her home and herself), made every meal and snack from scratch, and had fun while doing it all. Well, surprise surprise, I’m not that mom. I’m also going to guess that you aren’t that mom either. Why?
Because that mom doesn’t exist.
Maybe you scroll through your social media and think that all of those moms have it together or embody perfection. Or maybe you see a mom at a park or play date and convince yourself that she must hold the secret to perfect parenting. But NONE of us are perfect. Sure, some people may appear to have it all together, but don’t let appearances fool you. Dry shampoo, leggings, and Instagram filters can sure hide a lot of our mess, but we all have struggles. We all have problems, buttons that only our kids know how to push, and moments when we lose our cool. No one out there in your circle of friends or in that Facebook parenting group is truly perfect.
The good news is that my kids (or your kids) don’t need perfection. They don’t even need a mom who appears to be perfect. They need a real mom. They need a mom who loves them and cares for them, but who also shows them how to handle the hard things in life. Now this is much easier said than done, but I feel like it’s important.
For as long as I can remember I have been a people pleaser. I hate letting people down or disappointing others in even the smallest of ways. I know I can’t be the only one out there who struggles with this, right? Of course, as all parents do, I have lost my temper. I have yelled. I have made mistakes in parenting. I have had bad mornings that turn into bad days. And my kids have witnessed some of those moments that I am less than proud of. I have disappointed my kids. But instead of letting the guilt of not pleasing everyone bury or cripple me, I have chosen to use it as an opportunity.
This is a simple (yet extremely humbling) thing to do. It means admitting your mistakes, apologizing, and making things right again. These things are never fun to do, but I believe that it’s an important thing to model and teach to my kids. If I were that perfect mother I described earlier, what kind of expectation would I be putting on my kids? If they never saw how I handled my own shortcomings what might that teach my kids? I don’t want my kids to feel like they have an unattainable goal of perfection to live up to. I’d much rather help them learn how to handle the imperfections in life (both their own and others) and be an imperfect yet relatable parent.
I hope one day my kids can say that I was a good mom, or even a great mom. But perfect? No. Nope, not going to happen and that’s okay with me. My perfection will always be pending. Mama, it’s all right to give up the goal of being a perfect mom–that doesn’t exist–and just be the real mom your kids actually need.