Should I breastfeed or bottle feed? Swaddle or co-sleep? Read to them every night or just hold them close? Never yell or keep my frustrations to myself? Gee, that’s a lot of questions to ask oneself! “Perfection” in terms of motherhood pretty much alludes to the best of us no matter how hard we try. And yet, we keep apologizing for our shortcomings that seem undoubtedly, normal. So, I stopped being the ‘perfect” mom; and just became, Mom.
I can’t do everything right. I simply can’t. I, more than likely, came to terms with that after I realized that I fail to control my outbursts with the children when I get upset. It all began by simply recognizing that I lose it and I fail. I used to beat myself up for it. Usually starting with “I shouldn’t have…I could’ve done it better…what if they didn’t…if only…” and on and on and on.
I get it. I’m not perfect. What am I really trying to prove? More importantly, WHO am I trying to prove it to? Am I trying to prove something to my own mother? My in-laws? My husband or partner? More than likely, there was this driving external force to compel me to believe I COULD BE this perfect mom – IF…
- If I took every single bit of their advice and ignored my own inner mom-stincts.
- If I decided to hold in my frustrations and bury my emotional feelings.
- If I decided to “follow the pack” of child-rearing; what’s acceptable for the latest fad and trend.
- If I decided to stop being human.
Isn’t that what it really boils down to? If you aren’t human, that’s really the ONLY way you’ll be the perfect mom. That, or dead.
Since you are alive and well, let’s just state it like it is: Perfection is terribly over-rated and downright unrealistic. Acknowledge this truth and you, too, can stop being the perfect mom and just be your child(ren)’s mom.
- That is who they need.
- They need the mom who yells at them for the little things and later apologizes – because that’s real life.
- They need the mom who messes up the cake she was supposed to bring to the PTA meeting and rushes the kids out the door so they can pick up one on the way out.
- They need the mom who sticks to her guns and stands by her decisions, regardless of what others think.
- They need the imperfect mom, because one day your child will be too – and they need to know, it’s okay to choose not to be the perfect mom.
Express your newfound imperfections with your kids
Liberate yourself by declaring your freedom in imperfection! There’s a whole new attitude that comes from expressing an intentional desire to just be yourself.
Whether it’s your baby or your teenager, let them know, you aren’t trying to be the perfect mom (because they really didn’t know your inner struggle – let them in) anymore. Sure, they may agree with you, but really let your heart shine with how you’ve personally accepted who you are and how you see yourself imperfectly-perfect to be THEIR mom, now and forever.
Here’s the real challenge – declare yourself to your most ‘inner’ critic. Meaning, you may think your self-talk was the worst of it, but that inner talk has an origin. Is it your own mother? A best friend? A spouse?
Declare your acceptance of being a happy, imperfect mom who is doing her damnedest to raise the next generation to that person. Here’s the kicker, you don’t necessarily have to say it directly to them. Simply write a letter laying it all out, all your feelings, anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to say about how they made you feel like a constant failure as a mom. How you thought they saw you doing things “wrong”.
Write that letter, but don’t send it.
All this exercise is meant to do is to free you from those weighted chains of perfection you thought you should live up to. And, if you happen to be okay already, knowing you don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations – pass the baton and tell the next mom you see, she’s doing a perfectly awesome job raising her babies just as she is.
Photo Credits: AndiL.