I’d like to preface with: I’m not the perfect mom, nor do I claim perfection. This morning I yelled at my daughter to put her shoes on (after unsuccessfully calmly asking her multiple times). I fail, a lot. Here’s the thing, even though I admit to failure (no perfect Pinterest mom here), I hate the perfectly imperfect mommy culture. You know, the one that excuses and encourages our “bad mom” behaviors.
My mom raised two kids. She worked full time in an office job that required her to wear makeup and fix her hair. Later in life, she took a job as a teacher. My brother and I were so well cared for, she never complained about being exhausted (even though I assume now that she was), and I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve seen my mom lose her cool. There were no “mommy groups” or blogs for her to commiserate over the struggles of motherhood or the struggles of balancing it all. She just did the things that needed to be done, every day. She may have complained to a close friend, but there was no curated imperfection to make her feel better about her assumed shortcomings as a mom. No books to cheer her on when they felt lacking in the mom and wife department. No wine culture to encourage drinking failures or stress away. No mom groups to meet up with for coffee while sharing stories of how “bad” they are at parenting.
What is it about our generation that needs so much validation that an entire market exists around it being okay for us to be “bad moms?” We have podcasts, blogs, support groups, books, all at our fingertips reminding us that it’s okay to be imperfect as a mom. While I appreciate the reminder, I must wonder if it’s also giving me action paralysis and excusing my “bad mom” behavior? Instead of comparing myself to perfect people, I’m giving myself a pass by comparing myself to all of the imperfection and failures. Then using that comparison as an excuse to just be okay with being okay. Would I allow that for my children? Do I want them to have a pass on sassy talk, skipping homework, or even simpler things such as not brushing their teeth? I surely don’t want them to compare their behaviors to their friends and think that it’s okay since their friends are doing it.
For myself, I feel as though the validation has made me a mediocre mom. As a mom of two kids, I can admit, the beds aren’t always made, I snap at my oldest daughter sometimes, I can’t remember the last time I made a meal from scratch, and my house isn’t always spotless. That made you feel better reading that, right? Why? My disorganized, stressed out, imperfection made you feel better about your same shortcomings. It’s okay; I’ve allowed myself the same pass.
I also spend a lot of time reading books and listening to podcasts that tell me “it’s okay.” Call me crazy, but I don’t want to be a babied mom. I want to be an excellent mom, or as excellent as I can be for my family. I want people around me to tell me that yes, parenting can be hard, and then I want the focus to shift from the hard aspects of parenting to how enjoyable parenting can be. I need more motivation to achieve as mom and less coddling to just survive parenting.
This is what I needed to hear, too. I am hearing “do better” “get organized” and yes “Pull yourself together, mom!” from my inner self. I am looking for the tools and encouragement to do the best I can for my kids and family. Thank you
If you don’t want to hear “it’s okay to not be okay” but you also don’t want to be held up to perfect standards that are unattainable — what DO you want to hear? I guess I’m currently in the small baby phase where being told “it’s okay that things are a hot mess right now, they won’t be forever” is exactly when I need. Otherwise my perfectionism will kick in and I will feel horrible about how everyone else is just doing what needs to be done and I’m floundering.
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