I used to strive to be the perfect mom. I wanted my house to be spotless, and for my children to always be neatly dressed, without a trace of dirt on their faces. I wanted to welcome my husband home from work with a great, home-cooked dinner each night, which I’d prepare right after I helped my boys with their homework and spent quality time with them. And I wanted to find time to work out, garden and volunteer.
I would be lying if I said I still don’t feel, on occasion, that I should be striving to do more, to be more “perfect.” But I quickly bring myself back to the reality that it’s okay to be imperfect, and it will only benefit my entire family to know that I am not supermom. I am not perfect nor do I strive to be, and I am okay with that.
There, I said it!
Allowing myself to embrace my imperfections allows my boys to see that absolutely nothing in life is perfect. I don’t provide them with false hope and illusions, and I remind them of the reality that sometimes things don’t happen the way we want them to. We can plan and plan and it just may happen that something doesn’t go as we planned. It doesn’t mean I’ve failed as a mom—maybe I used to think that—it just means that perfection is an illusion.
I think a lot of mothers are too hard on themselves and feel like failures a lot of the time. It doesn’t help that we’re bombarded with images of “supermoms” who really do seem to do and have it all. But even as a mom I have come to terms with my imperfections more than ever before.
Read Related: Moms vs. Moms: The Pain and Isolation of Mompetition
I remember being in college and not wanting to accept an A-. Now I think this was the reason I graduated with honors; I was my own biggest critic. But I couldn’t go on applying that form of pressure on myself. What would I be teaching my children? When I had my kids, I began to realize that I couldn’t get an A+ in motherhood. I’d never been a mom before—how could I expect myself to excel at it? I learned, over time, that if I made a mistake, it was okay because I was learning as I went along. Now, when I make a mistake, I say to my kids, “I made a mistake. But that’s okay; I will try again.”
When I make my mistakes and acknowledge it in front of my kids, it actually makes them feel more secure. “It’s okay to make a mistake and be imperfect because my mommy is okay with it, and I am too.” My kids aren’t afraid of being considered less than perfect. So, being a not-so-perfect mom opens up the lines of communication and allows me to discuss the importance of being the best that we can be, and being comfortable with the perfection of our imperfections!