I’ve proven through multiple blog posts that I don’t count myself among the June Cleavers of the world.
I could spout off a list of my mom failures: My kids don’t bathe every day, I feed them sugary cereal like it’s the only thing available at the Cash Saver, and if my daughter leaves the house dressed in her brother’s clothing, I don’t bat an eye.
In more serious ways I fail worse: I’m not great at monitoring what they watch online, I curse in front of them way more than I should, and I’ve yelled at them far more than I care to admit.
But let me tell you, I fill that love tank up. My love language is touch, so I kiss and hug and squeeze. I tell them I love them loudly, and I say I’m sorry frequently, and I forgive them more than I punish them.
Still, I often feel like a failure.
I mean, I see your perfect posts of your perfect life with your perfect children.
They’re dressed in perfect clothing, and they’re out doing perfect activities instead of cave-dwelling like most of my kids.
They appear as if they never mouth off, or disobey, or even allow a hair to fall out of their bow or a crumb of their turkey sandwich to hit the floor (and mine are eating baloney, by the way—cancer-causing baloney!).
And you, you perfect moms, you’re hitting that gym and toning that body like an 18-year-old college hottie. That’s after you’ve hit the Starbucks to consume what is apparently a calorie-free treat on your body but hits mine like a bag of bricks.
I see how much your huge home and designer clothing appear to cost, which leads me to believe you get paid fat cash to work a few hours a day. Meanwhile, I’m hustling like a drug-pusher to clear a couple thousand annually.
I’m drinking day old coffee, and doing squats in front of the sink while I scrub dishes to claim exercise, and tossing this ratchet hair into a bun—because that’s in style, right?
And here’s the craziest thing about it all: At the end of the day, someone, somewhere, will tell both of us we’ve done it all wrong.
In this wild new world of one-click criticisms on a thousand social media platforms, women, especially mothers, can’t seem to get anything right.
And worse, our children are often judged based on our parenting decisions.
Just think about the contradictions:
- You’re judged for putting them in too many activities and equally judged for not putting them in every single one.
- Criticized for dressing them too nice or too shabby, buying them too much or not enough.
- Seen as a holy-roller for taking them to church every week, but called a heathen if you don’t take them like you should.
- Earn the title of Pushy Mom for being involved in their school and Bad Mom if you’re not involved at all.
- You’re talked about based on your job (or lack of one), where you live, the way you dress, what your kids do, how you feed your family, whether or not you work out, have hobbies, are married or single…
Did I cover everything?
To sum it up, when you become a mother you should kill every imperfection and make your life’s purpose to become the most perfect version of a human being, while raising tiny perfect humans as well.
When you’ve done all of the above and posted those pics to Facebook, you will then feel—via a better post by some other mom, a snarky comment, or not enough likes—that whatever you did probably wasn’t good enough.
And we wonder why we feel so defeated.
Moms, let’s stop worshiping at the throne of perfection and demand. Let’s stop worrying so much about things that don’t really matter.
Let’s embrace ALL versions of mother and womanhood.
You might be a scarf-wearing, Starbucks-holding, Good Christian Belle, and your bestie might be a gym rat who runs 17 miles after Crossfit and drinks shakes at every meal.
I might be a night-time wine guzzler (possibly true), while my best friend is a die-hard PTO junkie who gets thrills from hanging bows on school columns.
What if those were all okay?
What if we celebrated the mom who works outside the home? Cheered for the housewife whose life is spent taking care of her husband and children?
Admired the mom whose mission field is her child’s school or the ball field?
How about we lift up the single mom or pray for the mother with the special needs child? (They are doing the absolute best they can in a world that thinks every family should be picture perfect.)
Can we come alongside the new mom who is completely clueless but pretending she has it all together? (We can giggle on the inside over her ‘my child will be perfect’ attitude, because hey, we were that way once—until that third kid.)
Is it possible for us to compliment the mom who takes time to get dolled up to check the mail, while also not judging the mom who has perfected the t-shirt and messy bun or has zero fashion sense whatsoever?
Here’s the truth: I’ve found that nine times outta ten, the frustration between women comes not from our different types of parenting, but from the fact that some of us believe our way is the only or best or right way. That somehow all those external ‘things’ make you a better mother than me or vice versa.
But what truly makes a good mom? What really is this goal of motherhood?
I’m pretty sure it’s to raise our children to leave our home and become responsible, hard-working, caring citizens in a world rife with not-so-good ones.
Listen, I’m not an everybody-has-to-be-besties kind of gal. You won’t find me prancing the tennis courts in a lululemon skirt any time soon (unless someone brings margaritas—I can totally get behind that).
And there’s a good chance if you send a form home asking me to volunteer for the PTO, I’m going to write “NOOOOOOOOOOO” across it with a fat sharpie before handing it back to you.
But I’ll be cheering you on at your tennis matches and sending those brownies to school when you need them.
I’ll be teaching my kids to do the same for your kids.
And when I mess up, feel defeated, or am just overall having a completely horrific day—or see that you are—I’ll give us both a heavy dose of Grace.
I’ll accept that all of us are just a little imperfect.
Which, as it turns out, makes the perfect mother. 😉