Once upon a time, I had dreams of becoming the perfect mom.
I thought I’d never get behind on the laundry. I thought I’d wake up early everyday, get myself ready, and make (organic) Mickey Mouse pancakes for my kids. I thought I’d dress them in matching Gymboree outfits to run our daily errands, and (gasp!) their clothes would never have stains on them. I thought we’d constantly be out-and-about, having educational adventures like weekly trips to museums and the zoo.
Flash forward, four years deep into my motherhood journey. My life looks nothing like the one I imagined. Of course their are those magical days when everything goes according to plan, and I go to bed feeling like I can conquer the world. But then I wake up the next day to a teething baby, a toddler who wet the bed, and a sink full of dirty dishes. I am by no means the perfect mom. At least not by the definition I conjured up before motherhood.
I am absolutely imperfect, and my imperfections, my friends, are what make me the perfect mom.
Let me explain. That mom you see with the impeccably dressed kids, perfect face of makeup, taking professional-grade photos of her children at the park; I know you’re striving to be just like her. But I’m here to tell you: it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve been that mom. You know what’s going on behind the scenes? That mom spent an hour putting on her makeup, ignoring her screaming baby who was sitting in a poopy diaper while she carefully applied her mascara. Her kids had to walk around wearing nothing but their underwear before leaving the house, for fear of soiling their perfect outfits. And those same kids who may look happy in front of the camera – those kids are so wishing they could run around, get dirty, and maybe even earn the childhood badge of a grass-stained pair of jeans.
Has your definition of the perfect mom changed yet?
When I learned to let go of being the perfect mom to the outside world, my life changed. I learned that a truly perfect mother has many imperfections. Her house is messy. Her laundry might be clean, but it’s been sitting unfolded in a basket for a week. Sometimes she feeds her kids fast food for dinner. Her kitchen table is covered in Play-Doh, Legos, and glitter from a Pinterest experiment gone wrong. And her kids are wearing clothes from a second-hand store. That’s the mom I am today. And guess what? I’m happy!
I may not be perfect to my Instagram followers. I may not be perfect to the other moms on the playground. But I’m perfectly imperfect to my kids. They see me as the fun, carefree, goofy mom that I am. I hope that they grow up to remember our morning dance parties, walks to the park in our jammies, and the days we destroyed the kitchen baking cookies. These are the things that make up their perfectly imperfect childhood and being the one responsible for these memories is what makes me the perfect mom.