Every mom is an imperfect mom
Those moms that show up at school drop off at 8:00 a.m. looking ready to strut down the catwalk. The moms that can match any craft or recipe exactly as shown in the pins on their Pinterest boards. Yoga-practicing-Whole-Foods-shopping-no-electronics-allowing moms. Moms who work full-time, never miss a PTA meeting, and keep their homes immaculate. Each one of our mommy idols is an imperfect mom. Every. Single. One.
None of us is perfect, yet it never seems to keep us from holding ourselves to the impossible standards of perfection. Often, I find myself comparing my mom skills to the perfect moms mentioned above. Consequently, I berate myself whenever I fall short.
Trying to live up to society’s ridiculous expectations of what a mom should be is not only exhausting, but also fruitless. You can’t please everyone – someone, somewhere is always going to judge you. For years, I have judged myself harshly based solely on my shortcomings. Well, not anymore! I refuse to apologize for being human, and it’s long overdue that I stop judging myself and other moms. We’re all doing the best we can, and your best isn’t identical to mine because we’re two very different individuals.
In the spirit of moving away from judging others, here are three confessions of my own imperfections as a mom. I hope my unapologetic confessions inspire at least one other imperfect mom to abandon her apologies and embrace her own imperfections. Ultimately, we’re all in this together (#solidarity)!
way too much time looking at my phone
I know I’m not alone on this one. Yet whenever I’m with my kids and looking down at my phone (rather than up at them), I feel like everyone is judging me. The shame I feel comes from feeling like I’m not living up to a societal standard that our children must always come first. Moms aren’t allowed to be selfish. We’re expected to take care of everyone else first. Lucky for me I’ve always been a bit of a rebel! If I need a break from my energy-depleting-vampire-children by zoning out on my phone (or hiding in the bathroom with a glass of Merlot), I’m gonna take it. 90% of the time, my kids do come first. Sometimes, though, I need to come first.
Patience is (not) my virtue
Why does this particular confession make me feel so guilty? Maybe it’s because I grew up with a mom who had a short fuse. I remember how unnerving it was never knowing when she was going to lose her cool. Or maybe it’s because I’m now continuing the cycle rather than nipping it in the bud. Even though I’m aware of the issue, I feel as though I’m failing my children miserably.
I once saw a sign that read, “Raising children is like being pecked to death by chickens!” Boy, isn’t that the truth? There is absolutely no job on the planet more trying on one’s patience than raising children. Even the most zen moms have difficulty maintaining their serenity amidst incessant whining, having to repeat themselves for the hundredth time. So if I yell sometimes, does that make me an unfit mother? No, it just makes me an imperfect mom.
I am not good at discipline
Discipline has always been foreign to me. As an only child of divorced parents who worked full-time, I spent every week split between two homes. Besides the consistency of being bounced back and forth between my Mom and Dad, they weren’t the best at following through. Whether it was punishment for poor choices on my part or implementing structure regarding homework and chores, they rarely followed through with it for long. This lead to lifelong struggles with my own ability to follow through and practice self-discipline.
In life, it’s hard to give what we have never received. Therefore, implementing consequences and structure consistently in my own children’s lives has proven to be quite the challenge. A lack of parental discipline in our culture never paints a positive picture, so this confession is particularly tough to admit. When I feel like a less-than-adequate mom, I try to remind myself that as long as I’m working to improve what I can to be the best mom that I can be, then I’m doing the best that I can.
Stop apologizing for being an imperfect mom
We exist in a society with very rigid ideas of what is right and wrong in the world of parenting. Because of that, many of us feel entitled to scrutinize other moms for not raising their children “correctly.” It also causes us to judge ourselves and our own parenting skills daily. Raising children is not a “one size fits all” deal, though. It is an exceptionally personal process that (unfortunately) includes a lot of trial and error.
If nothing else, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Making mistakes is inevitable in every aspect of life. Most of us accept this reality when it comes to our own lives. However, when it comes to being an imperfect mom, we become wracked with guilt. Let go of that guilt. Stop apologizing, and give yourself grace for being an imperfect mom.