Everyone has an idea of what the perfect mom is. She is beautiful and kind, never ever yells or gets angry, and provides every meal without processed sugar or flour.Her house has no dust bunnies and she definitely doesn’t wear sweatpants to the library. She is always providing educational opportunities for learning and growing. We all see her on social media.
We strive to be perfect like her when in reality, it really isn’t reality. It is a perception of what is real and it is (very) unobtainable. With the flood of information that is so readily available at our fingertips, we also bear the weight of sorting through to find what is reality and avoid ingesting the fake.
As I am sitting in a coffee shop writing this blog, my friend’s mother, whom I haven’t seen in years, walks by and we start talking. She has four grown daughters, so obviously I want to gather all of her wisdom so I can put it to use raising my four girls. She starts talking about exactly what I have been writing about.
When she was raising her girls, there weren’t designer diaper bags or limited edition cloth diapers that everyone had to have. There were no groups to share screenshots of conversations about whether someone was breast or bottle feeding. Her generation did the best they could with the knowledge they had. Now that her daughters are mothers themselves, she sees the work, compassion and kindness she put into them. They are successful and well-adjusted adults. She was telling me how valuable the intangible character traits are rather than the perfect crafts from Pinterest or the family photos in matching pastels.
“Mothers now are swimming upstream trying to fit the ‘ideal mom’ image with every hair in place.” The ideal mom is beyond the bounds of possibility. This unrealistic mom that we hold ourselves up against looks gorgeous like she never had a baby in her designer size 2 jeans. She bakes all of her food from scratch and she cooks three meals a day from the hormone-free produce she grew in her backyard oasis. Her children know all their letters and numbers and
are potty trained by age 2. I see all of her Facebook posts chronicling her picture perfect life, and I feel bad about myself because most days I want a trophy for getting everyone dressed.
I am not against Facebook, by the way. As a stay at home mom, I do like being connected to other people and having a sense of community. I also understand that no one is going to post a picture of their daughter peeing on the couch with ugly hair. We want to post the good parts of ourselves. However, when we compare our skills of being a mom to someone’s post, we need to remember that we all have the same goal: we want our children to become
successful adults and feel loved along the way.
The true ideal mom loves her kids and provides the best environment for her children on the road to adulthood. When we get frustrated or angry, it is okay! Just choose the perspective that you are providing opportunities to model the appropriate way to apologize. After all, that is far more valuable 20 years down the road than an old, crusty Pinterest craft made from organic materials hewn from your own sustainable fairy garden.
Let’s cut ourselves a break. It might just lead to a newfound freedom to truly enjoy this amazing journey that we only get one shot at.