Before I gave birth to my son, I had a list of things I would definitely do and not do as a mom. I admit I judged moms for letting their kids have too much screen time, too much sugar, too much toys, and I said I will absolutely not do that with my kid. Now I am a mom and I realize how hard it is to maintain those strict ideals.
We are all fed this bullshit image of the “perfect” mom through media, mommy blogs, and tv shows. She is a superwoman able to keep her kids entertained intellectually, keep her house immaculately clean, and manage to cook nutritious meals every night. Throw a full time job into that and you have the most unrealistic image of a woman and an extremely detrimental ideal for any mother to live up to.
Before becoming a mom, I pictured myself ascending to this superwoman status. Instead, I found myself failing as a mom, a wife, and an employee all at once. Of course looking back now, I recognize that I wasn’t failing at all, I was just living the reality of being a working mother during a pandemic.
These ideals set up all women to feel like they are failing though. I wanted to cloth diaper and when I decided it was just too much for me, I felt like I failed. I wanted to make my son’s organic puréed food from scratch and then he spit out every single one for months. I gave up on that and cried. I wanted to prevent my son from watching tv until he was 4, nope lost that battle too during a week of sickness on his part and now he is addicted.
I’m not failing though and neither are you. We aren’t perfect either, but that is okay. No mother is perfect, not even the one with that mommy blog that makes you feel like a failure. I guarantee every single mom has looked in the mirror at some point and thought, I’m not the mother I thought I would be.
Don’t get me wrong ideals are great. They help us strive to be better. Unfortunately, life is harder than what we see in an Instagram post. Those moms showing off their mommy hacks and their picture of a smiling family aren’t real! I’m not saying those moms aren’t doing an amazing job, but they are far from perfect.
Once we all learn to accept that we will never be perfect, we will all feel 10x better. What we are is: doing our best for our child, holding our family together, growing and learning, and tackling one of the hardest jobs there ever was. There is no manual. There is no blog, doctor or grandma that has all the answers. Every kid is different!
So next time you think about showing off how perfect your parenting style is or how happy your children are just remember there’s a mom out there who is struggling and your post makes them feel inferior. Also, next time you look in the mirror when you are struggling or read that perfect mom blog or see that Instagram post, remember we are all human and you are doing your best.
The amazing thing is that at least when your kids are young, they don’t notice your mistakes. You are always perfect to them. As they get older, it is actually important for them to see that you make mistakes and don’t be afraid to admit when you do. When we admit that we are human to our children they learn that they don’t have to live up to the perfection they thought we were.
I am not writing this to shame those posting humble brags about their parenting or offering advice to other moms, but to say to the moms reading and seeing that, take everything with a grain of salt. So what if you didn’t live up to your ideals pre-baby. Who does!?
As long as you are keeping your kid alive, loving them to death and letting them know you love them even when they are a total jerk and you want to scream, you’re succeeding at motherhood. No mom is perfect no matter how they may portray themselves. We need to stop expecting moms to be superhuman and just praise them for showing up everyday and doing their best with the circumstances life has thrown at them.
Go on mom, celebrate yourself! You are amazing and you need to hear that more often.