Recently I was part of a discussion about the "perfect mother", and why so many moms nowadays feel like they need to try to be perfect, which is, of course, an impossibility. Yet we feel this incredible pressure to live up to certain ideals. And so we do our best to appear "perfect" to the average observer, while typically feeling frustrated and upset about how far from perfect we really are. Heaven forbid we let anyone see that we are just as flawed as the next mom.
Why is there this constant drive to achieve the impossible? To not let anyone see our faults? Why are we so afraid of seeming lacking in any respect?
I think that some of it has to do with the fact that many mothers are also highly educated women. Some of us have made the choice to leave a career in order to stay home with our children. And so we feel like we have to prove ourselves. Some of us are working, and feel like we need to be perfect in order to make up for the time that we have to spend away from our children during the day. All of us do the best that we can. All the time feeling like that is not good enough, that we could be - should be - doing better.
So what's the solution? Is there a solution? I think it starts by admitting that we are not perfect. We do the absolute best that we can. I believe that of every mother that I know. We make mistakes, we make different choices from each other, but overall? We love our kids. We do everything that we do because we love them so much, and want only the best for them.
So here it is - out in the open. I am not perfect. Far from it. I have made mistakes. I will make more. But I love my kids more than anything else.
The other day I took Ben out without any socks on. We were running late, we had to pick up Claire, and I didn't have time to search for a matching pair, because I hadn't folded the laundry yet.
Also, last week I didn't have the energy to argue with Claire so her lunch? Dora fruit snacks, a handful of goldfish, and some of the Cheerios that Ben was eating. That's nutrition at its best, folks.
And the worst? Ben was only 4 or 5 weeks old, and the cat's litter box was in desperate need of cleaning. This was when Ben was very colicky. He was fussing, and I set him down in his bouncy seat, but didn't latch him in. While I was in the next room cleaning the litter box I could hear him crying, but figured it was his usual fussiness. Then when I came back out, he was lying on the floor in front of the bouncy seat. He had wiggled himself down and off the front of the seat. I felt so guilty. But he was ok. Thank God. I felt so guilty for just assuming he was being his usual colicky self, and instead he was trying to tell me, "Hey! In here! On the floor! Pick me up, woman!"
One of the things the group I was talking with decided, is that we're lucky that our kids are too little to remember the mistakes that we have made, and will continue to make. And when they grow up? They'll probably think that we were perfect. Right? RIGHT???
So c'mon moms, and grandmas, and heck, dads, too. Confession time. Share. Make everyone feel better by telling us your slip-ups or mishaps. I know people are out there reading. Time to chime in!