When I first had my son I desperately strived to be the perfect mom. When he started taking solids I made sure they were organic, with shit like quinoa in them (even though I did not eat quinoa myself and honestly had no idea what it was, just that it HAD TO BE GOOD). I drove myself crazy making sure I balanced the juggle of motherhood, school and work. I shamed myself for not being able to be perfect when I fell short. I did all this in the vain hope that it would eventually make me this glossy, ideal woman who epitomized what motherhood in this generation should look like. Totally crazy-pants, I know.
It might’ve taken me almost 4 years of motherhood to finally admit this, but spoiler alert: there is no perfect mother out there.
People who say their mother is perfect usually have some weird mommy issues they should work out in therapy. I do not say this to be an asshole, instead I say this because it is time we relieve the pressure off motherhood. We will all have deficits. There will be some days we have to hide in the bathroom for five minutes and scream into the towels because the struggle of terrible threes is real (speaking from current experience). There will be a moment where we say the wrong thing, we don’t use the right words, or we just need a break. All of that is okay. Humans are not meant to be cookie cutter Stepford wives.
I wanted so badly to be the flawless mother, that never gave her kid a reason to backtalk or be angry at her. I yearned to be the “oatmeal mom” that people saw me as. But I always fell short, both in my mind and to the rest of the world. I was a single mom for a long time, and it was difficult. I was trying to balance so many roles, that everything began to strain and being a perfect mother started to become more and more unobtainable.
Eventually, I just stopped caring.
Not about my son, he is obviously still the most amazing little creature on the planet, and yes I might be a little bias. Instead, I stopped caring about being this magazine worthy mother. I focused on what my son wanted, and not how society told me to parent him. This morning, my son and I ran around barefoot in the yard (thankfully neither of us stepped in anything questiontionable). We got very dirty, and then we headed to the grocery store that way. Laughing. Pretending to be knights and dragons.
A perfect mother is not this fixture we can aspire to. No, a perfect mother is just the mom who loves her kid endlessly and shows up for them as much as she can. Most kids just want their parents love, their affection, and even simply 5 minutes of their time where there are no distractions. When I realized I do not have to be society’s perfect mom, but instead just the mom who gets silly with her 3 year old, life got so much easier.
Perfection is a myth, that as mothers we need to acknowledge as such instead of pretending all of us has it completely together. I know, I do not. My kid literally ate pretzels for lunch while we puttered around trying to find groceries. We are all just trying to make sure our little humans live long enough to grow into big humans.
How about we support one another instead of putting on masks?
How about we admit motherhood is hard sometimes? My kid literally finger painted with feces last week, I refuse to lie and tell everyone it was SO MUCH fun to clean.
Finally, how about we call out the bull shit culture that surrounds motherhood? We are not saints meant to be put on pedestals. We are fucking human beings with faults and character defects. We get stressed, we are allowed to be overwhelmed, and there is no prize for having people think you’re perfect.
In fact, I would argue the real prize in motherhood is when we are good enough that our kids get to be kids because we make them feel loved, safe and secure.
Ultimately, all of us know that none of us are perfect. Why even try to be?