Few people argue that being a mom is hard.
No matter what your idea of a good mom, chances are you know it’s tough. Moms know it’s hard, Dads know, most days the kids know they make our lives hard (yes, I believe it’s on purpose. Sometimes.) Social media makes us compare ourselves to these incredibly high standards. This is not unlike advertisements of old, reminding moms to have a sparkling home and supper on the table when your man gets home. But, Mommy, I give you permission to let go of perfect. Perfect and successful are not the same thing, and you don’t have to be perfect to be good enough.
Successful parenting is not perfect parenting.
Who am I kidding? There is no perfect parent. If you’re a mommy reading this and you think you’re a perfect mommy then this blog probably isn’t for you. Just being real. If you have life figured out then you could start your own blog and teach the rest of us a thing or two.
Success stories don’t always come from the place of perfect. Sometimes it’s the mistakes that teach us what not to do. We learn and grow as our children learn and grow. And what works for babies (obviously) doesn’t work for teenagers. The bad days help us learn and have great days. At the end of the day, being a good parent is about loving your child, correcting them when they need it, and providing them with a solid foundation.
There are too many choices to get it right 100% of the time.
- breastmilk or formula
- vaccinate or anti-vax
- circumcise or all-natural
- pierce ears or give the choice
- organic food or pesticides
- underwear or pull-ups
- homeschool or public (private school?!)
- scream or peaceful parenting
- helicopter parent or hands free
- discipline techniques…
If you’re a mom, you know these are not the only choices you have to make. Every day you make choices that could affect your kids forever. Sounds dramatic, but it’s true. And what makes that worse is you don’t know if you got it right or not until they’re grown. Sometimes, the way they were raised has little effect on their outcome and they become serial killers even after all your best efforts (again with the drama, I know).
Here’s the thing, Mama: you will make wrong choices. Not every decision you make will be the right one. And it doesn’t matter the type of parenting you do, not every day is a good one.
Stop trying to live up to the hype.
I’m not the first to talk about this. I can assure you I won’t be the last. But I think it needs to be repeated until we all hear it: stop comparing yourself to every other mom out there. More importantly, stop comparing yourself to the images of perfection. The women with perfect bodies after giving birth are either super blessed or spend insane amounts of time (and money) on maintaining their appearance. They’re probably hungry, too. Stretch marks are ok. No, I don’t “love” my stretch marks, but when I see my belly I’m reminded what it went through to carry my babies and I deal with it. I don’t wear bikinis anyway. It’s okay to not have a rock solid body. And, hey, a couple hundred years ago chubby meant healthy. Let’s go back to that.
Moms who say their children never act out? Well, I don’t believe them. Every child acts out from time to time and for various reasons. Don’t think your child is the only one. And why on earth do they think restaurants are a good place to throw down? Like, really, kid? You want to pitch a fit when people are trying to enjoy their food? Gimme a break.
No one said you have to feed your children home cooked, from scratch, organic meals every time they eat. Sorry. If you do that I think it’s AWESOME and I am glad someone can. I just find that being on one income makes organic almost impossible. Not to mention when I’m trying to prepare perfect meals I get super frustrated when my kids “don’t like it” and shove the plate back at me. Sometimes kids just need french fries. And sometimes mommy just needs french fries.
The bottom line is this:
if you even care enough to think you’re failing as a mom, chances are you’re doing just fine. If you think you mess up, then you probably do. But we need to start changing our perspective. Furthermore, we need to change our base line. Stop comparing yourself to what social media calls good. Every family is different, and every family has a different way of raising their children. Your parenting techniques might be different from mine, and that’s okay. I parent differently than my sister or my best friend, but we can agree that we are doing the best we can and just hope we do right by our kids. When it’s all said and done, I just want mine to know I love Jesus and I tried my best to instill Christian values into them. My goal is raising my kids to be responsible adults.
If you feel like you aren’t good enough, then stop. Being a good mommy is more than how many toys you buy your kids. It’s how much you care, how much quality time you spend with them, and what values you instill in them. Chances are, Mommy, you’re doing just fine.