I’m going to go ahead and be very straightforward with you all. I’ve been having a really hard time lately. I have found that more often than not I feel sad, or overwhelmed, or plainly–just not good enough for any of my roles; not as a wife, not as a homemaker, not as a wanna-be blogger, and most especially, not as a mother. How can I possibly teach my son everything he needs to know, make sure he gets at least three perfectly balanced meals per day, play games that will help him develop his skills, put together adorable outfits for him, make sure we are getting out of the house enough, not lose my patience as he is learning boundaries, make him fun DIY activities, etc…all the while cooking, cleaning, maintaining our home, actually getting showered and dressed (in a put-together and cute outfit, might I add), putting on makeup, finding time to blog and take pictures for the blog, running errands, fulfilling church callings, going to appointments, and possibly even just having a moment to myself long enough to go to the bathroom alone?
The internet makes everything look so easy. It is so simple to look at other moms online and see their perfect birthday parties, or the creative well-balanced lunches they pack, or their perfectly coordinated and on-trend outfit while they are running around town. It is so easy to see the cute clothes that they handmade for their toddler, or the picture perfect dinner they have ready at 5pm every evening, or their fun trips to the library or the zoo.
A few weeks ago I read this post on Mallory’s blog, Soul Healthy, and I left her this comment. It reads, “I feel like I needed to read this today. I feel the same way a lot of the time. The comparison monster sneaks up so easily in today’s world. It’s so easy to see all of these “perfect blogs” with “perfect moms and families,” especially in the Pinterest age we live in. But I feel the same way you do. I’m doing the best with what I have, and if that means my toddler eats peas off the floor some nights (mind you, because he threw them there…) some days that just has to be good enough. I think as moms we always want to be perfect and make sure our babies and families are getting the best, be it organic food, or handmade things, etc. But all that really matters is that we love with our whole hearts. At the end of the day my baby boy doesn’t know if his lunch was Pinterest worthy or if his clothes could be highlighted on a baby fashion blog, but he does know if we played with trucks and read ten-thousand stories. He knows how many kisses I gave him and how many giggles we had. Sometimes its hard to remember that, but it really is the only thing that matters.”
The internet is not real life. As a blogger I, of course, strive to put my best foot forward. I take a bajillion photos of the meals I post so I can make sure I have some professional looking images I can upload, but you don’t see the first attempt that got burnt, or the ridiculous mess that consumed my kitchen while I was cooking. I only share outfits which make me feel attractive and which I think are on-trend enough to be current with “what’s in,” but you don’t see that most days I rock yoga leggings and a t-shirt, and every now and then–gasp!–I don’t even wear a bra. I share the cute DIY projects I do, but you never see the pile of projects that were a complete disaster and left me in frustrated tears. The internet has created this unique filter where we tend to see people’s successes, and not their failures. We see what makes people confident, but rarely get a glimpse into their world of insecurities. We don’t see the day to day. We just see the highlights.
Some moms are those perfect Pinterest moms. You’re amazing women. I don’t know how you do it! If you are one of those moms, I think you’re awesome, and this post is nothing against you in any way. I just know that for me personally, and for many other women out there, sometimes seeing all this “perfect” leaves me feeling like I could never possibly compare. But you know what? Being home all day with my little boy has recently helped me realize that I am the exact mom my baby needs. He has no idea if I’m wearing sweats or couture. He doesn’t know if my face is made up perfectly or if I’m wearing three day old mascara. He wouldn’t know the difference between an activity book I spent hours making by hand or one I got second hand from a friend. He simply doesn’t care if he eats cheerios off of the floor, or if some days we don’t even leave the house, or if we don’t do fun footprint crafts coordinated with the nearest holiday. He doesn’t judge me and he doesn’t think less of me because I’m not perfect.
To my little boy, I am perfect. I am mama. I am his whole world, and the way that he unconditionally and completely loves me is so evident in the way he looks at me, and reaches for me, and snuggles with me. I can feel it in the way he gives me the sloppiest kisses in the whole world, and the way he looks at me when he accomplishes something for the first time. When we giggle together there is nothing but pure joy on his face, and it is in those moments that I just know that I am his everything. I know as he grows older I will continue to be imperfect and make mistakes, and I know eventually he will realize that I am human and that I err. Right now, though, I am the best mama because I love him completely, and I’m doing the best I can with what I have. Maybe I don’t always have a clean house and dinner ready by 5pm. Perhaps there are days that we don’t leave the house and I go to bed in the same clothes I woke up in. Maybe sometimes my child eats the same meal for dinner as he did for lunch…and neither time did it have enough veggies.
Should we as moms always strive to be better? Of course. I’m not suggesting we strive for barely getting by and doing the least amount necessary to raise children, keep up with the house, or any other role that we play. Not at all! But what I have realized, and I hope you can realize too, is that it’s okay to not be perfect. Allow yourself a little grace. Realize that many times, these expectations we are trying to live up to are self-imposed! Though I apologize a thousand times to my husband for dinner not even being started by the time he gets home, he never cares. It doesn’t bother him! He knows that I’ve worked all day too and just as hard as he did…my job is just playing with boxes and blowing bubbles. Some days just stink. Some days we will feel inadequate and defeated…we just will. But all that matters at the end of the day is that we love with our whole hearts. If we do, then no matter what else “goes wrong,” we are the perfect homemaker, wife, and mom.
You’re doing a great job, mama. Keep it up.