I Don’t Have to Be the Perfect Mother

I think everyone who becomes a mother wants to be good at it. Nobody goes into it wanting to be impatient or neglectful or too exhausted to care that your kid is coloring the walls with markers. Again. We want to be Super Mom! This new generation of mothers is especially prone to the Super Mom mentality. I know I was. I wanted to do it all. I wanted to be the best mom ever, better than my own mom and her mom and all the moms who came before me. I thought maybe I could figure out some little trick that would make me infinitely patient and kind and creative. Plus, a cape would look great on me!

That all came crashing down soon after my son was born. He’s the kind of kid that has kept me on my toes since day one. All that perfect mom stuff went right out the window – and it made me depressed.

I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t be the perfect mother. I thought it would be easy, or at least easier than this! What was wrong with me?

Here’s what’s wrong with me – I’m human. There’s not a person who walks this earth that is perfect. We will all make mistakes, even when we’ve laid out the best of intentions. Even when we love out kids fiercely. Even when we do all the research and reach all the books.

Instead of enjoying our children and looking at each other with compassion, we are stressed out and judging the moms around us who aren’t doing it the way we are. Didn’t they read the latest article from Dr. What’s His Name? Don’t they even care?!

Let’s let go of that. I don’t have to be the perfect mother, and neither do you. Yes, we should do our best. After all, we have been entrusted with these little people. We should do what we can to guide them, teach them, raise them to reach their fullest potential. But we will never do everything right, and for those moments we have to let go and trust that they will find the way. I really believe that God (and maybe a few good therapy sessions) can fill in the gaps and help us right our parenting wrongs. It’s not all on us.

Once we let go of all the pressure we will be able to breathe easier. We will be able to lift each other up and cheer each other on. We might even realize that the mistakes we make, are honestly no big deal. I can think of a time or two when my own mother made some doozy mistakes, but we look back on it now and laugh. Motherhood is a journey, there will be highs and lows, and that’s perfectly okay. Maybe I will never be the perfect mother, but I can be perfectly okay, like all the mothers before me. And I will rest in that.