You know the mom I’m talking about. Maybe she is a friend or an acquaintance. Maybe you are “that” mom or have been at some point. The mom, to all outward appearances seems to have it all together.
Let’s think about “that” mom for a moment. “That” mom could fit into a number of categories.
First there is the mom who is always showered, hair done, make up on and dressed to impress, even if she is running to the grocery store.
There is the mom who has the spotless house. Not one item in her home is out of place, and polished surfaces leave you wondering if kids even live there.
Then there is the mom who is amazingly crafty and creative. Everything from baked treats, to party invitations to holiday décor is not only handmade, but has a professional look about it.
How about the mom who is super fit? She has a flat stomach despite the fact that she has given birth to more than one child. She eats super healthy and gets in a work out every day to stay the size she was when she got married.
Then there is the super motherly mom. She has unending patience with her children. She seems to always engage with her kids and can dissolve a fight between her kids before it can even get started.
What’s wrong with these moms? Well nothing really. I would love it if somehow I was able to be all of those moms. To have a perfect house, perfect appearance, perfect body, perfect décor, perfect parenting, that would be amazing. The real problem is that it’s unrealistic to expect to be all of these things all of the time (or even some of the time), without help.
Let the Mom Guilt Go
As moms we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do everything and do it well. When we don’t, we have mom guilt. It’s not fair and who needs that kind of stress and negative feelings? Not to mention all of the time worrying about it takes every day.
So here it is: you don’t have to be “that” mom. In the words of Queen Elsa “Let it go!” Stop telling yourself that you have to do it all. You’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of stress and anxiety if you live under the illusion that you aren’t a good mom if you can’t do it all.
Think about the time you could save if you weren’t trying to do everything to perfection. If you aren’t super talented at something it will take you that much longer to do it. Maybe you can put together a stunning outfit in five minutes that could be featured on a magazine cover, but cooking a gourmet meal would take you hours. Instead of spending hours to make a perfect dinner every day, whip up something simple that your family enjoys and save the hours long cooking sessions for special occasions. So what if you serve grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner? At least you’ll be dressed to the nines while doing it.
The time that you save you could spend with your family or doing the things that you are good at. You could maybe even have time to relax. Instead of spending your precious time trying to be perfect, save some time by allowing yourself to be average in some areas.
Perfection takes a lot of time, time that most moms don’t really have. Instead of trying to do everything, start asking for help or decide that certain things are unimportant or unnecessary.
I’m not saying to stop showering, changing your clothes or putting effort into your health and wellness. What I’m saying is decide what is important to you, what makes you happy and what you do well and stick with that. If there is an area that you want to improve upon then take some time to do that, but feel free to let some of the other stuff go.
Decide What’s Important
How do you let go and decide what is important? Periodically ask yourself, “Why am I doing what I am doing?” If you are doing it for yourself, your kids or your marriage you are doing it for the right reason. If you are doing something because you feel that others are judging you or you are comparing yourself to others then maybe you should let it go.
Social media has made it all too easy to compare ourselves to others. Throw in the amazing ideas found on Pinterest and it can feel impossible to break away from the idea of perfection. Consider whether your pursuit of perfection is helping or hindering your life, happiness and relationships.
I have been there. I know what it’s like to be striving for perfection for the wrong reasons. For each of my kids’ birthday cakes I try to make something fun and creative with a character or theme of their choice. We don’t throw big expensive birthday parties or invite lots of people, so making an exciting cake is how I make their birthday celebration special.
There have been times when I have thought to myself “wow, everyone is going to be impressed with this cake”. Then I remind myself I’m not making the cake to receive compliments or accolades, I’m making the cake to do something special for my child.
Know Your Limits
Know your limits and strive to do your best. I know that I am good at crafts and creative things, so I try to do a good job at those kinds of things. I always have lots of creative ideas for baking, cooking, sewing, crafting and home decor floating around my brain. Usually the idea in my head is something I can create.
On the flip side my house is usually in some state of disarray. I don’t live in a pig sty, but I know other moms who have much tidier houses than mine. I would love to have a spotless super organized house, but I know my limitations.
For me it’s more important for cleanliness than organization. I let the organization go a bit. Sometimes it makes me crazy when there is stuff everywhere, but honestly if I take 10 minutes to do a quick tidy and the appearance is uncluttered than that is usually good enough for me. I tend to not concern myself with drawers piled to the brim with random stuff. If I can’t see it, it’s good enough.
Spending time and energy to be perfect will lead to stressful, unhappy parenting. Think about what you do well and what is important to you as a mom and be willing to let go of mom guilt. Focusing on what’s important will leave you with time and energy to be the mom you want to be for your kids.