Before having kids, I didn’t really think much about the “type” of mother that I would be. I just thought a mom was a mom was a mom. Of course, I intellectually knew that there were different types of mothers and different ways of mothering, but I sort of lumped all mothers together. Plus, my perception of motherhood was limited to my own mom and other mothers in my family and local community. I figured I was around a bunch of good moms, so I would be a good mom too.
Fast forward to pregnancy with my first. I soon learned that there were so many decisions that would define the type of mother I would be. I was bombarded by all the research backed parenting methods and, thanks to the internet, an endless supply of mothers. Being a good mom was no longer the goal; I needed to be the perfect mom.
As an information junkie, I relished in taking in all the content on how to mother. I was determined to create the perfect mother by pulling all the right ingredients together. Then, I would simply follow that recipe for success.
One of the ingredients for my version of the perfect mother was an unmedicated birth. Then I got an epidural and before I even left the hospital with my two-day old baby, I was no longer the perfect mother. I had managed to fail my first assignment. In the four years since my first “failure,” I have continued to measure myself against this amorphous perfect mother. Even though she cannot be adequately defined, I know her as the mother that is always patient and respectful to her children, prepares all her own home-grown organic food, provides her kids with the best educational opportunities, but isn’t overly structured, never let’s her kids watch tv. She’s the mother with the kids that never get sick, the spotless home, a playroom full of heirloom wooden toys. And I can’t forget about her impressive career, while still spending lots of time at home. Really, her qualities are endless. Compared to her, I’m constantly finding myself falling short.
But on the quest to be the perfect mother, I often miss out on the opportunity right in front of me. The opportunity to be the mother I am.
I want to give myself permission to find peace in this mother. The one that I already am. The one that isn’t “perfect,” but is perfect for her kids. The mother who has infinite love for her kids, but doesn’t want to be around them all of the time. The one who keeps the house just clean enough. The one who can’t keep a Montessori playroom. The one who struggles with arts and crafts, but loves to bake with her littles, even when it means a cup of flour ends up on the floor. The one who keeps journals for her kids. The one who loves being outside, but isn’t bringing her kids camping. The one who practices gentle parenting and still loses her cool. The one who can never quite find the right balance of career and mothering. The one who shows up for her kids everyday. She has a lot of great qualities too. Here’s her permission slip to just be the mother she is.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “Permission Slip”.