While trying to manage life with my three littles under the age of 5, it isn’t always picture perfect. My house doesn’t look like a magazine, my kids may be unruly at times, and my table doesn’t always have 100% organic foods scratch made by me. And I am coming to the realization that THIS IS OK.
I don’t think it should be any secret, motherhood and parenting is hard. We’re always wondering if we are doing the right thing with our kids. Making sure we are raising them right. Making sure they’re growing enough and eating healthy enough. If we are engaging their mind enough. Are we ever doing enough? What it seems to come down to is insecurity, and we are torturing ourselves with it. The pressure we put on ourselves to be the perfect parent come with a lot of internal voices (or external if you tend to hang around the sanctimonious types) telling us that we are screwing up, further feeding those insecurities.
What comes first is what we are feeding our children. First thing we are hit with when they are babies is that “Breast is best”. Don’t give them any of that evil formula because, OMG, that is poison! Except if you’re a mom like me who has major supply issues, that “evil formula” is what keeps our babies from starving. But in the pressure to be the perfect mother, when you have trouble performing that ultimate motherly act of breastfeeding, the feeling of failure prevails. And so begins some of the major insecurity and self doubt in our mothering kills.
So continuing on with what we are feeding our kids, you absolutely MUST make sure that everything you are giving them is all organic, hormone-free, non-gmo, etc. Wait, you carefully budget and buying EVERYTHING organic is too cost prohibitive for you? OMG you are poisoning them! Well at least you don’t use plastic plates and tableware, don’t give them plastic sippy cups, or store any of your food in plastic containers. Wait, you don’t use ALL glass containers all of the time?? OMG, plastic! Oh the horror! You’re poisoning them!
Then, it seems we need to have our kids dressed perfectly… you know in adorable and always fashionable (and organic) clothing so they are ready for a photo shoot at a moments notice. You also need to make sure to have your house immaculate so you can easily take said photo shoot of your kids in “candid” fashion and simultaneously show off your gorgeous Pinterest-worthy home decor as well as your Pinterest-worthy kid photos. Wait, your kids aren’t perfect clean little angels that never mess up the house? And they don’t always keep their latest baby fashions clean and free of spit-up or stains? OMG, you’re doing motherhood all wrong!
What about the awesome kids enrichment programs and craft projects to engage their minds and expand their horizons. Of course, those craft projects always come off perfectly. Your kids are such talented artists ahead of their time. And of course, said projects are always perfectly mess free. Wait, your 2 year old doesn’t speak 6 languages and can’t even scribble remotely in the lines?? OMG, your kid is so behind!
Well you are babywearing your little ones until they are the age of 5, right? Wait you use a stroller some of the time? OMG, you are an attachment parenting failure!
Well you cosleep with your babies right? Wait, you DON’T cosleep and you sleep train? OMG, you are heartless! Wait, you DO cosleep? OMG, that’s so dangerous!
Had enough yet?
It’s a strange thing many of us do to ourselves as mothers, putting on the pressure to be perfect in nearly every aspect of motherhood. Through dozens of parenting books and websites, we get so many mixed messages out there to begin with on what is the right way to nourish, teach, and raise our children. Not to mention what we observe the other seemingly “perfect” moms, we get to thinking we have to be all things to everyone. The picture of perfect motherhood.
Really, when it comes down to it, who are we trying to impress? Other Moms? Are we letting the “Sanctimommies” get into our heads? Are we risking our sanity just to make lives picture perfect and Pinterest-worthy for others to see?
Can we stop this madness and just make sure that our kids are happy, healthy, well mannered, and keep them alive until it is no longer our responsibility to do so? Stop playing into the Mommy Wars, and stop judging others on the lifestyles and the choices they make for their own families. Other moms that make different choices or take different paths than you are not an indictment on your own lack of perfection.
I can certainly tell you, my (almost) 4 month old does not care a wit if she doesn’t sleep on an organic mattress blessed by monks and doesn’t necessarily wear adorable hipster approved, fashionable, organic clothing all the time. And my 4 year old certainly does not color in the lines at all, but I am not worried about his college prospects right now. My kids are clean, fed, happy and healthy, so I am doing my job ok so far. I am certain that I am going to fail sometimes. I am just trying to master motherhood the best I can, embracing my imperfections and all.