I have always had a slightly perfectionist nature, but I completely unraveled after my daughter was born. I never wanted to do anything better than I wanted to do motherhood and I slowly, but surely, began to put an unrealistic expectations on myself. Not only did I want to do everything I thought ‘good moms’ did, I wanted to do them perfectly. I wanted to be organized in every aspect of life. I wanted to have a homemade dinner on the table 7 nights a week. I wanted to be at church every Sunday with my hair done and a touch of makeup. I wanted to attend every single story hour at the library.
I quickly began failing my own expectations and I struggled to accept how difficult it was to meet them. I resented the fact that only parts of my house were organized. I felt like a failure asking my husband (who loves to serve me) to make dinner because I was just too tired. I saw myself as a hot mess when I looked in the mirror before leaving for church with hair that hadn’t been washed in three days and no signs of makeup for weeks. I convinced myself, without even trying, that I was a less of a mom because I couldn’t get to story hour every week as a stay at home mom. Ironically I was frustrated, irritable, and exhausted with the people I wanted to give my all to.
As I sit here and type out the reasons I too often feel serious mom-guilt, I realize how ridiculous they sound. But I know deep down there are things in your mommy heart that you feel you fail at more than any other mom around and you too carry a burden of not being able to do everything perfectly for your people. You may struggle with being a perfectionist or succumb to self-sustained pressure from the comparison game. And it’s not even as if you woke up one day and said, “I’m going to put immense pressure on myself to be a perfect mom so that I can feel guilty all the time and carry a heavy burden around just for fun.” It happens in the trenches of life. And that’s where we need to have grace for ourselves. Even our perfect Creator has grace enough for all of us. Why can’t we be gracious with ourselves in our imperfections?
I’m thankful for the inspiration I gain each day when I look at my daughter’s little face to be an excellent mom. But just as I realize my daughter can act like an angel and the spawn of Satan simultaneously, I see how we’re all beautiful dichotomies. No one is good at everything all the time, although some moms fake the part pretty well. I want you to stop right now and repeat after me out loud. Yes, I’m serious. Right now. “No one is good at everything all the time.” Repeat it as many times needed until you begin to believe it. As moms we must embrace this phenomenon and show our little ones how to live imperfectly perfect.
Momma, you are exactly the mother your children need. God didn’t make a mistake in creating YOUR children in YOUR womb. He also knew exactly which child he’d give you a heart for at the adoption or foster agency. Stop trying to be all things perfectly and instead embrace being both in everything. How would life change if we embraced the dichotomy that we are? Can we join together as women and let “being both” be our anthem of motherhood? We are the leaders of the next generation who are both frequently un-showered yet beautiful every day. We try to be patient but blow up at seemingly insignificant situations. We love our children, however are excited to get back to work after a long weekend battle attempting to keep the flu contained. Our houses are being partially organized and most nights there is a hot meal on the table. There is joy and laughter to be had as we consider what a crazy sight it is to see someone trying to be everything perfectly, so in our hilarity, cheers to being both, momma.