When I was working full-time, I always daydreamed about what I would do if I could stay at home full-time with my kids. I thought about our magical picnics outside, endless afternoons spent at the park and making homemade treats for Clint to enjoy when he came home from work. I envisioned my home spotless, finally catching up on the laundry and enjoying real, quality time at home with my boys. I never thought about how I would need to embrace imperfection as much as I have lately.
Now that I’ve been home for more than six months, the reality of what motherhood is really like outside of full-time employment has been an eye-opener, and sometimes has honestly completely overwhelmed me with guilt when my dreams are crushed by the imperfect reality I’m actually living.
A few weeks ago I started to feel pretty overwhelmed by the pressures of trying so hard to be a “perfect” mom to two little boys. I’d lay awake at night with thoughts like these running through my head:
- Are they going to the right school?
- Am I working too much? Too little?
- Are we eating too much junk food?
- Is Shep’s behavior out of control?
- Am I in good enough shape?
- Am I being a good friend?
- Do I have enough quality time with my husband?
- Will I ever have professional success again?
After a terrible stomach bug that FORCED me to lay in bed for way longer than I wanted to, I realized I can choose to try to pursue perfection, or I can embrace imperfection in motherhood and all the wonderful things that come with that freedom. I’ve really started to experience the joys of motherhood and my boys once I let go of what I think it needs to be.
A good example of this is when we went for our family pictures. I had planned the outfits weeks in advance and had bought Shep some some new Sperry’s. We got there and he was crying (understandably) because he got a blister on his ankle. I couldn’t make him wear them as the blister was bleeding, so I said forget it, and took off both of their shoes. Now when I look at the picture, I think about how we embraced our boys rather than striving for an image of perfection.
My reality isn’t picture perfect. In fact, sometimes outside picnics involve Shepard throwing his sandwich and Beau smooshing the peanut butter into the blanket. Sometimes playing at the park only lasts 10 minutes because it starts thunderstorming. Some days the best I can do for dinner is a frozen pizza because I had a last minute client deadline I wanted and needed to meet. My house is messier than ever before because we are always there and I gave up on laundry a very long time ago.
Embracing the imperfection of motherhood doesn’t mean you don’t strive for special moments and it doesn’t mean that you don’t have some of those extra special moments from time to time. But expecting perfection in all you do, and making that a qualification for happiness, is exhausting and impossible. And it’s a race I’m just not interested in running anymore. Are you?
Embracing imperfection in motherhood does mean:
- Striving to actively play with your kids even if your load of laundry is staring you in the face.
- Fluctuating between a few different sized jeans because an extra scoop of ice cream the night before was worth it.
- Understanding that not every date night with your spouse is going to be rose petals and slow dancing. Sometimes you both just want silence and cheeseburgers.
- Loving your child fiercely even when their behavior is appalling and embarrassing.
- Allowing yourself to really savor the special moments and experience the joy of your little children.
- Letting go of guilt when you can’t devote all day to your children. That laundry won’t fold itself.
- Embracing that every day has its good and its bad. It doesn’t define the entire day.
- Understanding that mom friendships can be complicated. It’s almost nothing personal. And quality is always been over quantity.
How are you embracing imperfection in motherhood today, dear friend?
On to the linkup!