6.10.2013

The Pursuit of Perfection


I LOVE being a mom. It's seriously a dream come true for me. Even with poopy blowouts and being puked on and tantrums at the store, it's a wonderful life. However, ever since becoming a mom, I've been astonished by the world of (I can't think of a better phrase for it than this,) "mommy wars." Being a mom is so awesome. There is no job that I can fathom being nearly as rewarding. But it's also really challenging. And I feel like, at least from what I see, there is a battle between some moms judging each other that really gets in the way of mothers uniting together.

Bean and I went on a 2 mile walk the other day. It was a beautiful warm morning. Bean really wanted to walk and refused to ride in the stroller. For the first half of our walk, seriously, like a mile, she walked. What a little champion! There was a bakery near the mid-point of our walk route, and so we stopped by, and I let her pick out a pastry. As I strapped her into the stroller to ride the rest of the way home while eating her raspberry roll, another mommy running with a jogger looked at us and shook her head in disgust. For a couple of minutes, I felt really self-conscious, wondering if I was a terrible mom for letting my daughter eat a pastry. But then, I was able to snap out of it. I don't think that my physique is so terrible that I deserve looks like that for enjoying a treat with my kiddo, and the fact is, she doesn't know us. (I like to think now, that she was shaking her head because she was having an internal battle with her inner-sweet-tooth, longing for pastries of her own. Ha. But that's not the point.)

I definitely have strengths as a mom. Some are things that I perceive as positive traits myself, others are things that pop culture and the world consider good at this point in time. I feel like I am pretty patient, very affectionate, I buy organic apples and make fresh homemade meals for my family, we exercise often, we read oodles of books, I keep our house pretty tidy....etc. And then there are my "mommy flaws." I gave up on potty training after just a couple of days. I let Bean watch TV. When her asthma is acting up, or she or I are sick, we watch quite a bit of it. When I bake cookies I let her taste the dough. Multiple times. I can't even tell you how many times we go out and after couple of hours I realize that her face is messy from breakfast. When we play outside I don't always put socks on under her shoes, and I often will just let her run barefoot in the backyard....And I'm sure I'm missing things on this list too. Whether all of these are "bad" or "good" is debatable, but I'm sure there's something somewhere in this paragraph that you do better than me or disagree about or something. 

The point is, I am not the same mother as you; you are not the same mother as me. We have different strengths; we have different weaknesses. We are different, and that is awesome. Parenting styles are different, just as children are different. My daughter is part of my family because God sent her to us through her beautiful birth family. I have no doubt that God intended her to be in our forever family. And we aren't a perfect family, just like yours isn't. She will learn from my strengths and weaknesses just as your kids will learn from yours. Luckily, in the Lord's eyes, it's not about being perfect, it's about being your personal best. 

When we judge each other as mothers, we are forgetting that each of us has unique talents and abilities. I have had other mothers ridicule me for having a clean house, saying that I must have so much free time, and such an easy kid, or be negligent in order to have a clean house. No! I have a clean house because I work my tail off cleaning it. It's (somewhat of) a priority for me. Just like limiting screen time for your children may be a priority for you (kudos, seriously, I admire that!), while for me personally, it's not as much of one. We are different, and it's alright. Rather than getting caught up feeling threatened by others' strengths and weaknesses, I propose we try for something better. Let's celebrate what we all have in common: we love our kids. We love them ever so much, and we are doing the best we can for ours. The nuances of what's best for my kid won't be the same as what's best for yours. And none of us are perfect. But the big thing that all kids need is love. If you're doing your best, and doing everything you can to love your kid as God would want you to, you're doing great. So let's ease up and remember what matters most. 

8 comments:

  1. You are so right! I feel that it has gotten excessive in the last year with all the "Dear so-and-so.." blog post and articles. We need to only worry about other peoples lives and families when it is helping and lifting them up and the rest of the time we need to just worry about our selves and our families.
    I was telling my husband the other day that recently at parks or activities I have ended up talking to dads because our kids end up playing together and how I feel way less judged when talking with them. And it is sad that I get kind of clammy and nervous every time I start talking to a mom.

    Brenley

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  2. I love this post. Just the other day I was talking to my sister-in-law about the feelings of being judged by other moms, particularly at church sometimes. It is one of my biggest pet peeves when I see or hear moms giving advice to other moms or especially new moms as if there is only one right way of doing things. It's like moms are out to make all other moms feel guilty about something in an attempt to feel less guilty about something themselves. It's probably because as moms we all tend to feel guilt about one thing or another, whether we should or not, and for some reason the natural impulse is to judge others in an attempt to feel less guilt. It's so wrong and so unhelpful! In my 2ish years as a mother I have really tried to embrace the attitude that it just doesn't matter what other women are thinking of how I do things, and to try not to think judgmental thoughts of other women, but it is a daily struggle sometimes that would be a lot easier if all of us could realize our differences.

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  3. I shared this with a couple of my friends I hope you don't mind. I love your perspective I needed to read this.

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  4. AMEN!!!! P.S. I am jealous of the tidy house you keep:)

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  5. Lanette,
    I loved this post! It's so true, and it's one of the reasons I hate Facebook. (We're it seems like a lot of people's lives appear perfect.) By the way, I let my kids eat treats and watch TV too. :) I totally agree that as long as we love our kids and don't do anything majorly wrong, they'll be fine.

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  6. I agree with this, 100%! And I feel like not only do moms judge other moms, but we compare our children too... like if they've met certain milestones or whatever first, they're somehow better or smarter than someone else's kid? Not so. I'm guilty of occassionally thinking judgemental or comparison thoughts myself, but ever since my whole experience of having to stop breastfeeding when Ava was a few months old I have been especially aware of how much "mommy wars" really do exist, and how they need to stop because no child and no mommy are alike. Anyway, love this post, thank you for writing it!

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  7. I'm so glad you realize your strengths! They far outweigh the other ones in importance so just keep up the good work of being a great mom!

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  8. I just read this today. Thanks Lanette, that was just what I needed to hear. Keep loving your kid, and I'll keep loving mine. :)

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thanks for commenting!

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