As a mom, it can be so easy to find yourself worked up about trying to be “the perfect mom”. Questioning your parenting skills comes all too easy. Do you work too much? Are you cooking a home-cooked and healthy meal every night? Did you over-react to your two year old who just spilled a bottle of dark blue nail polish all over the carpet? Are you teaching your child things correctly?
We read books and articles about how to do everything and prepare ourselves for what’s to come (because let’s be real – none of us actually know what we’re doing) in an attempt to be as perfect as we can be. We have hard days where we question everything, and we have great days where we go to bed with a full heart and easy mind.
It’s no wonder, really, that we’re all over here trying to be perfect moms. After all, we just want what is best for our children. We want them to grow up knowing all of the information and skills while feeling backed up and supported by their parents. There is an information overload online giving moms the feeling that there is a special formula for how to do things correctly and perfectly to achieve the best life for our kids.
Having the goal of perfection caused me a whole lot of anxiety for a long time.
It wasn’t until I recently attended a funeral that I was able to see a different (and much needed) perspective on life parenthood. At the funeral, there was a 10-minute slideshow with memories from the deceased’s lifetime. The slideshow didn’t show him working at his job, cooking a Martha Stewart-approved Thanksgiving dinner, throwing a lavish birthday party for one of his kids, or showing a highlight reel from his social media pages. Instead, it showed the simple, every day moments of him engaging with his loved ones that illustrated his legacy of being a family man.
It was that moment that I realized I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to be present.
Being present is easy and difficult all at the same time. Being present means being fully engaged in the moment. As a mom, this means being aware of when and how I am using technology when I’m around my family. It means going outside and experiencing new things together instead of watching them on TV. It’s making traditions that revolve around togetherness. It’s even being mindful of my productivity when I’m working and when I’m doing other tasks so I can spend more time with the people I care about.
There is no cookie-cutter way of being a parent. What works for one family won’t work for the next one. And news flash–there is no such thing as perfection, and that is a beautiful thing. There is so much beyond our control but the one thing that is in our control is where our focus is in every moment.
Stop chasing perfection. Instead, focus on the simple task of being present.
Kids aren’t going to remember that you fed them cereal for dinner after a busy day instead of a home-cooked meal. And if they do, they probably think it’s cool to eat cereal. They are going to remember you playing catch with them in the back yard. These will be their memories:
- You teaching them about the different kinds of bugs in the garden
- Being in the front row and cheering loud in support
- Showing your goofy side and acting like a kid with them.
- Holding them when they hurt.
Next time you’re feeling imperfect, stop and think about the simplicity of being present. Do your kids know you love them and support them? Do they see your eyes looking at them instead of at a screen when you’re together? If so, you’re being perfect in your kids’ eyes. That’s all that matters.
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