Embracing Imperfection

Have you noticed how hard women are on themselves? I think sometimes it manifests in our being hard on OTHERS, but the truth is, sometimes we want so badly to be perfect mothers, that we forget something....

That sometimes a good enough mother who accepts her failures is better than one who is trying so hard to be perfect that she can't stand herself any more.

I don't want to be negative, but let's be real. Here are some things I have noticed.

~Being a good mother is hard- strike that- being a good PERSON is hard. ~ Add in a few kids, the stresses of money, marriage, illness, work, and just the normal day in and day out moments of LIFE, and all of a sudden you might find yourself doing some things you thought you would never do.

Maybe you thought you would never:
Raise your voice
Get angry
Want to walk away from it all
Lock everybody out of the bathroom
Want some time with nobody attached to your breast, leg, arm, shoulder....
Cry out of sheer frustration
Wished they would get older faster

(I would go on, but I don't want to depress anybody.)

And then life happened. Maybe you noticed after one child, maybe two or three or four, or more, that you were no longer perfect at this mothering thing. It turns out it is easier to be a great mother with no kids. You did things you never thought you would do. You thought and felt emotions that you knew you "shouldn't". You were not enjoying things like you thought you should.

And if your own guilt wasn't enough, everywhere you turn there is somebody mentioning something that they would "NEVER" do that you have of course.....DONE! Ouch.

I have a secret to tell you.

Nobody is perfect. It is true. Sometimes we are so caught up in what other people are doing right that we forget what we are doing right. We forget that life happens and we don't always happen the way we should right along with it.

There is good news though. That is OK. Imperfection is OK. In fact it is required, for now at least.

"In short, we develop the courage to be imperfect as we strive for perfection (wholeness) in our lives. When we view ourselves and others through our spiritual eyes, we become more tolerant and forgiving of imperfections. " A. Dean Byrd

I believe firmly in striving for perfection in myself for the long term. But I also know that women drive themselves crazy expecting perfection in the now. It is not going to happen. You are not going to be a perfect mother. That shouldn't depress you either. It should liberate you, to enjoy the imperfect moments rather than dwell on how much better they should have been.

We watch movies. Right? How do movies end? Couple meets. Funny, sad, hard stuff happens, and then....they get married and live happily ever after. NOT. Where the movies end is where real life starts. Movies can have a perfect ending, because they are not showing the next day. The next day that involves real life things like bowel movements, houses that don't stay clean, illness, poverty, fights, and dealing with kids who don't react the way we planned they would. Real life also involves mom acting ways we didn't plan she would.

I know we are programmed by the media to want, even expect, a happy ending every day of our lives. But this is simply not REAL. But it is OK.

Stop comparing yourself to others. They have problems too. Stop comparing yourself to the perfect version of yourself that you don't measure up to. You are working on her. She will be awesome, but she will take some time. What she learns about herself on this journey of imperfection, yelling, failure, and humility is what will make her great. When you look back, you will be grateful that you got to know her.

“Comparing yourself to others can … result in either feelings of inferiority or superiority. … Accept yourself as the unique person that you are without comparing yourself to others. Doing this will help you love yourself properly without conceit” Clark Swain

A little insanity, a little humility, some failed expectations- this is all just part of the ride of life, not just motherhood. You still get to love who you are, even when you are not perfect. Messing up along the way, it is not just fine, it is normal.

Embrace the imperfection. Embrace the insanity. Embrace yourself and your flaws and the person that you are becoming. Becoming great is hard work. Now go sit by the pool and relax for a minute. You deserve it.


violinwidow said…
I really really liked this post. It's so true!
thank you for posting this - it struck me to the core. I struggle so much on this and in fact feel that I waste so much brain energy trying to be perfect; this was truly a blessing
mommyhigg said…
This helps me to remember to let go! Tomorrow is a new day and in the long run, I will be a better mom. I'm a better mom already by recognizing my faults and apologizing to my kids when I react and yell at them because I'm out of control. I'm a better mom because I'm getting help and being open to others about it. thanks!
Thank you I REALLY REALLY needed to hear this right now. I've been in such a vicious cycle, one day seems great, the next horrible and I am watching myself saying and doing things I never thought I would say or do, and then the next day it's like, I've got this thing down pat. It's a constant rise and fall, and it's so hard emotionally to keep holding on to that idea of perfection that I keep missing over and over. I really needed to be reminded of this, that I am coming together too, and it takes time, love, patience and humility.
Terri said…
Woah - did you write this just for me? :-) I'm such a perfectionist and give myself a really hard time when I mess up on my expectations. And I've had a really screwy few days which made me think I was a terrible mother but really I was just me...needing some time without breast being sucked, arms and legs tugged on and hearing 'MMMMAAAAMMMYYY' every 5 seconds. Phew! I'm letting myself off the hook, keeping it real - still striving for perfection and letting it slowly unfold :-) Thanks for this and all your other awesome posts that I read but don't get a chance to comment on xx