It’s okay, Imperfect Mama
I’ve laid my head down, feeling exhausted, finally at rest.
” I shouldn’t have yelled at the kids like that.”
” It’s just a house…why do I get so angry about a messy house? Why do I take it out on the kids?”
” I should’ve made Susie go and brush her teeth instead of giving up and letting her go to bed with dirty teeth.”
” I wonder if they’ll look back at their childhood and think I was a good mom? Or will they look back and see a mom who nagged constantly about a dirty house rather than sitting and cuddling with them?”
Hmmm…doesn’t seem very restful.
As a matter of fact, these thoughts keep me pretty exhausted even when my body is at rest.
Need Rest? Try this!
We, as mothers, beat ourselves up every day.
I hear it from other moms, too.
” You must think I am the worst mom ever just letting her get away with that.”
No, I think you’ve had this fight 25 times, today alone, and you just can’t have it anymore…until tomorrow.
” I’m sorry my house is such a mess. I promise I’m actually a clean person.”
I don’t think your house is dirty. I see toys, blankets, folded laundry…It looks like precious kids live here and they wear clean clothes.
“I’m actually not a monster…Sometimes the only way I can get him to listen is to get mean, and I feel terrible.”
I don’t think you’re mean or terrible. I think that if you heard me with my kids, you might actually think I am the monster.
It’s okay, imperfect mama.
We all do it. We fear the judgment of other people, especially other moms, and we over-analyze everything we do or say at the end of our day.
Yes, sometimes, we actually shouldn’t have said this or that to our kids over something so small.
But no one is perfect. We are all human with human emotions that we don’t always control very well.
Just yesterday, I told my kids to clean up all of the toys in the living room while I finished up the dishes.
They said okay (after some back talking), and had it done in less than 5 minutes.
I am always suspicious when they get a chore done so quickly, so I went to go check.
Yes, the floor was cleared, but the toys were piled high, looking so untidy, and what do I say to them?
“This looks terrible. You did not do what I asked you to do. I told you to put them up neatly. This still looks like a mess.”
I probably had a terrible face when I said it, too. Just ugly.
Have you done this?
Have you made a big deal out of nothing, and made your kids feel bad in the process?
I am pretty sure we all have.
But, let me tell you what happened next.
The kids went outside to play.
I stood there feeling terrible. I was in the process of thinking,
“I am the worst mother in the world, and I am going to cause my children psychological problems when they get older, and they’ll hate me, and they’ll blame me for every problem they have.”
Wow…I was a teensy bit overdramatic…Don’t you think?
I say overdramatic because I was still standing there, with my eyes welling up with tears no less, and my kids walk back in the house.
They were smiling…AT ME.
I gave a weak smile back to them, and they went into detail about something that had happened outside.
No mention of my “Terrible mother of the year” performance…
When I apologize, they say,
“It’s okay, momma.”
“No, it’s not okay. I shouldn’t have said that.”
“It’s really okay, momma.”
Then I say,
“I appreciate you for forgiving me so easily, sweety. But, it wasn’t okay, and I don’t want you to think behavior like that is okay. I want to apologize for it and try to be better.”
Then they say “okay” and probably don’t think about the conversation ever again.
Look, we may think our kids sit and analyze every tiny thing as we do.
BUT THEY DON’T!
Now, I’m not saying you can always yell at your kids, put them down, and hurt their feelings.
I truly hope that is not what is coming across in this post.
But, all of us have the slip-ups that we BEAT OURSELVES UP for.
Did you have a good childhood?
I hope so…
Did you have the absolute perfect mom who never, ever got aggravated with you?
No, none of us did because we all had human mothers.
But I guarantee that your mother went to bed beating herself up as well.
You didn’t know, though, because you had a good day.
You think she got aggravated at some point, but you can’t remember why.
Yet, she thought you’d remember forever.
It’s okay, imperfect mama.
Do you get your child in the bathroom to brush their teeth every morning and most nights?
Good for you, imperfect mama! You do at least get them to brush once a day, and a night here and there won’t rot their teeth.
Do you try to get your kids to eat something, somewhat healthy at least half the week?
That’s good enough, imperfect mama! It saves you from making every dinner a fight.
Was watching a movie on the couch all you did with your kids this weekend because you were so exhausted from the workweek?
Awesome, imperfect mama! I’m sure they loved the cuddles and quiet time with momma!
Did you say no to everything that they “just had to have” because you just didn’t have the money (or you felt they just didn’t need it)?
It’s okay, imperfect mama. They don’t need more stuff, they just need you.
Is your sink empty only half the time? Floors clean sometimes? Laundry clean, but wrinkly in the basket (or still in the dryer)? Bathroom counters wiped down with a baby wipe, and bathroom floor cleaned by wiping up the water mess from the kids’ bath?
Sounds like a clean enough house to me, imperfect mama! You were more present with the kids than constantly cleaning your house! (Because it would be CONSTANT if we tried to keep a SPOTLESS house outside of work…What kind of mothers would we be then?)
Just stop cleaning, and breathe!
We, as mamas, have to stand together and support each other.
That mother you’re talking to, she probably beats herself up just like you do.
She is probably ashamed to have you come to her house because she thinks it’s too messy. (When did the cleanliness of our home become a judgment factor in the kind of mother we are?)
She is probably thinking that you think she lets her kids run all over her…
That you think her kids are spoiled brats…
Or, vice versa…That you think she is too hard on her kids and she will mess them up royally one day.
Why do we think other mothers think this way?
We should just know that the other mother relates…that she knows exactly how you feel…that she knows what you’re going through.
Because MOST MOTHERS do!
But we think this way because, for some reason, there are battles between mothers.
The working mom vs the stay-at-home mom. (BIGGEST ONE)
The PTA mom vs the mom who forgets to even check their kids’ backpack
The busy, soccer (or any sport) mom vs the non-sport mom
I find it downright ridiculous.
We are all busy bees.
These battles shouldn’t exist.
The stay-at-home mom works just as hard as the working mom.
We, as working moms, don’t have it worse than the SAHM.
I’ve been the SAHM before, and it was downright monotonous.
Wake up, feed kids, take them to school, clean, play with younger kids not in school yet, feed kids snack, clean, nap time, wake up, pick up kids from school, feed kids snack, clean, more playtime, time to cook dinner, eat dinner, homework, bath time, bedtime…I never did find time to sweep and mop today.
Now, for the working mom.
Wake up, get ready, get kids ready for school, feed kids, drop them off at school/daycare, go to work for 8 hours, pick up kids from wherever they are, go home, cook, eat, clean, homework, baths, bed-time. I guess I’ll try to clean this weekend.
See, it’s busy, no matter what.
So that battle should just end now.
SUPPORT EACH OTHER.
The PTA vs the non-PTA…That one should just stop as well.
PTA moms, don’t judge the mom that isn’t as involved as you are. She might barely be hanging on. She may wish for more time in her day every day.
Non-PTA moms, don’t scoff at the PTA moms and think they have nothing better to do. I’m sure they do, but they choose to be involved, and that’s okay too.
Because we’re all imperfect, in some form or fashion.
So, imperfect mama, it’s okay.
Stop beating yourself up.
Just get up, be the best you that you can be.
Tell your kids you love them.
Be there for them.
Hug them…kiss them (even if they don’t want it).
And I promise that the mama giving them the hugs and kisses and saying I love you will be the mama they remember…
Not the one who had a slip-up…
Go to bed tonight, REST, and stop worrying so much! (This goes for me as well)
Daily Prayer could help you REST!
Go ahead, tell another mama how you feel.
You’ll get a, “Me too! I thought it was just me,” and let the supportive, relatable, conversation blossom.