Meet “The Perfect Mom.” She is always—and I mean always—happy to be with her kids. She packs their lunches perfectly and neatly, and she remembers to stick a cute little note in there every day. She breastfed her babies for the whole first year of their lives, because Breast Is Best. She takes them to school every morning and picks them up every afternoon—always on time. She has a smile on her face whenever you see her, and she’s involved in all of her kids’ activities: soccer, Girl Scouts, awards ceremonies, fundraisers, you name it. When Perfect Mom is on the job, you can count on her to do things, well, perfectly.
Do any of you know one of these perfect mothers, the ones who seem like they have it all together? The ones that make you feel just a little bad about your own motherhood? The insecure being that I am, I wonder a lot about whether or not I’m the best mom for my son.
Here are some of my mom insecurities and how I’m on the journey to accepting myself (just the way I am) as a bad-ass, amazing mother for Kai.
My Mom Insecurities
I don’t spend enough time with him
As you may have read in my previous blog, I am not necessarily the “fun mom.” I don’t like tickling and playing rough with my son, so I just don’t do it. That’s Garrett’s job, anyway.
However, because of this, I worry that I don’t spend enough time with him. I worry that Kai loves Garrett more than me. I work a full time job, and when we are home together, Kai’s usually playing alone in his room, making believe with his Lego and action figures, and I’m watching TV, writing, or cooking.
I sometimes wonder if I should be playing with him all the time so he won’t feel alone. I wonder if I should play rough with him, simply because that’s the kind of play he prefers.
One of the ways to combat anxiety and become more mindful is to create (and manifest) positive affirmations for the negative things you worry about. Here’s my affirmation to combat this insecurity: Kai loves me just the way I am. The time we do spend together is valuable simply because it’s the genuine me spending time with him, not faking or pretending to be a mom that I’m not. And as far as him playing alone, plenty of Only Children do it every day. There’s nothing wrong with him building independence early.
I’m too emotional
I can be impatient with Kai. I’m often very grumpy. It hurts to admit that I lose my temper way too often for comfort. (This particularly happens in the mornings because I am a stickler for being on time, and I would not want my seven-year-old child being my excuse for being late to work.)
I sometimes feel like I can be too mean and expect too much of him for his age. I get annoyed when he says he brushed his teeth or washed his hands after only being in the bathroom for 30 seconds. Did you really get yourself clean in that time frame?
My positive affirmation to combat this insecurity: Kids need tough love sometimes. When I give him high expectations, I believe it will lead him to a successful life. Someday, he will create high expectations for himself in school, his relationships, his career, and life overall.
I’m not involved in his school
Because I work a Monday through Friday nine to five job, I am definitely not involved in Kai’s school a lot. For one, they give such short notice on shit like awards ceremonies, and many of those things are during business hours. We can’t all be stay-at-home moms. And I don’t think the school gets that.
Sure, I can take time off work, but (here comes another insecurity), as a leader in my office, I’m sometimes hard on myself for taking time off, because I feel obliged to be there, to always show that I am present, reliable, trustworthy. (That’s a whole other blog post…)
But back to Kai’s school. I don’t bring snacks on the days they have parties. I go to the big awards ceremonies, and not the ones every quarter. Kai eats lunch at school because they offer it free to all students. But should I feel guilty about not being as involved as The Perfect Mom?
No, of course not. My affirmation to combat this insecurity: I do the best I can. Me working a full-time job provides for my family in a way that cupcakes for a classroom party cannot. I don’t have to be involved in absolutely everything in order for my son to love me.
Motherhood Is a Journey
When you have an anxiety disorder, it can often be difficult to just “let go” of the things that worry you. However, I encourage you, my mothers with anxiety, to take a second to think about all the things you do right for your family—which is probably a lot.
There is no such thing as the perfect mom. And it took me a while to believe that. I tend to compare myself to others a lot, in many aspects in addition to motherhood. But, letting go of those comparisons is just the first step in reclaiming your peace.
I am the perfect mom for Kai because I know his needs, the things that make him laugh, and I challenge him to be great. The “perfect” moms I’ve come in contact with do the best for their children. If I acted like them, it wouldn’t be genuine, and I’m sure Kai would take notice and think it strange.
Do what’s best for you kid, and don’t judge moms who do things different. We’re all in this together, trying to figure out this whole motherhood thing one day at a time.