Over the first few years of my child’s life, I tried to be the perfect mom, or at least what I imagined was perfection. I drove myself crazy and into depression, doubting my ability.
I was so afraid that I’d forget how long it had been since I’d given her the last dose of fever reducer. Or that I’d cause her permanent damage because I’d never used a rectal temperature before.
I judged myself mercilessly.
It all feels so silly now that my daughter is 23! Did I make mistakes? Yes. Did they ruin my child? Absolutely not! If only I knew then what I know now, I would have been a much more relaxed mom and enjoyed the journey of motherhood.
If I had been a better friend to myself back then, here’s what I would have said to me and what I want to say to you;
- You’ve made it so far. Before you became a mom, chances are you didn’t make mistakes that caused yourself or anyone else permanent damage or harm. You fed and clothed yourself. You were in tune with your needs and did what you needed to do to live life. When you didn’t have what you needed, you got help. You will use the same characteristics —such as resourcefulness, common sense, and asking for help — when raising your own child.
- Most of the mishaps you worry about will never happen. You know that most of what you worry about will never happen. And the rest is stuff you can’t control anyway. So, get over it, loosen up and enjoy the ride.
- Accept that you’re human. Okay, so let’s face it, there are no perfect moms . . . we all make mistakes, even the moms whose homes don’t look lived in and whose cars don’t smell like sour milk. Believe me, if you knew everything behind the scenes, you’d know they’re not perfect either. And if they’re honest, they’ll tell you so themselves.
Being a mother is on the job training. Sure, you can read books and some are helpful. But the truth is that the real learning happens between 2:00 a.m. feedings and your child’s first date. You learn as you go, just like the rest of us!
- You’re not alone. Let’s be real: we’re all afraid of something. So why not call a couple of your mom friends and share your fears over a cup of coffee. You know how much better you feel when you realize you’re not alone. You’ll probably even get some answers to that nagging question you have about teething and how to choose a day care.
- Perfection is not the goal. Breaking news friend: If you’re trying to be a perfect mom, you’re aiming for a target that doesn’t exist. See your mistakes as opportunities to learn because that’s exactly what they are. Stop getting up in your own grill. Lighten up on yourself. No condemnation, remember?
Wallow in a tub of bubbles, not guilt. You are a beautiful work in progress. You will continue to grow, learn, and be the mother your children need.
Here’s a couple of books I found encouraging. Treat yourself!
A Confident Heart Devotional: 60 Days to Stop Doubting Yourself by Renee Swope
Treasures for Women Who Hope by Alice Gray
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