A few years ago I was having one of those days/weeks/months where I felt like I was failing as a mom, failing as a wife, failing as a friend, failing as a daughter, failing as a business person, and so on. I just felt like I couldn’t juggle everything. I wasn’t doing anything to the best of my ability because I was trying to do it all. It seems like all moms struggle on a daily basis with trying to be “the perfect mom.”
I wrote a blog titled Your Perfect Friend last year in hopes of giving readers the satisfaction of knowing that most moms who may come across as your idea of “perfect” don’t always have it all together. I thought of another story that I thought I would share today to help those of you who may also be struggling.
During the time I mentioned above when I thought I was “failing” at everything, I also happened to go to confession at church. (Yes, the good Catholic girl in me does come out every so often!) As soon as I sat down in front of the priest I fell apart. There was finally someone who was listening to my struggles who I knew would not judge me. I couldn’t help but let the tears fall.
I told him about how I didn’t play with my children enough and how time was going too quickly and they would be teenagers before I knew it. I told him how I was doing an awful job of cooking dinners and keeping my house clean. I told him that my heart just broke for my husband because I always seemed to put him last when it came to taking care of everyone. I told him that I felt terrible about not visiting my parents more, but the calendar just always seemed to fill up too fast. I told him about my friends who were having marital problems and how I wished I could help them out more.
The priest let me finish my rambling (this sounds more like a counseling session, doesn’t it?) and then calmly asked, “Who is asking you to do all these things?” I looked up and just sat for a moment. He then said, “Who is putting the pressure on you to wear all of these different hats & be perfect at each and every one?” I still sat in silence as I answered his questions in my head … “Me.” I quickly realized what he was trying to tell me. I was the only one who was putting this pressure on myself. No one else expected me to be the perfect wife, friend, daughter, mother or career woman. Just me.
I left the church that day knowing that I would try to change my way of thinking. I would do my best at what I could and not try to make myself feel guilty about not being the very best at everything. I wanted to prioritize and put family, health and happiness above all else. The rest would fall into place. I don’t always follow this way of thinking, but I can definitely say I have improved!
I hope many of you are learning the same things as you grow into the woman you want to be. In many cases, I think it helps to redefine perfect. It helps to realize that our children look up to us and see how hard we work and don’t care about perfection. Maybe it would also help if we realized that we don’t need to stress ourselves out trying to be the “perfect mom” because in our children’s eyes, maybe we already are.