If you’re wondering how to be a good mom, try this conversation out! “Daddy, is my pasta finished cooking yet?” “Almost, kiddo,” my husband tells our 4-year-old as she looks suspiciously, eyes narrowed, toward the stovetop. “No, it isn’t, daddy. If it’s almost done, where is all the smoke?” she asks. I look up. “Oh, honey, daddy is cooking tonight. Not mommy,” my husband replies with a smirk. “Yeah, Ava. There’s only smoke when mommy is cooking,” offers our 7-year-old.
I’m left with two options. I can get upset, cry and throw a fit asking my family to please be respectful and nice and not make snide comments about my cooking. After all, I work from home all day long, I take care of our four kids and I have a spotless house kept at all times. There’s nothing that’s not done to perfection around here on a regular basis and I deserve a little respect for that, right?
Or, I can laugh it off and nod my head in agreement while I playfully swat my husband and tell him to be nice. I chose the latter when this exact conversation took place but a few weeks ago. Cooking is not my forte. I’m all right with that. I’m an amazing baker, a great wife, an awesome mom to four cute kiddos and I’m a bit of an obsessive compulsive neat freak. I’m a lot of things, but perfect is not one of them. So I can’t cook. My husband can. I can order food and I can pick up dinner on my way home from picking the kids up from school like no one’s business.
I’m turning 32 next week, and guess what? I’ve learned to embrace my imperfections. While they might have bothered me at one point in my life, I’m good with them now. I’m okay with being perfectly imperfect – and guess what? It’s made me a really good mother. Actually, it’s made me a really great mother. A perfect mother? Not a chance. But learning to embrace my imperfections has really done wonders for me. There was a time in my life when I didn’t have the confidence to do that, and it made me the kind of mother that was unsure of herself and not really as present as I should have been. There was a time when my decisions as a mother would have given me anxiety and they would have made me second guess myself and even feel ashamed.
But now? Now, I’m good with my imperfections. I embrace them. I embrace the sometimes anal, very uptight, funny, sarcastic and not always likable person that I am. I’ve learned to focus on the good qualities I possess and ignore the ones that I’m not so thrilled about. I’m not perfect. It’s always funny to my when people tell me that they thought I was perfect when they first met me. It’s because I’m vain and I always take the time to straighten my hair and put on my makeup and I always dress nicely – you won’t see this mother out in tennis shoes and workout gear. I don’t feel confident when I don’t look my best, so you won’t see me like that. It throws me off. Call me vain, call me selfish and tell me I’m not spending enough time with my kids – I dare you. I spend plenty of time with my kids. I wake up two hours before them so that I can work and do all my vain things without cutting into our morning routine. I don’t care.
I’m no longer that mom without confidence. I’m good at what I do, and I’m not perfect. I’m also not afraid to admit it. I’ve learned that embracing my imperfections is making me a better mother. It’s made me calmer, more relaxed and a lot more capable. So, what are my imperfections? Well, I have so many I could never list them, but I can give you a basic rundown of my biggest imperfections and show you just how far I’ve come and explain to you why these things make me a better mother.
I don’t feel confident if I don’t look good
I’m a terrible cook
I can’t leave the house if anything is out of place or even remotely messy
I have little patience
I have a temper
My kids make me crazy
My husband makes me crazy
I’m a perfectionist
I’m not a good homework-checker
I hate playing games with my kids
I don’t love taking my kids out in public
I don’t like most people very much
I’m quietly judgmental
I’m speed – a lot
I have road rage…
I could go on. But I won’t.
There was a time when I would have looked at this list and been ashamed of these things. There was a time when I would have kept our bi-monthly date nights to myself because I was afraid that other people would think I was a bad mother for leaving my kids. Now, we date night happily and very publicly. I’ve learned that admitting that I like to be away from my kids a few times a month for a few hours is not a problem. I’m not a good mom if I don’t take that break. I’m happy to admit that. When I feel my little bit of patience escaping me, I’m ready for a date night. I will reign it in and get out. I’m not afraid to admit when I need a break. I’m not afraid to admit my flaws so that my husband can offer me some help. I’m not afraid to be imperfect.
Now I have more patience with my kids. I find that I’m not so uptight about certain things now that I’m willing to admit that they are a problem for me. I find that I no longer seek perfection and that “Stepford Wife” ordeal. I’m happy to look like one and perfectly happy not to be one in the least. I’m not a make my husband his plate kind of wife. I’m affectionate and loud and opinionated and I’d rather just enjoy the moment than stress – and I can admit that these days because I know it makes me a better person to admit my flaws, embrace my imperfections and focus on what I am instead of what I am not.
That’s what makes me a pretty awesome mother. Just ask my kids.
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