I am the perfect mom and so are you. Perfectly chosen for your kids. Whether one, two, 10, and all the angel babies in between, you were chosen to carry and be mother. Whether through adoption or random circumstance, the kids in your home, under your care, make you the perfect mom. Rarely have I heard a mom friend say that they didn’t shout “I just can’t do this!” while in labor or preparing for the arrival of their child earth side. That phrase will probably continue as your child suckles on raw nipples during a 3am feeding; throws a roaring tantrum during their school play; gets called to the principal’s office for calling their frenemy a “dirty word;” or looks you in the eye and says “You’re the worst mom ever!” Throw them that sly half mom smile that says “I have your number.”
Then straighten your halo and go on being the perfect mom.
Even if you have said “I can’t…” and feel guilty afterwards, you know deep down that you can. You’ve done this mothering thing when others have said you couldn’t or shouldn’t. You’ve bent over backwards, selflessly, to provide for your child emotionally and physically with everything you have. Perfection probably is not even your goal; “surviving” is the adjective I’m seeing the most tied to mothering.
Let’s break it down. Chosen by definition means “having been selected as the best or most appropriate.” I have had very insightful conversations with other moms about how this choosing happens. As a little girl I truly thought that a stork dropped a baby off at the hospital. All that changed after seeing my first baby cousin in the hospital nursery and my big cousin looking a bit haggard post delivery. Did the stork mess up her hair and cause the sweating on the way down to drop off baby? As an adult mom, my foundation is that my Creator knew exactly what children I would be mothering and saw me as the perfect fit.
Perfect. What’s your definition of perfect?
Does the word hold a lot of expectations? Single momma-hood led me to believe perfection was within reach when baby was clean, not crying, fed, healthy, and happy, all while I juggled a job, school, clean clothes, big smiles, and life. Those expectations quickly shattered when I realized that I couldn’t do it all. So if perfection isn’t in the doing or the being, should I change my adjective and say we are just “okay moms.” Nope, still perfect.
What if we set aside what was meant to be alongside what is. Meant to be: happy babies. What is: colicky, non latching babies because apparently you have inverted nipples. Meant to be: kids that rise up and call you blessed. What is: kids that fall out of bed, whining from the moment their feet hit the floor. Meant to be: community of support. What is: other half-asleep moms who forget to call to check in and mothers-in-law who say they will babysit but then take back the offer to instead have a quiet, light brunch.
How do we take what was meant to be, veer it away from what is, and mesh in the middle? We drop the expectations. Look around where you are at right now. Before becoming a mother, is this what you expected things to look like? Merriam-Webster defines perfect as “Being entirely without fault or defect.” Yeah, let’s skip that and go to plan b, or in this case definition b, “Satisfying all requirements.” That’s better!
What’s required of you as a mother: show up as often as you can, look after the health and well being of your child, offer advice, and lead by example not just by words. I’m sure you can add or take away as needed. What makes the difference between a mother of her first child (planning all organic meals made from scratch), to the third (going to bed at night wondering if they even ate one entire meal that you set before them)? Expectations were lowered and the ruler of what a mother should measure up to got lost along the way. Perfection became less of a trophy where not everyone gets the #1 spot. Perfection is contentment just where you are.