Quit Playing Perfect Mom. Just Be Yourself

The pressures on moms to be perfect is just amazing. It doesn’t matter what you do, someone will say you’re doing it disastrously wrong. Maybe that’s why it’s such a habit for many moms to gloss over the problems they deal with and try to show a public face of being a perfect mom who can calmly cope with anything life and her kids throw at her.

Even tantrums and finding time for a shower.

I’ll admit some days are easier than others to be a stay at home mom. Keeping my sanity the day after the baby had cut a tooth and was up all night back when my kids were little was challenging. Especially if my feet found the LEGOS on the floor too early in the morning.

Many things are easier now that my kids are older. They rarely get me up in the middle of the night, and we have a playroom in the garage where they can make a mess if they want.

On the other hand, their activities are more demanding. The older two do archery, and competitions take up much of the day when they happen. Most involve travel. The youngest does Destination Imagination, which can also be quite time consuming and requires travel.

And of course, the emotional drama can be significant at times.

I’ve often felt that parenting doesn’t really get easier as the kids get older. It’s more that the challenges change. There’s still that pressure to be a perfect mom, whether you’ve decided to continue being a stay at home mom as your kids get older or not.

That’s why you should remember these things when you feel as though you aren’t the mom you ought to be.

parenting love

There Are No Perfect Moms

It can be difficult to remember that there are no perfect moms sometimes. You may read all these blogs where moms show off these great ideas they have and the wonderful things they do with their families. And of course most people’s social media posts make their lives look pretty good too.

Odds are that things rarely work out so smoothly for you. Or them.

Real life is full of challenges. Some days are much more difficult than others. And most of it is things that no one is going to share online for the world to see.

Don’t compare your life with what you see others post. You don’t know what else they’re going through.

I’ve had plenty of good times and bad times that I haven’t said a word about online anywhere. I think that’s true of most people. Even people who post frequently throughout the day don’t post absolutely everything that happens in their lives.

You Don’t Need A Perfect House

Keeping a clean house with young children can range from difficult to impossible. Little kids are messy, exhausting, and time consuming.

Not exactly ideal conditions in which to keep a perfect house, although some parents can manage it.

That doesn’t mean that you have to keep up. There will be times that your house is a mess. Laundry piles up. Toys are everywhere. It’s just plain hard to keep up at times.

baby with toys

My own goal for keeping house has always been to keep it sanitary, safe, and comfortable.

Having older kids helps, of course. They’re generally less messy and more able to clean up the messes they do make, along with doing their shares of chores.

With younger kids, start them out helping you in age appropriate ways. Toddlers love to be helpful! They may slow down your work at first, but eventually kids become a real help around the house.

And of course, if you’re married or living with someone, expect them to help out. You both live there; you can both clean it up.

Don’t Stress About Different Parenting Styles

Have you ever talked to one of those parents who believes that their parenting style is the only way to go? It can be pretty annoying when they criticize all the things that you do differently.

The great thing about kids is that most of them will turn out just fine, so long as you don’t abuse them.

Breast or bottle doesn’t matter so much to babies as being well fed does. Occasional fast food isn’t going to make them fat. And there are advantages for your kids whether you stay at home or put them in daycare.

Remember to not sweat the small stuff. Lots of things can be called small stuff if you think far enough ahead.

Never, ever, feel bad for saying you need a break from your kids. You may have this goal of being the perfect stay at home mom who loves every minute, but you need your breaks. We all do. That’s why people who work outside the home get regular 15 minute breaks and a lunch break.

Breaks are a chance to clear your head and relax a little. They’re a bit harder to get for stay at home moms, but you can take breaks and you deserve them.

Get out a little in the evenings or weekends without the kids and without running errands. Read a book or play on your phone while your kids play with their toys. Do your own thing for just a little while.

Needing time for yourself doesn’t make you a bad mother. Taking time for yourself  can help you to be a better one, in fact.

Send The Kids Out To Play

As your kids get big enough, make sure you send them outside to play without you. There comes a time when it’s much better for them to play on their own without a parent watching them directly.

The right age depends on a variety of factors, such as where they’re going to play, the overall safety of your neighborhood, and your child’s personality.

If you have too many doubts about the safety of this, I suggest you start reading sites such as Let Grow. In most areas, your kids will not be in as much danger as you may fear. The evening news may make you feel differently, but when you look at the facts, you’ll learn how rarely most problems happen.

girl on tree

Other parents in your area may be surprised when you first start letting your kids play out front on their own. I remember one time when my son decided to go for a run around the block when he was about nine or so. I had a neighbor knocking on my door almost immediately. He wanted to be sure I knew and was quite happy when I told him that it was routine.

Over time, my kids found the few other kids in the neighborhood, and started playing with them more, all because they went out on their own. They had more fun with the other kids than they would have had with me, and I got some peace and quiet. At least until everyone came running in demanding snacks.

If at all possible, let your kids walk themselves to and from school as well. That’s the biggest thing I miss about my old house was that it was an easy walk to school for the kids, while the current one is much farther. They still walk home sometimes, but only when I need them to, as it’s a pretty long walk.

Don’t Stress About Your Mistakes

And if you make a mistake with your kids, don’t be afraid to admit to it. We all make mistakes. You’re a better example for your children if they see that you can not only make mistakes but admit to them.

Forget perfection. Stop trying to be the mom who follows all the rules in whatever parenting style you prefer. Just do the best you can, be yourself and enjoy the ride.

There may be times that you yell. You might forget to bring your kids to that special events or to get a treat for their class. You could even lose track of time and be late picking the kids up from school when it’s too far for them to walk.

You’re not perfect. Don’t teach your kids to expect otherwise.

When you make a mistake, of course, apologize to them and try to do better, just as you’d expect your kids to do. That’s how they learn to do these things.