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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Confessions of a not so perfect Mama

Perfect. It used to be what I strived to be, as a Mama and as a person. Boy, is that a lot of pressure. Now I sit back and watch other moms strive for what I gave up. They are the moms who are constantly stressed, frazzled and freak out about the smallest details. I used to be there so I recognize all of the trappings of living life like that. My kids used to have to be dressed perfectly. The house used to be perfect, all day every day. God forbid one little thing was out of place in our house...what if a friend happened to stop by? The problem was, I was so stressed out at not having perfect kids, a perfect house or being perfect myself that I didn't have many friends. I was too intense and scary. I wondered why I didn't have friends. It was because I was the screaming Mama behind the scenes but the one who had a smile plastered on her face in public. Those two personas don't mix well. Think Sybil...

I am glad I gave up my quest for perfection. It is exhausting and life sapping. It takes all of the joy out of life. I may still be intense and scary but I think most of my friends will agree it's a funny kind of scary. I can laugh at myself. I still don't like a messy house and I apologize about the state of my house if a friend does happen to stop by but at least now I have friends. It is a much better place to be.

I had to give up the quest for perfection. It was killing me and hurting our family. What kid enjoys having their mom yell at them because they are just being kids and playing with the toys we have given them? I venture to guess not many. I know my kids didn't like it. I had to give up the quest for perfection because it was teaching my kids so many wrong things. Perfection isn't attainable and I don't want to create an environment where they believe that perfection is a holy grail. I want my kids to embrace life...warts and all. I think they understand that. I have not given up trying to be the best person I can be (I do fail miserably at that sometimes) but perfection is out of the equation. I still have high standards and hold the kids accountable. What has changed is my ability to say "Oh, well" when I have tried my best to make things awesome and I just can't get that one last little, tiny detail done. The one who has benefitted from this the most, I think, is Claire. Daughters are the ones most susceptible to having to achieve perfection. Society foists that on them but that doesn't mean I have to. I am the not so perfect Mama and that is OK with me.

Oh for the love of my children...

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