So I was browsing through Parents magazine doing market research and came across the opening “Note from the Editor” for this particular issue. I was a little confused as I read how she labels herself a mediocre mom and stated that she fails her children in some way every day. The writer is the editor of a very popular magazine, so it’s hard for me to imagine she is mediocre at much.
She goes on to explain that this month’s issue is the “Imperfect Issue” and to tell every parent reading it that “you’re doing great.” She ends her note by emphasizing that what really counts is our daily effort and self-forgiveness.
So, I’m all for creating humor out of unfortunate events. I’m a part of more than one sarcastic parenting group on social media (more market research…) and I love a good Instagram post about cracking open a bottle of wine at 4 p.m. because #sahmlife and laughing with other moms as we share endless stories of our beloved little ones. I can’t get enough, really.
I also completely believe that it takes a village to raise a child. Our world is scarier than ever and our country’s culture has evolved into one that prioritizes privacy over the community vibe that used to help families and parents grow together and protect one another.
I value that so many women are starting to turn to each other, creating their own “tribes” and “villages,” even if that means via facebook or virtual groups. I hope that continues. I’m even more excited to see women stepping up in one way or another to celebrate our differences (from breastfeeding and baby-wearing to even the discussion of vaccines) as well as our imperfections and just call it out for what it is when #momlife is just plain hard.
What I struggle with is this idea of celebrating mediocrity and allowing this borderline-abusive self-talk in which moms are announcing that they are the world’s “okayest” mom or stating that they “fail their children every day.” Since when is a lack of perfection equal to failure?
I’m not disagreeing with this article or even the place in which the writer is coming from. I just want to hug this mom and remind her that, she is doing a great job and that there’s really no need to self-criticize to the point of labeling one as a failure. I literally winced when I read that sentence.
I know I’m hard on myself as a mom. I know that I’m hard on myself in general. As I grow as a mother, wife, woman, coach and student, I grow from the person I am in that day, not from who I was the day before. We are all constantly evolving and changing and learning, and that is something to celebrate.
Forgiveness is something to celebrate. Finding the good in a bad situation is something to celebrate. Being a mom who loves her children and exemplifies that love in every way she can every single day, that is something to celebrate.
Striving for perfection is a little silly when there is no such thing. But striving for your best, whatever that looks like for you, that, I can get behind. Just like we want to lift up our children and our friends, just like we learned a long time ago that negative self-talk or beating ourselves up doesn’t really help us on our journey to self-improvement, I feel strongly that telling ourselves that we are bad mothers—”and that’s okay!”—is really not that okay.
Talk to yourself as you would your child when they make a mistake and be kind to yourself, Mama. Every family has their own flow and it’s okay to do what works best for you, as long as it’s actually working for you. Let’s celebrate the small victories, let’s forgive our misjudgments and misfires and let’s learn from our experiences so that we can be even better at being who we are the next day.