Social media gives us all the opportunity to present our lives in whatever way we choose. You can almost fake your life, or at the very least filter it with a bubble of happy perfection. People generally go to Instagram for stunning photography, drool-worthy images of gourmet food and the occasional picture of their friends’ vacations, even their babies!
I am not a perfect mother. It surprises me when people tell me that this is their first impression of me. Because it is so obvious to me, so deep-seated, that I am not. Nowdays pressure on women is really high: we need to be perfect mothers, specially when Social media is full of “perfect mothers”… What can we do to be perfect? Basically NOTHING because you are already the perfect mother for your baby.
So, let’s make it fun and… What can we do to be imperfect?
1. Question ourselves whether we are doing the right thing.
It’s OK to apologise to our children for making a wrong decision. To show them how to try again. To illustrate how to make choices, to assess right and wrong, to be flexible and change.
To demonstrate how we can make ourselves a better person by exploring and rethinking and starting over… again, and again, and again.
2. Mothers do cry and they are angry (sometimes!)
Because each tear teaches our children how to allow their emotions space to breathe – and how to name their feelings.
Crying isn’t a weakness, it’s an expression of emotion. It clears a path. It brings people together.
3. A messy house is a MUST
It won’t win you any followers on Pinterest or Instagram, but it doesn’t make you a failure.
A messy house might be an illustration of where your priorities lie: a reminder to your children to value family adventures and being outside in nature over time spent ironing, dusting and cleaning.
Mess demonstrates the value of comfort and play over presentation. It creates a home where we accept that being healthy and happy is enough.
4. It is OK to take time for yourself
It can sometimes feel impossible to step away from your family. Because they are everything to you.
They need you, they can’t cope without you, and it’s your duty to be there for them every moment they might need you. The guilt can be overwhelming.
And then there’s the ‘to do’ list that never ends. The worry about what other people will think if you take time out for you. If you let go of all the ‘shoulds’ and rest instead.
Yet deep down, we know that at some point, our children will need to survive without us. There’s a way we can ease them into this: taking time out for ourselves gives them a gentle space to practice.
Even more importantly, when we rest, our children learn that it is OK for them to rest, to replenish, to take time to look after themselves. A vital lesson for a well-lived life. And what more do we want for them than that?
The lessons your imperfections teach your children may be different to the seven I share above. But your lessons will be just as valuable.
We are all imperfect mothers. Imperfection is inevitable. And it is also an opportunity.
We can’t stop being imperfect. But we can control how we react to our imperfections. And how we teach our children to respond to theirs.