I wonder how you do it all.
How you make it look so easy.
How you’re keeping it together.
Sometimes I see you at the grocery store picking up organic fruits and veggies with your hair blown out and makeup on and your organized shopping list neatly written out on pretty stationery and I wonder how I compare in my yoga pants and fresh face holding a crumpled up paper towel with scribbled reminders of what I need to buy.
And I wonder what you think of me.
Sometimes I look through my social media feeds and I wonder how you’re on vacation again and how good it is that you’re taking the time to put your marriage first and how do you afford it and how does your body look so awesome in that bikini after kids?
And I wonder if your life is as perfect on the inside as it looks on the outside.
Sometimes I hear about the incredible school lunches you pack for your kids and I see their matching monogrammed outfits they wear and I drool over every family photo you post because everyone is smiling and looking at the camera and I’m over here just hoping my kids don’t fight me on whether they’re going to wear pants today or not.
And I wonder if your day-to-day life always runs so smoothly.
Sometimes I watch you effortlessly deal with a tantrum and feel a twinge of jealousy when your child listens to your request the first time you ask. Sometimes I wonder if your kids ever talk back to you or you ever lose your patience.
And I wonder if you ever struggle with your kids.
But then I see a little crack. A tiny hint of imperfection, and I’m not going to lie—it calms and comforts me.
It reminds me that we’re all just doing our best to raise children who are happy and loved, while staying sane and happy ourselves.
This realness you’ve shown me reminds me that you struggle, too.
That you cry. That you doubt yourself. That you lose your patience. That you are not always put together. That you make mistakes. That you don’t always feel beautiful. That you feel overwhelmed at times. That you don’t know if you’re doing anything right. That you don’t have the secret recipe for balancing motherhood, marriage, work, friendships, and personal goals. That we share similar challenges and celebrate similar successes.
You’re not some perfect mother robot. And I know that. Because neither am I.
And so I want to apologize—to you, and to myself.
I’m sorry that I’ve perpetuated this perfect persona of you in my mind. I’m sorry because I have let it intimidate me, I have used it to misjudge you, and because—it’s just not accurate.
Perfection is boring and you’re so much more than that. You’re interesting and genuine and are going through a very similar stage of motherhood as me—and that’s really comforting to know.
I’m sorry to myself for putting the added pressure on my shoulders of keeping up with—or shaming myself for not keeping up with—this made up perfection of yours.
I seem to have the uncanny ability to pile expectations on myself easy enough, I don’t need to add to that pile by striving to be the ‘perfect mother’ when there really is no such thing.
‘Perfect mother’ is, in a way, an oxymoron. No mother is perfect after all, because all mothers are human, and part of being human is making mistakes.
As parents, a lot of our training and experience is gained while on-the-job. So there’s a lot of trial and error, and a lot of mistakes. But we learn and we grow and we move on to new parenting hurdles and we make mistakes and learn and move on again. It’s a constant cycle.
So remember that even though you may feel like you’re the only mother in the world who can never (no matter what it seems!) get herself and her children out the door on time or the only mother to feed her children chicken nuggets and mac and cheese three nights in a row this week—know that you’re not.
We are right there with you.
Because for every time that seemingly “perfect mother” dominates the healthy lunch game, her toddler has a meltdown over the broccoli on her plate at dinner time.
And for every time that seemingly “perfect mother” posts a romantic date-night selfie of her and her husband, she snaps at her husband about doing something “the wrong way” and then feels really bad about it.
And for every time that seemingly “perfect mother” looks like she is dominating the #MomLife with her cool, calm and casual attitude, she’s also crying in the shower when she allows herself to succumb to the feeling of overwhelm.
And for every time you think she’s perfect and you compare yourself to her, she wishes you wouldn’t.
Because she’s not. And you don’t have to be either.
And mostly she wants you to know that she just wants to be your friend—so you can connect with each other, support one another and enjoy the imperfections of motherhood together.