I am a perfectly imperfect mom. I come from a long line of women like this — women who do their best, women who make messes, women who clean up those messes. Women who KEEP GOING. There are advantages of having a perfectly imperfect mom. Here are a few of them:
Perfectly Imperfect moms turn their mistakes into valuable life lessons
Around the time of my divorce, I said some vile things about my estranged husband to my children. I deeply regret having done this. I was in a great deal of pain at the time, and used poor judgement. After beating myself up about this for a (long) while, I decided to take a healthier approach. I apologized to my children. I explained to them that I was very sad and angry and should not have said those things, and that I would do my best to make amends by not doing that in the future.
Not long ago, one of my daughters called someone a nasty name. I said, “You know how I feel about name calling. That is not an acceptable word in our family.” Her retort was, “You’ve called Dad that!” I took a deep breath and was able to say, “That’s true. I have called him that, and I apologized for it. I also have not called him that in over 5 years now.”
Will I win mother of the year for not choosing to call my ex names? No. But in the real world of making mistakes and striving to do better, I am proud of this one.
Perfectly Imperfect moms are funny
One day the toilet in my house overflowed. In the midst of grabbing towels and starting to clean up the mess, I yelled “Shit!” at the top of my lungs. My younger daughter immediately scolded me for saying a bad word. I pointed out to her that I was literally cleaning up poop when I yelled that word, therefore I was making an accurate observation.
She asked if she could yell that word, too. I thought this one over, and said that whenever a toilet overflowed in our house, it was okay for anyone to yell “shit”, but that was the only exception to the rule. My kids both laughed with me and have now explained to their friends that you are only allowed to say “shit” in our house if a toilet overflows.
This rule works for me. It also entertains our guests.
Perfectly Imperfect moms do the right thing (even if they don’t do it right away)
When my older daughter was 2 years old, I once sent her to daycare wearing a perfect outfit — adorable yellow overalls, a new floral top, perfectly coordinated socks and new shoes. She looked like she could have been a 2 year old model. I was ridiculously proud of my feat.
When I picked her up that afternoon, she came out with a painting in her hand and exclaimed that she had made it herself. In addition to the paint that was on the paper, there was paint on everything she was wearing, including the shoes. When I saw her beautiful face grinning with pride, I had the presence of mind to take a breath and exclaim, “Cool! Can you tell me about your picture?”
After that, I sent her to daycare in appropriate play clothes, and expected them to be played in. I also said nothing about the paint to the daycare lady who made my daughter’s days safe and fun so I could earn a living. We both had more important priorities.
So the next time you start to beat yourself up for not being a perfect mom, take a breath and realize that there are no perfect moms. Think about the cool things that you and your children can both learn from your imperfections. Then hug the stuffing out of them (even if they are old enough to pretend that they don’t like it — because they really do).
Liz Possible is a Writer and Single Mom Extraordinaire. She lives in Minnesota with her two teenage daughters and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. “Possible” is her attitude, not her legal name — but then you knew that. Follow Liz at her blog at www.lizpossible.com and her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/MySingleMomLife/