Confessions of an Imperfect Mother

Submitted by an anonymous mother.

Italian mother hugging two children closeup b&w
Photo Monkey Mash Button|CC

I often struggle with the myth of becoming ‘the perfect mother.’ But I make mistakes. I don’t have all the answers. And often, I’m absolutely overwhelmed with motherhood.

By embracing my parenting faults, purging my guilt, and accepting my imperfections, I hope to become more accepting of myself as a parent, and more open to the parenting styles of others .

I confess that I have unrealistic expectations for my children.

I want them to be athletic, adventurous, creative, funny, smart, compassionate, handsome, (insert more glowing adjectives here). As Lemony Snicket would say: I envision my sons “ballplaying cowboy superhero soldier scientists” and my daughters “tap-dancing ballerina fairy princess veterinarians.” It sounds a bit ridiculous. My children cannot excel at everything.

My role in motherhood isn’t always to guide…..but to follow my children’s lead. Before I can help my children reach their own unique potentials, I need to modify my own expectations and see them for who they really are, not what I’d like them to be.

I confess that sometimes I feel closer to one of my children than another.

One of the unexpected things of introducing a sibling into the family is that emotions are often pulled in separate directions.

My bubbly, affectionate child is much easier to deal with than my grumpy, rather demanding one. I can naturally relate to the child whose personality and temperament is similar to my own. I’m shy, so I understand shyness in my child, but I have difficulty relating to the boundless social energy of my outgoing children.

For me, this is the most difficult aspect of parenting – learning how to adjust my natural instincts in order to meet the individual needs of each child. One child may be struggling and require extra attention for an extended period of time.

Fair, is not always equal, when it comes to good parenting, and loving your children unconditionally does not always mean relating well to them (or even liking them) at every moment.

I confess that I am sometimes judgmental of other parents.

Several of my best friends and I were pregnant together, having children just weeks apart in age. I breastfeed. They bottled. I C-sectioned. They natural birthed. I stayed-at-home. They decided to go back to work. I co-oped. They daycared. My parenting style is authoritarian. Theirs is…lax. On almost every parenting issue we seem to make completely contradictory decisions.

Well, if my decisions are RIGHT, does that make them…WRONG? I’m learning there are no right answers in parenting. We have slowly come to respect each other’s idiosyncrasies as parents, and often joke that we seek each other’s advice, so that we can do the opposite.

No matter what choices we make as parents, the most important factor is whether our heart is focused on our children. And in that one regard, I confess, I’m practically perfect!