The following is a contribution from one of my local mommy friends …..
Recently, I was sitting in a local Starbucks. A young college student came in and my heart went out to her. As I sat with my latte and computer, I heard her begin to describe her stress to the clerk specifically the huge academic load that she carries. Her backpack is filled to the brim, weighing her down – leaving her physically and seemingly emotionally drained. As she leaves with her drink to bring a sense of comfort (and/or a jolt of caffeine for studying) , it begs the question of 21st Century motherhood. Should this young girl decide to have a family one day, I wonder what the path will look like for her . Will the stress from deadlines, expectations, and social demands simply transition from one stage of life to another? The endless demand for perfection and performance complete with comparison and criticism don’t evaporate after college or one’s first job. While relationships, marriage, and children don’t come with required readings, term papers, or official grades, we definitely want to succeed in our family life as much or more as we did in our studies and at our jobs. Yet, with commitment to “doing your best”, it’s often difficult to know when to try harder and when you’re already doing a darn good job. Perfectionism can be paralyzing-especially at home. What works in school and at work often backfires in our very homes. Being really uptight about deadlines and grades works great in college-being uptight because your spouse forgot something or your child made a B in science may not go over as well and may well harm the relationships in the process. Where does it end?
Perhaps the endless cycle ends now. Perhaps the time is now to put an end to the unrealistic demands we have of ourselves, our children, and others. I know sometimes I ignore the 20 things I DID accomplish on my list and focus only on the thing I forgot to do. ”How could I have forgotten that-argh!” is something I have said to myself more times than I care to admit – yet I tell my daughter that no one is perfect. Moms aren’t perfect and we put SO much pressure on ourselves to “get it right” whether it be remembering to sign up for a child’s sport on time or volunteering at school or trying to look happy and relaxed after a long day at work while helping your child with homework (and likely doing laundry or dinner simultaneously). Don’t even get me started on Mommy Guilt.
Perhaps now is the time to finally embrace the fact that while we can do many things, we can’t do everything-at least not at the same time. Perhaps now is a good time to encourage one another to utilize the gifts we have rather than criticize another’s faults. Perhaps now is the time to revel in the moment of doing good work in whatever situation we find ourselves. Let’s put the Comparison Game on the playroom shelf for good. Perhaps now is the moment to breath a little easier because of the acceptance we find in ourselves. It makes it much easier to then apply that same acceptance to others. Yes, indeed. There is no time like the present.
Have a perfectly imperfect day moms!