Hi, my name is Abbey and I am a perfect mum. My children are exceptional young people and they are extremely intelligent. I have taught them to be strong and aware of their feelings and to consider the environment and other people.
People often make comment about how fantastic I am doing and ask me for advice. I give a lot to other people and I am a great friend. We recycle in my house.
I exercise almost every day and spend a lot of time with my children. I am involved in a few businesses and I am great at what I do.
I am a deep feeling individual and sometimes life gets the better of me. Sometimes I am super happy and have a tonne of energy. Sometimes I laugh at inappropriate things, I have been known to giggle when my kids hurt themselves.
I have sworn before and my kids have copied me. I have bribed them once or twice or two hundred times and I have used the Television so I could have a break in the toilet to look at my phone and have some time out. I don’t repurpose all of my kid’s clothes and I know that I should.
I have hit my kids heads on walls, with my elbows and on the car door while trying to put them in their car seat. I have had to leave the room to take a breath because I couldn’t settle my children and I didn’t know what to do.
Sometimes, I am so tired that I cry and looking at the state of my house makes it worse. Sometimes I don’t get everything achieved that I want to get achieved. My five-year-old has called me a bad mum and has told me that she doesn’t love me on more than one occasion.
Did I tell you that I also very rarely look spectacular and my hair is often out of place? Sometimes I sneeze and my nose runs, heck, sometimes I even pass wind (shhhhhhhh) and blame it on my kids. Sometimes I pass wind and direct it at my kids and we all end up laughing about it.
My first daughter has more photos than my second and my second daughter’s milestone book has barely been touched. My children tantrum in public and make a mess with their food. They can be space invaders and not realise that they are annoying other people.
(Do you see what I did there?)
I am an imperfect mother. Some days I am a better mum than I am on other days. Some days I make mistakes. Sometimes I make consecutive mistakes on consecutive days. I am also a damn well great mum. I am perfect for my children.
THE PRESSURE TO BE PERFECT IS NOT REAL
“There is just so much pressure to be that perfect mum, raising the perfect kids”, my friend, business partner and mumma of two gorgeous and hectic twin boys said to me over a glass of wine and some high calorie cheese and biscuits.
“My kids wanted Weetbix out of the box for dinner the other night, so I gave it to them”, I replied. “I also find myself constantly excusing the state of my house to people that come to see me and not my house”.
We are confident women, we know that this is unnecessary, so why do we do it?
You all know what I am talking about. You have all felt the need to be the perfect mum. You have all had moments when you have made a mistake in public or your kids act out and you look around to check for the piercing judgemental looks to be thrown in your direction.
Not to mention that the Perfect Parent Facebook syndrome can feel confronting and at the very least, downright rudely pervasive at times.
So why is it so important that we drop the shame and be okay with being perfectly imperfect?
YOU ARE YOUR CHILDREN’S BENCHMARK FOR REALITY, A POSITIVE SELF-ESTEEM AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN
Our kids are now in a world where ‘real life’ is a hard reality to find. Social media allows people to choose certain aspects of their life, publications depict a false image of what we should and shouldn’t do, look like, feel, behave.
And the fact of the matter is that many of our children will turn to TV, magazines, the internet and social media as evidence about attractiveness, a source of inspiration, and to look at how other people live their lives.
Lets get real mums, you only have to look at the difference between celebrities such as Marilyn Munroe compared to the average US model who is now 15 – 20% under what is considered a healthy body weight to realise that there is a huge disparity between body “types presented in the media and body types that represent the reality” of the rest of the population.
Studies are showing that kids as young as 8 are suffering from body issues and a lot of these issues stem from social media. There are many studies that suggest that social media has the potential to effect mental health.
In Marketing; likes, comments and follows are a currency. They have value. It is called “the economy of attention”. And this is amazing … if you are selling something on the internet. It is not so great if you are a young person, measuring your self -worth and value via this currency.
It isn’t only body image that we need to be real about. Media is an almost inescapable shaper of all aspects of our culture and expectation. Our children will turn to the net to find out things like ‘how much money they need to be successful’, and ‘the lifestyle that they need to live in order to be praiseworthy’.
Being a perfectly imperfect mum is essential for your children to see what life is really like. It shows them what bodies normally look like. It shows them that sometimes we cry, sometimes we snort when we laugh, it shows them REAL.
You can show them that their beauty and worth isn’t measured by the number of likes or the amount of comments that they get from a photo. You show them that photoshopping does not truly represent a healthy body.
You can model healthy relationships with friends and show to them that the quality of a friendship circle is measured by the value of interactions, love, care, and respect given; not the number of followers that you have.
Being perfectly imperfect, being real, helps to build foundations for a positive self-esteem, self-love, and self-worth.
So perfectly imperfect mum’s, go ahead. Pass wind, cry when you need to, take a rest when you need to, show your children your budget and how you are managing your money, and then make the very significant and profound comment to your child “you don’t see people doing that on social media, or on the T.V. because it isn’t real life”.
3 Reasons why it is fine to be an imperfect mum
1. YOU TEACH YOUR KIDS EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND RESILIENCE
Sometimes in life, things just don’t go to plan. Sometimes, we are flawlessly flawed. I am not being a sad-sack, I am being a logician.
The great thing about this is that you get to show your kids what to do at these times and teach them the best actions to take.
They get to learn how to deal with unhealthy people in a way that is healthy and benefits them. They get to learn that emotions aren’t bad, they are simply emotions which are a part of the human experience.
They get to see how to set goals and take actions in order to achieve what they want in life.
They get to learn that failure sometimes happens, and it can be used to learn and grow from. You get to show them how to get back up when they are knocked down and be a kick arse, perfectly imperfect person just like their mumma.
2. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT!
Constantly striving for a state of perfect in which the rules of constant perfection are simply unattainable is setting yourself up for failure. We need to learn to be okay with ourselves in all of our glory, the seamless and spotless moments, the disheveled and disastrous moments, and everything in between. We need to accept us and start reframing perfect, to ‘perfectly okay’.
Now, I am a high achiever. I encourage improvement. I believe in striving for success and setting your bar high… but the perfect mother prototype that we all compare ourselves against, has quite frankly, set the bar at a height that is so ridiculously out of reach, it is preposterous and laughable.
Quite frankly, I want to enjoy my life. We have enough things to worry about without adding this ridiculous notion to the mix. Our mental health and state of mind is far more important than impressing others and living up to impractical social ideals.
3. THE 2D MUM LEGACY IS A LIE
By the way; that perfect mum shown on 1950’s washing powder boxes and more recently, posing everywhere form healthy living articles to real estate ads that every mum has had to look at for decades.
Guess what? She isn’t real.
She is just a drawing. She is just an advert. She is a real as Homer Simpson and Spider Pig. She is a concept. She is a hypotheses that is yet to be proven. Not one person is able to prove that she exists and is real. She is a fake. I bet that behind the scenes of her 2D world, she has a shirt with spaghetti sauce on it and has woken up with a hang over or two during her years of parenthood. I don’t hold anything against her, but I would find her more trustworthy and approachable if she was just honest about the whole reality of mumming.