The Perfect Mother

I thoroughly enjoyed this piece on modern mothers looking for perfection in all the wrong places.  From elaborate birthday parties to home-made, organic, free-range meals on the table, the author hits the nail on the head describing the ways modern moms are missing out by focusing on the near-impossible.

In the past we had nothing to showcase our meals and projects and birthday parties.  Now we have Facebook and Instagram to share every detail.  And no one is posting pictures of a bad moment or a terrible day.  We post the amazing ones – often mountaintop experiences of kids sharing or holding hands or trips with 5-course meals and breathtaking scenery.  Perfectly dressed children seemingly well-behaved in the most precarious situations.  Every meal is made from scratch – or at least the ones we post pictures of.  Now we also have Pinterest which has great ideas, but then there is this desire to go deeper with our kids and prove we are Supermom, which typically leads to feeling like an utter failure.  At least for me.  I’ve mentioned my Pinterest kid project fails before and opted to go a simpler route instead.  These ‘in your face’ posts make you wonder if these mothers ever need a break?  They seem like they have it all together, all day, everyday.

As for the motivation behind this desire, I’m not sure if it’s to keep up with the Joneses as the article says?  Or is it our wanting to control and be perfect with our kids – pressure we put on ourselves?  Maybe it’s societal influences?  Regardless of the root, we live in an age of unattainable perfection, it seems, aimed at pleasing our offspring.

What I believe it comes down to – at least for me – is information overload.  It seems like the internet and all of this technology complicate life too much.  We have to read articles on screen time and handheld devices and if they’re okay for our kids.  We research organic vs. GMO and feel guilty if we can’t afford to give them every single thing organic or hormone-free.   We overthink discipline constantly – you can find a justification for any and each way of doing it these days.  Articles float around email and Facebook that sway you one way and then you google something and see the other side of it and feel conflicted once again.  We have to get on online portals for checking kids’ homework and due dates.  Our relationship with technology is never-ending.

For me, information overload also means googling my child’s symptoms when they’re not feeling well and let me tell you, this never ends well.  I will self-diagnose them and think the worst and worry until the doctor tells me otherwise.

My older friends and relatives will talk about all the modern conveniences we have such as pre-cut and peeled veggies and pre-shredded bagged cheese and the internet at our disposal.  While I am in total agreement and am so thankful for these conveniences, I sometimes long for a simpler time where we don’t have constant information surrounding us.  We have to drown out the outside noises and focus on family days and screen-free times.  Wasn’t it easier in some ways when parents didn’t have access to so much?

It is hard to resist the temptation to throw the perfect Pinterest birthday party or the made-from-scratch meal every single night.  For me, doing these things would mean choosing to not sit down and play the legos or to not hold my clingy little one-year-old when he’s feeling like he needs me.  I have to be okay with that.

I guess what it comes down to is what we choose to do with the information we have around us.  We can use it to drive us to do better or feel competitive.  Or we can still be who we are without the bells and whistles and know we are giving our kids the best version of ourselves.  We can choose to not log on social media sometimes or to not google the symptoms our child has.  Sometimes shutting out the noise is the best choice we can make.

They don’t ask for perfectly displayed meals or a craft to do each day.  Our kids will be just fine without all of the extras.  I imagine what they want is a whole person – not a burnt-out mother drowning in information with nothing else to give.




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