Is There Such A Thing As A Perfect Mother?

In having conversations with other moms and blog posts I’ve seen, moms put a lot of pressure on themselves.  Everything from:

  • “Should I Stay Home?”
  • “Should I Work?”
  • “The house isn’t clean enough”
  • “My child is in xyz activities is it enough/too much?”
  • “Should I use cloth diapers/disposables?”
  • “Should I formula feed/breastfeed?”
  • “Natural vs. Cesarean?”

I mean really, there are so many things that we overthink when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and then parenting that I think we drive ourselves nuts! The thing I wonder is where is all this pressure coming from? Is it an inert pressure, or are there outside forces?  I have found that the criticism shown by other moms really makes me rethink everything I’m doing and if I’m doing things right.  All this pressure to be perfect led me to have a breakdown 3 days postpartum because of Sebastian’s severe jaundice. The doctors were telling me I needed to supplement in order for him to get better faster.  This led me to think that breastfeeding would be done for me from that moment on.  I had failed my son already and he was only 3 days old!  I felt and still feel like I’m missing out on something because I ended up having a C-section, even though there was nothing I could have done. He was in a breech position and I felt that if I had fought harder and maybe found a doctor willing to deliver breech babies that I probably still could have had him vaginally…if only I tried harder.

This seems to be the ongoing theme. I need to do more.  I need to try harder. Because sleeping 5-6 hours a night (if that) is ok, because the baby needs me.  Because even though I’m 2 weeks post-partum, I still need to eat so I need to cook, and the house is a mess so I have to clean it, even though I’m pumping around the clock and breastfeeding in between. There are people coming over, the house is a mess, and I’m two weeks postpartum from a C-section, I must clean because people can’t see the house like this!!! And through all of this newborn madness, I felt I could do it all on my own and that asking for help or just letting things slide was a sign of failure. The house had to be perfect for the visitors who would come over.  I had to look halfway decent even though I’d just had major abdominal surgery and was hunched over from the pain of it and in fear of pulling something.  I had to have people tell me, “Wow, you look great!” even though inside I was just going through the motions because I hadn’t slept since goddess knows when and I really was in some pain, even though I didn’t let on that I was.

TWEET IT: So instead of judging, I think we should support each other along the way, and most importantly, we need to stop being our own worst enemies because all the self-evaluation you’re doing proves beyond anything that you’re a great mom and you’re doing a great job!

But this pressure I put on myself to be the perfect mother is really just my own preconceived ideas of what I think the perfect mother is, and apparently in my mind the perfect mom is Wonder Woman, because who else could do everything I thought needed to be done and take care of herself and a newborn?! These ideas probably came from my childhood obsession of watching too much TV where every mom is a Stepford wife and spends her day cooking and cleaning, and even though she may have 6 kids, the house is perfect and every curl is perfectly in place, her makeup is not smudged, even her apron is practically sparkly.  I mean come on!  I hardly have time to put on a bra in the morning, let alone do my hair and makeup! I try to get myself organized to keep the house clean, and then my son’s schedule shifts because of his milestones, so once I get used to one way, chaos ensues and I need to get used to another way.  This always seems to take more time than I’m comfortable with.

I am just now starting to learning the art of asking for help: from my husband and from my mother.  Because as much as I would like to be a superhero, I’m not and I have given all I have for so long now that I haven’t had any time for me and that makes me really tired, really cranky, really resentful, and really depressed.  At the same time though if I don’t do everything possible around the house or for my child, it makes me really anxious.  It seems to be a no-win situation for me.

I think the biggest problem is that I really like idle time.  I like being able to sit for hours and knit or play video games, or even just zone out in front of the tv.  I’m not one of those people (like my husband) that finds things to do just because they can’t sit still for 5 minutes.  I can, and I enjoy sitting still for hours on end.  Does this make me lazy?  Maybe, but if it’s what I need to recollect myself, so be it.

The thing is that even though I can talk a good game about how it’s my family, therefore, it’s my business, when someone gives me that sideways glance as if I’m doing something wrong, it really sticks in my head.  I start wondering if what I’m doing is really wrong. Where things get a little haywire is when I try to take on more than I can handle to prove to myself that I’m a good mother.  What I have to realize (and I think others can benefit from this as well) is that my family really is special in the sense that what works in my house may not necessarily work in someone else’s house, and my kid is not like your kid.

I didn’t get to exclusively breastfeed because my body just wouldn’t produce enough to keep up with my son.  I tried everything possible, but it just wouldn’t so I gave him what I could.  My house is never going to be perfectly clean because I’m busy playing with and teaching my son.  I may not have had the birth experience I wanted, but the experience I had was mine and there is nothing I can do to change what happened.  And finally, I really don’t need other moms watching my child while he plays at the playground because I know that my child knows his limitations and won’t do anything stupid, so if you catch me glancing at my phone for a second, or sitting down at that bench for the first time all day, don’t think that you need to help my son across the bridge or to climb up to the higher level so he can go down the slide.  I’m sitting here or checking my email because I’ve watched him do it a billion times all by himself and I know he can do it, otherwise I would be right there with him.  Really, I appreciate your help, but it’s not necessary.  I’m not a lazy mother, I’m a mother that not only knows her child but also needs a few minutes of peace.

I guess the most important thing along this journey is realizing that not everyone’s journey is going to be the same.  Judging others parenting styles does nothing but cause damage to that woman and cause her way more stress and anxiety than she needs at this moment in time.  We’re all mothers on a journey and all our journeys will lead to one end goal: to raise a decent human being that can actively participate in our society and can contribute something to help better it.  That’s essentially what we all want, we just all have different methods of obtaining that goal. So instead of judging, I think we should support each other along the way, and most importantly, we need to stop being our own worst enemies because all the self-evaluation you’re doing proves beyond anything that you’re a great mom and you’re doing a great job!

 Perfect Mother?

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  1. My mummy journey became better once I learned, enough is OK. I stopped comparing myself to moms and dads on Pinterest and in my circle, it made a world of difference.

    1. I can’t really say I compare myself with others, but I do catch onto the judgmental looks…you know, like the one your mother gives you when you do something you know is not right but do it anyways just because. Those looks. In my community I’m a bit out of place. I’m Cuban-American but I’m very granola. I cloth diaper, I baby wear, I practice attachment parenting, but I also want my child to have the freedom to explore and learn, so at playgrounds I’ll let him freely climb and slide. I’ll let him roam and explore the parks. I’m usually a few steps behind, but I’ve noticed “the looks” because apparently to those moms I’m not close enough. I’m by no means a helicopter mom. My child is still in the unstable stage when it comes to walking, and I swear he walks like his head is too heavy for his body and it weighs him down. It’s hilarious to me, but it also means he falls a lot. I let him because I know he’s used to it and it’s nothing to him anymore, but I get “the look” when I’m not immediately on him consoling him. It’s a bit ridiculous in my opinion to be constantly hovering and not let your kid experience thing like falling, because how is he supposed to learn what his limitations are if he doesn’t fall every now and again?

  2. Those side-ways glances don’t get to me anymore. I think it just takes time and more kids, though. You can’t just choose to get over it. I linked a post here, because I think you will like it more than the one I linked to the party. #MommyMeetupMondays

  3. Love this post. I’m all for supporting other moms no matter what choices they make and what lives they live. I mean, I too, have my limits but you’re right. We are all just trying to raise a decent human being and it sure is nice to have the support of others along the way. Great post and thank you for joining #MommyMeetupMondays.

  4. Lisette, I so adore this post! Even better than the fact that you’re reminding other mothers to live THEIR journey, I love seeing just one mother personally making that realization. I think the hardest thing about being a parent is not being a parent…it’s pressure, and judgment, and stress that we get from others to do it ‘correctly’, as if there is such a single definition for it. Making the choice to live free of others’ expectations is wonderfully liberating. I’ve found that it’s made me a much better parent than when I was so diligently clinging to the ‘rules’. Go figure 😉
    Thanks for linking up at Momma Told Me!

  5. OMG I don’t know that I can even begin to tell you how much I love this post!!! There is so much pressure from so many angles, but I think you’ve nailed it perfectly, you have to do what is best for you and your family. Let the judges of the world judge on, what they think of you is none of your business anyway! I could write a thousand words on how much of this I can relate to, but I’ll sum it up by saying it sounds like you are doing an amazing job!
    Thank you for sharing with us at #MommyMeetupMondays!

  6. WOW, you said it so well, Lissette! It really is a gift that we all bring different experiences to the table. Life would be boring if all of us were the same!!
    Thanks for sharing this post over at the Ladies Collective Linkup! Sure hope you’ll be back this Wednesday to share what else you’ve been working on!
    Stephanie @

  7. I totally love this post! It’s so true. I don’t understand why we as moms do this to each other. We all want to achieve the same goal, yet we throw rocks at each other, just to get the feeling like we have it all together and those other moms don’t. We should be supported of each other and be encouraging. There’s no prefect mom out their and we all know how hard we actually work!Melissa

  8. Love love love this! The perfect mom is the one that you are to your own child. There is just so much mom guilt out there, and it needs to stop. We’re doing the best we can, juggling everything, and trying to make everyone happy. As long as our babies are happy and healthy, we’re doing a damn good job of it.

    1. Exactly! I would just add happy for the most part because wow can toddler’s moods change on the fly!

  9. great post. so much pressure to be the perfect mum to get everything done and to slim down straight after birth etc. although I’m bad for beating myself up over the same things its important to try and remember that a tidy house is not the priority as a mum . its giving your children what they need . easier said than done i guess! xx #bigfatlinky

  10. I have been a mother for 13 years, I have been through almost all phases of motherhood self-doubt and have heard all sorts of opinions. My quest to be the perfect Mommy has somewhat tapered, I know I’m perfect enough, and although I know that, I try SO hard to be everything for my kids. I don’t try for anyone else. People’s comments or thoughts on what “they” think is perfect no longer holds much with me.Thanks for sharing your post with us at Mommy Monday!

  11. Gladys Parker says:

    Well said. My oldest is 35 and youngest 25, there are also 2 in the middle. I’ve made my share of mistakes, my share of over thinking, self doubting and feeling like a failure. At the end of the day my children are all good honest upstanding citizens. I have had guilt, although, I was taught how guilt only eats at us from the inside. We can’t fix it. My children were cloth diapered and bottle fed – do they care? Nope. I believe mothers need lifted up not judged. Who are we to judge? Not one of us is the perfect mother.

    1. Exactly! With Sebastian, my first, I was all about doing things "right" (if there is such a thing). I cloth diapered 95% of the time, I made all his own food, everything had to be perfect for him. I was driving myself bananas! With my second, she is mainly in disposables and I did a 50/50 of homemade and store bought foods, because who has the time?!?!

  12. Katrina Gehman says:

    well said. we do our best. some days we don’t get there and others we crush it. as long as we try and have more good days than bad i think it’s good.

    1. Absolutely! I think the important part is trying your best, always, and showing them that they’re loved.

  13. Such a great read! I know many moms that struggle with this and in the end everyone just does what they feel is best for their children as it should be. I don’t believe in a perfect mom I just believe in every mom doing their best .

  14. I think the definition of a good Mom is different for everyone. As long as we try our best and always put our kids first.

  15. There is definitely no definition of a perfect mother. Each person has their own parenting styles and techniques. As long as your children are healthy and happy I’d call it a good win!

  16. I think we, and others, put way too much pressure on ourselves. I think I’ve finally started to embrace those things I do and do well. However, I also have come to know my limitations too. I think I get more worried about the bigger issues with my kids now. Am I handling a given situation correctly, or giving them the right advice. Parenting is very difficult!

  17. I agree that it is super important to ask loved ones for help. Parenting is hard and we all need breaks! I also appreciate that you mention every parenting journey is different – that is very true!

  18. AS long as we try our hardest and give them 110% of our love, then yes. We can all be the perfect mothers!

  19. I’m not a parent myself (yet), so I can’t possibly comment on how tough it is to be a parent. But my own mother has done a fantastic job raising me, my two brothers and around 50 other foster children ☺ love her to bits x

  20. There is no such thing as a perfect mother and YES we should all stop judging one another. Life is already complicated enough HA! I think it’s okay that you are opposite from your husband. If we all functioned the same, how fun would that be?

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