Sunday, May 8, 2011

Confessions of an Imperfect Mother

Let’s hit the Powder Room, Ladies.  Today: motherhood.  Even if you’re not one, listen and learn.

My plan was to rock it.  I’d wanted it since 3rd grade, strolling my “Chrissy” doll around the neighborhood.  Motherhood. I was destined for it.

Growing up in the 70’s, I admired Jan Brady.  She artfully managed her brood with steady calm, doling out advice and homemade cookies.  She always looked cute in her stylish plaid, too.

Jan made it look so easy.  But then, she was a TV mom with a housekeeper and an adoring husband.  My life looks a bit different from hers - and I’m not just talking about the polyester.

I wouldn’t say I’ve become the perfect mother in my naïve mind’s eye, eternally patient and poised, always prepared with band-aids and emergency granola bars in my purse.  (More like, I’ve got a crumpled napkin and I can dig out a few lint-covered mints in my purse!)  Like most moms, I can seamlessly cook dinner, scan homework and resolve sibling warfare while cataloguing my workload by priority.  All in all, not bad.  I’m a good enough mom.


I never did quite measure up to my own standards, and there was a time I felt serious guilt over it.  I obsessed and worried and stressed over every decision I made… and felt terrible that some days I just couldn’t muster much passion for one more game of Chutes and Ladders.  I adored my kids, but no one really tells you the rigors associated with mothering after the new-baby euphoria fades.

As a new mother I felt similarly as a newlywed; blissfully unaware my passion for my new role and for my precious brood would simmer.  Totally unaware I’d wake up one day and the sweet, chirping voice I’d heard from myself had taken on a bit of an edge.  That the doting mommy I once was, consumed by my children, obsessed with doing it all by the book… well, she’d been replaced. 

Mommy 2.0 is tougher.  A bit more so on my kids, a bit less so on myself.  More confident; wiser. I make mistakes, lots of them.  I yell at my kids.  When my husband drives me insane (so glad he rarely reads my blogs) I often fail to edit my responses in front of my kids.  But I also apologize for my mistakes.  I show my children that it’s ok to struggle, to fail, to cry, to yell, to have a full range of emotions. 

Mommies are human too, and while we may be able to explain the differences between a T-Rex and a Stegosaurus, we really don’t have all the answers.  My husband says we should never show a chink in our armor (don’t tell him I told you that), but I disagree.  I’m modeling for my children what it means to walk in the world and respond to its demands, including theirs.  Sometimes the world has to wait, and so do they.

I’m a different mom now - a seasoned one.  Good enough to know I’m doing OK, humble enough to know I can do better. 

So Happy Mother’s Day to me.  And to you.  I might not be a perfect one, but I just got a card where my brood called me the best mom in the world.  Yours probably feel the same way.  Just for today, let’s let them believe it.


  1. I love that you posted this, Diane! I think we've all felt this way, at least at time or two! I myself am guilty of it everyday.... My kids are my world, but not many would know it...

    Thank you for your words of wisdon, and your honesty.... You truly are a great mother...whatever the struggle may be, you come through with flying colors!



  2. Thank you for stopping by, Kim!! Mothering is so rewarding, and I love the adventure.... but there are so many moments that are not Hallmark-card-worthy. Be well and come by again!!

  3. So my sweet friend reminded me that Carol was the mom on Brady Bunch, not Jan. Proving that I am getting older and more forgetful by the hour. :) But really good friends will tell you that sort of thing... such as whether you've got broccoli stuck in your teeth!!