Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Celebrating Imperfect Parenting

Guest Post by Cailin Bundrick

If you are a mom, you are familiar with the term mom guilt. It starts even before your baby is born.
 
You worry about what you're eating during pregnancy (and what you're not). You worry about whether or not you should get a nanny or put your child in daycare once maternity leave is over. You decide you have already failed your child if you don't pass your first glucose test. You worry. About everything. You feel bad. About everything.
 
My guilt extends beyond mommy guilt. I have wife guilt, friend guilt, daughter guilt, HOA president guilt, neighbor guilt. You name it, I pretty much got it. And it sucks.
 
As if it's not enough that I want to be the loving, gentle, tender mom who never loses her patience or, God forbid, yells at my daughter, I also want to be the wife who is never grumpy and always has dinner on the table. I want to be the friend who remembers every important moment in my girlfriends' lives and the lives of their children. I want to be the HOA president who puts out a monthly newsletter, and resolves each matter that arises efficiently and effectively. I want to be the neighbor who brings over a home-cooked meal when someone is sick or had a medical emergency.
 
The reality? I lose my temper at my 2-year-old at least once a day, sometimes for something as simple as being asked the same question one too many times. I often greet my husband when he gets home from work with an annoyed look and a, "We already ate. There should be something in the fridge," as I chase Charlie around the upstairs, trying to get her into pajamas. I'm lucky to respond to the sweet text messages from my friends within 24 hours, let alone be the one to send the sweet texts. I haven't sent out a newsletter since January, and this month isn't looking promising either. And I hardly make home-cooked meals for my family, so it's unlikely I'd give one away if I actually did find the time or energy to whip something up.
 
I used to beat myself up for not being the perfect mom. What I've come to realize, though, is that no one is perfect. And if someone seems perfect, they are most likely a really good actress who is actually stressing over the same things I am, or maybe even worse things than I am. They might limit their kids' screen time, eat all organic and send hand-written thank you notes for every Pinterest-worthy event they host, but they have demons too. No one is perfect.
 
Want to know what some of my demons are? My kid eats McDonald's at least once a week, if not more, and so do I. She watches TV, and probably more than the two hours a day recommended by the AAP. I'm not sure because I stopped counting when she stopped napping, and I became dependent on the boob tube for a little bit of time during the day to cook or clean or breathe. I am not a graceful grouch. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and when I'm grumpy, everyone knows it.
 
But for as many faults as I have, I also have some pretty admirable characteristics too. I play with my daughter. I get down on her level and do whatever she wants me to do, whether it be dress up as a princess or build pillow forts on my neatly made bed or color (as much as one can when the crayon you have is the only crayon your toddler wants no matter which crayon that is). I'm a fiercely loyal friend who rarely gives up on people. I take on the jobs most people won't, hence the second term as HOA president. Making others happy makes me happy.
 
I'm not perfect, but I'm me, unabashedly and unapologetically. And my favorite people are the ones who can admit their faults and laugh with me about mine. If more people were authentic, I think less people would spend time beating themselves up about their imperfections.
 
So let's celebrate those things that make us who we are, for better or worse. And spend more time lifting one another up instead of tearing one another down. It's ok to be the person who is always late or always in dirty yoga pants. In fact, people might like you better if you let your imperfect flag fly freely.

About the Author
Cailin Bundrick is a stay at home mom to 2-year-old daughter Charlie. She lives in Maple Valley, Wash., with her husband, daughter and two dogs, Tinker and Brian. She has a journalism degree from Western Washington University, and worked as a reporter and editor for community newspapers in Kentucky, Florida and Illinois. She also worked in sales and property management before becoming a domestic goddess. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling and selling jewelry as an Independent Designer for Origami Owl.

1 comment :

Talk to me, Goose!