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Why I Gave Up Trying to Be a Perfect Mom

Why I Gave Up Trying to Be a Perfect Mom

For years, I had visions of the type of mom I would be. Calm, quiet, organized, patient, loving, creative… I was going to be all those things and much more.

Then I had kids. And very quickly, I realized I was not at all as patient as I thought I was! 🙂

Motherhood has shaped me, broken me, changed me, humbled me, and caused me to rely upon God more than ever before. And one of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far is to give up on perfect.

It’s fantastic to want to be the best mom I can be. I want to love my children well. I want to set a good example before them. I want to invest in them, love them, and nurture them.

But it’s impossible to do a perfect job. I will make mistakes. I will lose my temper. I will get frustrated.

Things won’t be all neat and orderly all the time. I will have days when I feel overwhelmed. I will have days when life feels hard.

My Non-Perfect Motherhood Mantras

Instead of getting frustrated over the mess, I want to embrace it realizing that messes mean little people are exercising their creativity — a skill that will take them far in life, no matter where they end up.

Instead of feeling disappointed in myself for losing my patience, I want to admit I was wrong and ask forgiveness of my children realizing that this probably speaks volumes more to my children than being a perfect mom ever would.

Instead of focusing on the hard and difficult things, I want to soak up the beauty in each moment realizing that a grateful attitude is one of the greatest gifts I can give my family.

Trying to be a perfect mom only set me up for frustration. Giving up on perfect has brought much more peace and joy — to our whole family.

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  • Laura Vanderkam says:

    Exactly. I’ve been realizing how much kids are their own people, too — we can do some things, but parenting will never be perfect because we’re dealing with human relationships. Kids develop in their own way.

  • Diane says:

    I distinctly remember a time my mom asked for forgiveness (well, more than one time) and it really helped me when she would because kids know parents make mistakes but it makes it a lot easier to apologize when your parents model it for you.

    • liz says:

      That was smart, kind, and humble of your mom, i wish my mom was like that. I dont recall her ever apologizing, tho she has been in the wrong more than a few times. In my culture parents are to be respected no matter what, even if they are acting like a bunch of idiots. I need to move far far away lol.

  • Brittany says:

    Lately I feel that I’m much less patient. Thank you for this! It came at the perfect time. 🙂

  • Sandy R. says:

    How brave of you to admit to everyone that you are human! LOL I hope other mothers who have secretly felt the same way will now realize they are not alone. :0)

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been feeling this way so much lately. It helps so much to know other moms struggle with this too. It also helps that you’re willing to admit it…instead of pretending everything’s perfect like many parents would like others to think. 🙂

  • andrea says:

    Thanks I needed to hear this today! Been one of those days, mostly good, and one very bad moment of 3 year old complete and utter meltdown, of course in the grocery store at the busiest time of day….it is hard to give up perfect, but today I just let her have her meltdown as loud as it was….that decision showed everyone in the store that I was not a perfect mom with perfectly well-behaved kids, but a lesson needed to be learned by my 3 year old, so I just went with it….so hard to not give in, but I didn’t and we both survived. Thanks for the post we often forget that there is no perfect mom no matter how hard we try.

  • Anne N says:

    I have one son who is 11 with autism. I totally understand about being impatient. He is out of school as of tomorrow & summer always propose a little bit of a challenge. He has a couple of programs he participates in so that helps. I think about moms who stay home with multiple children & wonder how they do it. I am selfishly happy when my son goes to school but love for him to come home. God has given us these children & I believe we learn much more from them than they do us!!!!

    • L says:

      I can relate to you! My son also has autism and I love him to the moon and back! After a few weeks of downtime, he truly misses the structure that school brings him. He thrives on structure! I do my best to fill his days but 13 weeks of summer is too long for my son.

      (I am far from perfect and I am the first to admit that, but my children always know that their parents love them!)

  • Tonya says:

    Great post! It’s good for our kids to see us be able to give up perfection. My daughter (almost 13) gave me the biggest compliment recently when she said, “There are no perfect moms but you’re a good enough mom”. 🙂

  • Tamara Dillon says:

    Just what I needed to read today! Thank you

  • Luba says:

    Thank you, Crystal. I can apply this to being a wife as well. 🙂

  • Tammy Skipper (@Tammy_Skipper) says:

    This is so true, whether it’s in our housekeeping, work, parenting – if we insist that we are only ‘good’ or ‘successful’ when all goes ‘perfectly,’ then we are doomed to be miserable. Thank you for sharing your little smiling faces and your heart with us tonight!

  • je says:

    I actually started seeing a counselor to help me in parenting (I came from a very bad home and I wanted to make sure that I was being a good mom).

    My counselor told me that there is no such thing as being a perfect mom, and that you should am to be a good enough mom. It’s helped me get past my unrealistic expectations for myself.

  • Marie says:

    Perfect timing!! Today was day 1 of summer vacation and it started great and went downhill quickly!!! I lost my temper, children spent a lot of time in their rooms and my 2 year old ramped up her tantrums!!! I am now hiding out in the office for some peace while daddy takes over dinner with the kids since he just got home! And it’s days like this that I feel like I fail miserably!! But one thing I have always done is ask forgiveness from my kids is needed. And kids are so resilient and willing to forgive and love us!
    Thanks I needed this at the exact moment I read it!

  • Anshu says:

    I think nothing can change a judgmental person faster than parenthood ( speaking from experience).

  • Willa says:

    Funny timing on this post. We just began planning our MOPS group for next year and the theme is Beautiful Messes. How our lives as moms of little ones is full of messes….messes they make, and the mess we feel is our state of mind half the time! 🙂 But, God can make beauty out of the messes, and Praise Him for that!

  • Alicia says:

    being a parent has completely changed me as a person. i could not have imagined how extremely hard it can be & rewarding at the same time. i am totally type A person & battle with not being able to control everything so this article makes me feel better 🙂 thanks for sharing!!!!

  • Deb says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post because I can relate 100%. Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

  • Tina says:

    You may have given up on “perfect” Crystal, but you are still a mother that women strive to be like. Myself included. You are a shinning example of what a “good” wife and mother can be and I thank you for sharing your ups and downs with all of us. You are an inspiration.

  • Laura says:

    I gave up on being perfect when MY MOM reminded me that my children will learn how to be adults from me. So now, when I make a mistake, I imagine how I want MY CHILDREN to handle themselves as adults … I don’t want them to beat themselves up for not being perfect nor do I want them to spend countless hours trying to achieve something that isn’t possible. I ask for help, fix what I can and forgive myself BECAUSE I want my kids to live that way as well.

  • Joy says:

    I think the bar has been set too high to be the perfect mother thanks to Facebook, blogs, Pinterest and other social media. We all have different parenting styles and no two kids are alike (even twins). As long as your kids know you love them and they are not neglected or abused, then you are a perfect Mom in my book!

    My kids are older (14 y.o. son and 11 y.o. twin boys, one who has Asperger’s). And although it’s not as stressful as having younger ones, there are new challenges … and a different kind of stress (teens anyone?). But my boys know that they are loved and that we are doing the best we can. When they fuss, whine or complain about a house rule or whatever, we tell them that one day they too will be parents and then we’ll all have a good laugh about how stressful being a parent is.

  • Kim N. says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I needed to hear this today. 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    I do not want my children thinking they have to be perfect to be successful or even to be happy. They need to see a broken person living out a life that is fueled with the power of Christ. They see me reading my bible. They see me praying out to God when I am about to lose it. They see me call on the name of Jesus to come and give me peace and patience. They see their mom, the person who has the most influence on them, going to God for strength, not myself. I still get mad that I think that I am failing, but if the only thing my kids see is that they are to go to Jesus when they feel broken or have sinned, then I feel my mothering will be a success.

  • Julie says:

    Thanks for this! I had a hard Mom day and this is just what I needed 🙂

  • Andrea Friend says:

    I just signed up for MOPS convention in October and saw that you are speaking and I seriously got so excited!!! Can’t wait! 🙂 thank you for always sharing your heart and following Jesus!

  • Susan says:

    Nobody’s perfect Crystal. If you wouldn’t expect perfection from others, why put that burden on yourself? Doing our best is good enough.

  • alison says:

    I love this. It is exactly how I feel and I only have a 6 month old!
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Alisha says:

    I loved reading about how not only you, but all the moms who have commented are feeling the same thing. We live in an informational society. There is so much out there to read and so many conflicting things about everything. We are so hard on ourselves because in this world of bloggers, etc. it seems that EVERYONE is PERFECT in all of the ways you suggested (creative, orderly, patient etc.). Thanks for having the courage to be real. I think over the past couple of weeks for me as I have been in the process of trying to improve my own parenting skills I finally came to the realization that there is no ONE right way to be a mom. There are sooooo many good ways to be a mom and surely I can do some of them. 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you. I am a mother of a 5 year old boy, he is a good kid. but when we are around each other 24/7 , i just want to pull my hair out.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wonderful post. I am so glad that there is only one perfect being and that is Jesus Christ. And because of Him I now apologize more and admit my faults. My parents never would admit when they were wrong so of course I had the same attitude. I always felt I had to be perfect. No longer do I feel that weight or burden. I am imperfect but always striving to be more like Him. Thank you!

  • Jenn says:

    What a great post! Perfect timing for me to remember children and motherhood are not always perfect. The end of school kind of got the best of us. We are all so burnt out, hoping it gets easier over the summer and I can find more patience.

  • Kelly Hess says:

    I completely agree, it is hard for me not to compare myself to other mother’s who “appear” perfect through pictures and . I then have to tell myself that they are only going to post the good times (like myself) and not the trying, tough times. Bottom line, I strive to be the best mom I can be everyday to my 3 kids. At the end of the day, if I am not happy with something I said or did, I apologize to my kids and ask God for forgiveness and strength to not do it again. When I wake up tomorrow, I consider it a fresh start to try again!

  • christine says:

    i think this is the most profound & beautiful thing you’ve ever shared ! thank you! letting go of perfection took me 2yrs after i started foster parenting. it taught me to slow down, be spontaneous and that kids (people in general) are the priority. chores and “stuff” no longer controls my life nor competes with my kids, family,friends and strangers.

  • Jackie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart. As a recovering perfectionist I really appreciated this. It can be so hard to give up that desire to be perfect and make everything perfect, but none of us will ever attain perfection on this earth. I have learned so much from my perfectly imperfect children, and I am so thankful for each imperfect day we share together. 🙂

  • Gloria says:

    So glad I am not the only mom out here who feels this…Please pray that I can embrace the mess!!

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