“As a mama, I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I forget things. I lose my cool. And some days, I go a little crazy. But, it’s okay because, in the end, no one could love my child the way I do.”- @proudhappymama

What makes a perfect mother?

Three women delivered their responses to that question. 

“Showing my daughter that it’s okay to make mistakes is a more valuable lesson than aiming to be perfect.”– Jamie 

“I don’t believe that there’s a perfect mom but more so moms aiming to be perfectly imperfect. I feel like it’s inevitable to make mistakes but if you continue to forgive yourself for them and show up (be present) for your children through words and action when they need you, THEY see you as perfect.”– Alexandra

“Being a great mom is being a constant source of warmth and unconditional love, in addition to helping your child discover who they are vs. who you want them to be.”– Justine

When I first had kids, I wished to be the perfect mom. The kind who made homemade baby food, breastfed, never permitted their kids to have frozen food, and never settled for snacks for dinner. The reality is that we’ve had crackers for dinner, I fed my baby formula, I bought an air fryer, and I have never made a single batch of baby food. I am not the perfect mom. I’m not the burned-out type either. I’m a pretty okay mom — okay enough to feed my family pasta with Ragu or thaw the frozen chicken nuggets that have become a staple in our home and OK enough to know when I need a 2-minute timeout in the bathroom.

You may be thinking, “that’s nice, but how do you do that?!”. When I reflect on my journey to accepting “good enough,” I’d like to say it was some kind of revelation, but it was more like a slow awakening. I finally decided that I was done feeling overwhelmed and defeated at the end of each day. I needed something to change. I asked myself four questions: “What do I need to feel balanced?” “What do I need to feel connected?” “What does my body need?” “What does my family need?”

Asking these questions allowed me to understand my priorities and how to adapt my life to feel more fulfilled as a mom and human being. I have created seven simple secrets to being a “good enough” mom from this reflection. Learn to let go of the notion that you can be perfect, and you’ll no longer feel pressed to live up to every expectation. Being a good enough mom is about learning how to let go of expectations, so you can just enjoy being a mom.

The following seven tips will help you become the “good enough mom” that you have always wanted to be:

  • Meet your kids where they are.

Parenting is both unique and challenging, especially in today’s world. It can be easy to put our own needs and desires before those of our kids, so it’s essential to stay grounded and focused on giving your children the tools they need to grow up into strong, confident, resilient adults.

  • Screen time isn’t evil.

If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us as moms, it’s that we can’t do it all. Some days, you may need to make dinner, take the phone call, take a break, go to the bathroom—you get the idea! It’s okay to throw on an educational show or something engaging.

  • Chicken tenders (and french fries) sometimes save the day.

We all want the best for our kids, so we cook nourishing meals. It can be hard to find time in your day to cook, and you deserve a break. If you need to drive through the nearest fast-food restaurant or order takeout, it’s okay!

  • Embrace the Mess

There is no such thing as a perfect house. Your kids will always make a mess, and you can use it as an opportunity to teach them how to clean up after themselves.

  • Giving your kids a perfect birthday is overrated.

You can get so wrapped up in delivering the perfect birthday for your child that you forget to enjoy the moment. Permit yourself to not “have a perfect birthday,” especially in the first few years. Keep it simple and choose something small that you and your family enjoy. By looking at what your child wants and who they know, you can help make the party a memorable yet stress-free experience. 

  • Let’s be honest. Doordash is a lifesaver.

Or UberEats, PostMates, GrubHub. Whatever your meal delivery service of choice is. Ordering in can help you be present with your kids and not stress about dinner. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do it!

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and once you have it, don’t turn it down.

One of the top reasons moms are overwhelmed is that they don’t ask for help, even when needed. It is not a sign of weakness or failure to ask for help. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help and vulnerability to accept it. “It takes a village” is not just a cliche! 

You know this already, but I will repeat it: you are an awesome mom, and that’s enough. You are a superwoman because you let the small things go, ask for help, and say “no.” In the words of Dorothy Law Nolte, “Children learn what they live.” So if you want to teach your kids to love and take care of themselves, lead by example!

 

Bio: Allie Lieberman is a licensed marriage and family therapist, perinatal mental health certified, certified Clini-Coach®, entrepreneur, wife, and mom of two (3 ½-year-old + 1 1/2 year old). She is the CEO/Founder of Rooted in Harmony Counseling, a virtual group counseling practice in California, and The New Mama Mentor®, a coaching practice dedicated to working new moms.

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