Perfectionism. Oh, the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect! Or at least, if not “perfect” then definitely Good. The phrase: “I feel like such a bad mom” bounces off of the walls in my office every day. It echoes after the women with whom I work leave my space. These words sometimes seem to follow them down the street, into their cars, and back home with them to where they haunt these mamas throughout the night. These. Are. Powerful. Words.
But, what do they really mean? What, exactly, is a “Good Mom” anyway? Is a good mother the one who breastfeeds her baby until he is 2? Is she the mom who never ever loses her patience? Is this good mom the one who stays home with her kids? Or is she the mom who returns to work and manages to juggle both with grace and ease? Is a good mom the one who cooks all of her meals from scratch? Is she the mother who always puts others before herself? Is this good mom the one who is constantly smiling, has a perfectly clean house, home made (organic) cookies on the counter top, and clean, folded laundry put away before anyone notices it was even dirty? Or is she the mom who never feeds her kiddo sugar or lets her watch TV? Is a good mother the one who manages a totally happy marriage that includes frequent sex and date nights and also manages to keep happy and loving siblings from fighting? Is she the one who is always happy, never sad or angry, definitely not anxious, and seems to know exactly what to do with her kiddo at every developmental stage? Is she the one whose baby is never crying? Is she the one whose children are always happy too?