I am not a perfect mother.
Perfect mothers are essentially the adult version of the unicorn and I'm sorry to burst any bubbles, but like unicorns, they do not exist outside of books, movies and our imaginations.
Once you realize that, really soak the notion in, it is quite liberating.
If perfect mothers do not exist, what do we aspire to? For me, I believe it's creating beautiful memories. It is trying to be the mothers that we hope our children remember years down the road.
I never look back on a day and think "I was the best mom EVER today" because, as with most people (moms especially), I'm far too critical of myself. For some reason it's easier to reflect back on a day, no matter how amazing, and pick out all the instances where I could have been better instead of celebrating the moments I was above-average.
I do, however; have the ability to recognize that I have some formidable mom moments and I am beginning to realize I need to regularly acknowledge those moments and let them take the spotlight, even if just for a little while.
Today I made a perfect moment.
I was tired (how unusually odd) and the floors needed vacuumed again (and not by the hoover that is my nearly 10 month old) and the pile of dirty dishes accumulated faster that I could clean them (perhaps because I was eating ALL the things).
I felt overwhelmed and not because there was anything catastrophic happening to make me feel this way, just because. Perhaps all the little things had just piled up so perfectly on my shoulders that I knew I'd be breaking from the pressure at any moment.
I felt the burden, the heavy weight of responsibilities and mounting to-dos. Something I suspect all moms can relate to: those pesky and relentless expectations.
Usually, when I'm overwhelmed like this, I get short with everyone. I get snappy and irritable and am just an overall joy to be around. OR if I'm not biting people's heads off or being snappy than I am immobilized by the sheer volume of things to be done. I sit, having no idea where to start, so instead I do nothing. This results in me subsequently feeling guilt for not having checked anything off of my to-do list and being miserable and the cycle continues.
Other times, times like today, I am acutely aware that it's not the day as a whole but the moments that comprise the day that matter. I am instantly conscious of my ability and want to create perfect moments and that's what I try and do.
I don't yell at my toddler for pulling her brother's hair or scold the baby for pulling the dogs hair and I don't scream in pain and anger when either the toddler or the baby pulls my hair (motherhood = a lot of hair-pulling up in here).
I don't sit wearily on the playroom floor pretending to play with my children while my nose is in my phone and I'm drowning my sorrows in positive affirmations from people I've never met who tell me I'm doing a bang-up job consequently feeling guilty about the irony of it all.
Instead I glance, still slightly unsure, at the pile of dishes and the crumbs on the floor (where's the dog when you need him?) and say an audible "screw it, who wants to dance?"
I have no idea where my toddler gets her language...
I put the phone down (after taking a selfie, obviously - I mean, these moments surely need to be documented just in case they kids can't readily recall these times) and grab my babies.
I turn up the music and throw a dance party with my kids. It's my way of avoiding everything and giving cleaning and to-dos the middle finger. Putting my focus and energy on the one thing that really matters, my kids.
I twirl my tiny dancers around the kitchen, singing (poorly) at the top of my lungs while they giggle and show off their own dance moves. Sadly, no appearances on Dancing with the Stars from us any time soon. We fall down in a crumpled, uncoordinated and fatigued heap of laughing bodies and then I let them crawl all over me, tickling them both until we are all giggled out.
Then later when they are watching tv all is quiet, I reflect. Among ALL the imperfection there is joy and laughter and dancing. No, you are not a perfect mother but you're making perfect moments and perfect moments create beautiful memories.
I'm encouraged. I'm hopeful. I'm a mothering work in progress.
I hope and I pray that when my kids think back to their childhood when I'm far too old to remember, that the memories that stand out don't include a frazzled or stressed-out mom. I KNOW they won't included a few dishes on the counter and unwashed floors. I hope the memories that come to mind first are ones of kitchen dance-parties and giggling until we take a break only out of necessity.
In the meantime, I pledge to worry less about some of the practical stuff like laundry and dirty floors and focus on creating moments worth remembering because that's the perfection in parenting.
Shaunacey is a Canadian mom, wife, social media lover and blogger. An educational background in Social Work, Shaunacey hopes to encourage and inspire other women and moms with her writing. You can find this Canadian lady on the back porch, chugging a mug of coffee or sipping a glass of red and writing about all things 'mom' and life on her blog: Simply Shaunacey. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.