Why We Need to Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Just Be Real
I don’t know where I’d be without REAL friends.
You know the ones.
The ones who don’t bat an eye when your toddler is throwing a fit on the ground because their child was doing the same thing ten minutes ago.
The ones who don’t clean up their house and make it look picture-perfect right before you come over.
The friends who will stop everything and take your crazy children for an hour just so you can breathe.
The ones who don’t judge you when your bathroom looks like this:
The ones who will laugh with you through all the chaos.
These REAL friends who get that life is messy and know that nobody has it all together.
These friends know there is no such thing as perfect.
I love these friends. They keep me sane because…
ONCE UPON A TIME, I WANTED PERFECTION
Once upon a time, I would scroll through my Facebook feed and see the highlight reel of moms with perfectly dressed children in matching outfits. I looked down and my children were half-dressed with yogurt on their face.
I would jump on Instagram and see families eating at a restaurant with happy smiling children. Were my kids the only ones breaking crayons and climbing out of their seats the few times we even attempted to take them out to eat?
At the grocery store, I’d see other moms kneeling down quietly explaining to their children proper grocery store behavior. I was threatening my children with no desserts ever again if they weren’t quiet for two more minutes so I could buy some milk.
I saw children of other families sitting quietly during worship. I had babies crying during sermons, toddlers running up to the altar to see Daddy (you know those pastor kids), and children who took their shoes off the second we walked in the building (that is if they even had shoes on to begin with).
I felt that I should live up to this “perfect family” who had it all together. But every time I tried, I stressed myself out and failed miserably. The reality is this perfect family doesn’t exist. Nobody has it all together and being a mom is messy . It is a feat just to get to church on Sundays. Why exhaust ourselves trying to have a pinterest-worthy house and instagram-ready children as well?
WHY WE NEED TO STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT AND JUST BE REAL
Keeping up with all the things that constitute a “perfect family” these days is exhausting. Breastfeed your child. Except in public. Be a stay-at-home mom. But don’t sabotage your career for your children. Let them cry it out. Crying it out is cruel and harmful. Give your child praise. But not too much. Potty train early. Wait until they are ready. Allow screen-time, but only in these specific ways.
We are bombarded daily with information on how to raise the most successful, happy, generous children. And as moms we want this. We want to be the perfect mom who raises the perfect family. But keeping up with all this is exhausting. Sometimes we just need to trust God, trust ourselves and breathe in some of God’s grace. Forget the perfect and just be us.
GOD USES IMPERFECT PEOPLE
Have you ever noticed that the Bible is filled with IMPERFECT people. There is no social media highlight reel going on in the Bible. In the Bible, life is real and life is messy.
Eve chose the forbidden fruit, Sarah laughed in God’s face, Rebekah clearly had a favorite son and tricked her husband, Jonah ran away from God, the disciples fought over who was the best, Peter denied Christ, Paul persecuted Christians. This list could go on and on and on. Because God isn’t looking for perfect. He’s looking for REAL.God takes our mess and makes it holy.Click To Tweet
WHEN WE GIVE UP PERFECT, WE HAVE REAL AND HONEST RELATIONSHIPS
When we stop chasing perfection and pretending to have it all together, we can have real, honest relationships. I don’t know what I would do without these friendships in my life. They keep me from flipping out over parenting mistakes and help me recognize that I am not alone in this.
WHEN WE ARE REAL, WE ENCOURAGE OTHER MOMS
Whenever I am around a mom who is real and truthful about motherhood, I leave feeling encouraged. I realize that I am not the only one who struggles with raising children. My kids aren’t going to be doomed for life. This is normal. Life is messy. Nothing is perfect.
So, can we stop trying to be perfect and just be real? I’ll start.
Here are 10 REAL facts about me:
1. I am a messy person. I leave stuff around the house instead of putting it back where it belongs. When I try on an outfit and decide not to wear it, I throw it on my floor and don’t hang it back up in the closet. I have trash in my car. I let my laundry pile up into mountains. It’s gross. I should really become a cleaner person.
2. I flip out when critters get in our house. And in the south, it’s kind of a common occurrence. Cockroaches are the biggest problem around here. And despite all I do to keep them out, occasionally they find their way in. Rather than disposing of them, I trap them under tupperware and wait for someone else to dispose of it. It’s awful. Don’t even get me started about what happened when I had mice in our old farmhouse before we moved. I could not handle it.
3. I am a total helicopter parent but I try hard not to be. I am constantly counting heads and identifying every choking hazard within 20 feet of my children. In my head, I freak out when my kids climb high on the playground. I envision every way they could possibly fall and break their arm. BUT I try super hard not to show this to my kids. I really want them to be brave and adventurous. It just scares me half to death.
4. I’ll just say it. I hate ketchup. For real. I cannot stand it.
5. My go-to consequence for the kids is to take away cartoons. They never seem to mind and it always tortures me. I need better tactics.
6. I buy plants all the time. And I kill every single one. They never stay alive. Even the ones that say “super hardy-you don’t have to do anything!”-they all die. It’s like a cruel joke because I love plants.
7. I once sent my child to school with a moldy sandwich without even realizing it. Y’all this was bad. I told my son he could make his own lunch and, after he was done, I glanced over it to make sure it was somewhat healthy and sent him off to school. Later that day, I took out the bread to make my other children sandwiches and the bread was COVERED in mold. Don’t ask me how my child never noticed he was using moldy bread to make a sandwich? We will never know. I’ll never forget having to explain to the school secretary that my son should not be allowed to eat his sandwich that day. Ah, fun times.
8. I buy my children toys based on what I want to play with. Checkers, Guess Who, and Jenga, yes please. Pokemon cards and fidget spinners, no thank you.
9. I am crazy organized- I have 3-Ring-Binders for EVERYTHING. Going on vacation, buying a 3-ring-binder. Writing a blog, buying a 3-ring-binder. Trying to figure out children’s sleep habits, buying a 3-ring-binder. I love it. I love buying the divider tabs and organizing everything by section. I probably need help.
10. My kids make me feel like the best mom in the world. There is nothing better than their hugs and kisses. I hear “I love you mom” countless times a day. I love that no matter how much I mess up or feel like a failure, they always see the best mom ever.
Are you willing to give up trying to be perfect and just be real? We are all a mess. Share one of your “Real Facts” in the comment section. Let’s be real together.