I’m not a perfect mom. Whatever “perfect” means, anyway. There are times I can be pretty hard on myself, thinking about all of the things I could, or should, do better. You know, like how I should clean more, yell less, improve my cooking, do more arts and crafts with (and without) my kids, find more time to exercise, read more, give my kids more undivided attention without being distracted by email or Facebook or one of the other million forms of social media, and the list goes on and on. This is usually when I start giving myself that “You’re doing great!” pep talk. Sometimes I believe her; other times I’m convinced she’s full of shit.

As moms, we have so many different roles, responsibilities, hats to wear and balls to juggle, that life can feel pretty darn overwhelming. Am I right? You’re spread so thin that it’s damn near impossible to give 100% to everything you do, all the time. On top of that, you’re sleep deprived. You can’t remember the last time you had a really good night’s sleep. I mean, getting a night with just 6 uninterrupted hours of sleep feels like winning the lottery.

And then there are those treasured moments where I really feel like maybe I’ve got this whole mommy thing down. I call them my “A-game” moments. We all have them and sometimes we just need to remember to celebrate these little victories, ya know? Those moments where you feel like you’ve earned that gold star.

Some of my latest little victories include finally scheduling doctors appointments for myself. Turns out I haven’t had a physical since 2011. Who knew? And I haven’t seen my gynecologist since my 6 week follow-up after having my youngest (who turned 2 back in May, by the way). Another little victory I’m celebrating right now is that I made a couple healthier meals that my kids actually ate and liked! Also, we put some music on after dinner the other night and had a dance party right in our living room. The kids did most of the dancing, but we were all laughing and having fun. Most importantly, my girls were getting along marvelously. Yet another victory to add to the list!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had co-workers (who don’t have kids) say, “I really don’t know how you do it!” I never really know how to respond. I take it as a compliment, of course, but I’ve never really been able to find the right response so I usually end up just laughing a little. I mean, sometimes I don’t even know how I’m doing it. There are days that I have been quite impressed with myself for functioning well at work after only getting 3 hours of sleep the night before. I may have been super cranky and not much fun to be around at home that night, but I’ll still consider it a victory.

It’s impossible to be great at everything, all the time. Too often we get caught up in the idea of being a perfect parent when in reality what we moms need to do is to quit being so hard on ourselves. So what if you don’t cook like Rachael Ray, or there’s a bunch of smooshed Cheerios on your dining room rug, or your living room floor has been covered with toys for days, or you’ve got a mountain of dirty laundry you haven’t yet had time to wash? We both know you’ve also had plenty of little victories going on over there. They are just as, if not more, important. So just take a deep breath and celebrate them.

The bags under my eyes don't lie.

Photo by C. Corrigan

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