Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Picture Perfect
What does trying to be a “perfect mom” teach our kids?

by Mary Susan Buhner

March 01, 2013

I struggle, like a lot of moms, on not beating myself up each day on what I did right and what I did wrong as a mom. Sometimes I lose my temper and wish I hadn’t immediately afterward. Sometimes I close my eyes and pray for strength and then the next day I wonder why it seemed such a big deal to me. Can you relate?

I remember the exact day I started to feel like I had to be “perfect” since I was now a mom. I was driving through McDonald’s. My oldest was only six years old at the time and my middle daughter was just a baby. They were both securely in their car seats when I drove up and rolled down my window to order. It was a cold February day and it was snowing. I was tired and already thinking about getting my baby home down in time for a nap and getting my oldest dressed in her snow gear so she could play outside when we got back home. The nice person on the intercom asked to take my order. I replied, “A Happy Meal with nuggets with honey mustard sauce.” I rolled up my window and starting to inch forward in line. My oldest daughter immediately said to me, “Mommy, what’s wrong?” I am sure I sighed and said something like, “Nothing, honey, why?” She replied back, “Because when you ordered you didn’t sound happy and you didn’t say please when you asked for my Happy Meal.” I was busted right there in the McDonald’s drive-thru by my six year old daughter. Truth is, I was overwhelmed by what she said. I was exhausted by the notion that I would be expected to be the best version of myself 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I now had little ears listening and little eyes watching me. I took a deep breath, paid at the window and said, “Thank you so much!” in a cheery voice with a smile on my face trying to make up for my “bad manners” just moments before.

I carried this notion around for a while – being the “perfect” mom. What I soon realized however, was that it was way too unrealistic to be the perfect mom. What was I teaching my children if I didn’t show them that I too, had struggles, challenges and obstacles? Granted, keeping my cool is important, but this idea of being perfect was phony. Would I expect them to be perfect students? Would I expect them to play a perfect game of basketball, soccer or lacrosse? No way, it’s not possible. The fact is, they can actually learn more when they don’t get a perfect test score or play the perfect game. There is growth in messing up, figuring out how to do it better and trying again. So I realized, if I can accept that my kids will fail, start over and just do their personal best each day, then why was I beating myself up over this myth of being a “perfect mom”? The fact is, it is kind of like a diet - you do the best you can. People on diets mess up but it doesn’t mean that they have blown their whole diet. Experts say to just start over the next day. Try to be better and not worry about it. Excellent advice I think for us moms too.

Do the best you can every day, but if you mess up, just try to do better the next day and don’t beat yourself up over it. Always remind yourself that it is okay not to be perfect!

Join the Mommy Magic’s Fan Page on Facebook and visit to be a part of the mom community that supports and encourages moms in Indy with helpful tips for motherhood!