Why Honest Motherhood is More Important than Perfection

Why Honest Motherhood is More Important than Perfection

Honest motherhood.  Out of curiosity, I searched the hashtag #honestmotherhood on Instagram when I was writing this post.  It brought up hundreds of pictures of smiling, happy children and families.  Is that motherhood?  Absolutely.  Is that an honest portrayal of motherhood?  Not quite.

The truth is, we’re struggling in our little family right now.  We feel like we’re barely keeping our heads above water.  We’re surviving, but it feels like that’s all we’re doing.  Each day is an endurance race, and at the end of the night we’re collapsing in exhaustion.

I’ve been back at work for a few months now.  Before I went back, I wrote about how I was struggling with the transition and wasn’t sure how we were going to handle it.  In many ways, the transition back to work has gone better than I could have ever imagined.  I love being back at work.  Everything I wrote in that post rings true – I love using the analytical side of my brain again, I love getting to be somebody else other than Mom, and I LOVE the peaceful drive to and from work, the silence, and the chance to finish a thought without interruption.

It’s everything else that’s causing the issue.

I feel like I’m failing as a Mom.  

There is SO much that needs to happen between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  It’s a sprint from the moment I pick my kids up from daycare, until the moment they’re (finally!) asleep.

I have three very different kids, at three very different developmental stages, with very different needs, and I feel like I’m not meeting any of those needs as well as I’d like to.  

We’re struggling with some behaviour issues, which are consuming a disproportionate amount of our time and energy.  We’re struggling with making sure we’re paying enough attention to all of our kids, including those who don’t demand it as loudly.  And I’m struggling big time with trying to be the Mom that each of my children deserve.

Add in the never-ending chores, the almost-impossible task of getting weeknight dinners on the table while dealing with tired and hungry kids, and the fact that we’re into year 6 of cumulative sleep deprivation, and suffice to say, this is a difficult stage.  

Related: Some Days are Hard

Honest motherhood is more important than perfection

Why am I sharing this?  Because if you saw me on the street, you’d assume I have things at least somewhat together.  Because if you stopped by my house, you’d think I’m organized.  Because if you asked me, I’d tell you we’re doing okay.  And because I’m willing to bet that you do the same.

We all do this.  

We share the highlights.  We let people see the good stuff only.  We don’t talk enough about how sometimes things are just HARD.  

Being a working mom is hard.  Being a stay-at-home mom is hard.  Being a work-at-home-mom is hard.  Sometimes, motherhood is just hard. 

Motherhood is made up of so many wonderful moments.  Moments that take your breath away, where your heart feels like it might burst with love and happiness.  But it’s also made up of frustration, and exhaustion, and being pushed to your absolute limit.

We expect ourselves to do everything – to keep dozens of balls in the air without breaking a sweat.  It’s an impossible standard to live up to, and inevitably we feel like we’re failing.

Social media doesn’t help.  We’re confronted with images of perfection everywhere we turn.  From the perfectly curated Instagram feeds, to the friend gushing about her wonderful husband and children on Facebook, to the beautifully organized houses and enriching kids activities that we all pin on Pinterest.  When everyone’s sharing the highlights, it’s easy to feel like we don’t measure up.

This unrealistic image of perfection is helping nobody, and hurting all of us.  We all have our struggles.  You may be in a smooth patch at the moment, but chances are, you’ve struggled with many of the same things that we’re struggling with right now.  If we’re honest with each other, it gives us a chance to support each other, to cheer each other on, and to learn from each other.  It lets us build meaningful connections – that village that so many of us are lacking.  

So instead of trying to project a perfect image, let’s be honest with each other.  Let’s share the good – and the bad – about motherhood.  This doesn’t mean that you need to post a picture on Instagram of your child having a tantrum or your messy house.  But share your struggles with your friends, your family, your loved ones.  Answer honestly when somebody asks how you’re doing.  Let’s support each other, help each other, and let each other know that we’re not alone.

Motherhood is hard enough without trying to live up to impossible standards. Let's stop pretending everything is perfect, and support and encourage each other instead. #motherhood #honestmotherhood #momlife #motherhoodencouragement #motherhoodinspiration

The unrealistic image of perfection that we all try to portray is helping nobody, and hurting all of us. Let's be honest with each other, and share the good - and the bad - about motherhood. #motherhood #honestmotherhood #momlife

16 thoughts on “Why Honest Motherhood is More Important than Perfection”

  • Thanks so much for this post Laura! It’s refreshing to have a realistic view of motherhood that shows the struggles along with the triumphs. You are a great mom and an amazing role model for your kids. My mom went back to school when I was young to become a nurse and I’ve never been upset at her taking time for herself and her career. She was such an important role model for me, showing me that I could be a mother and have a career at the same time. I remember lots of times where she struggled to get it all done and I think it’s ok and important for our own kids to see us struggle too. Until I had kids, I never quite understood why she was so stressed before we left for a family trip (bwhahaha – now I know all too well.)

    • Thanks Tamara! It’s so true. My Mom juggled balancing her career and raising all of us, and through my “kid goggles” she made it all look easy. It isn’t until recently that I realized that she went through the same struggles that I do. It’s funny the realizations you have once you have kids yourself!

  • Just take the words right out of my mouth! You couldn’t have put these thoughts down in a post any more eloquently. We must be on the same wavelength. I’ve been thinking about this as well, as I peruse some of the top parenting bloggers out there and wonder how they manage to give their kids the time they need from their mom. Working from home, and occasionally blogging takes up so much of my time. Running the house and making sure our little guy is taken care of means that by the end of the day, I’m DONE. Pooched. This lady is one zombie mom at 9:30 p.m. This is why so many are relating to that Youtube vlogging mom that shows how real moms deal with daily stresses (can’t remember her name, but I’d recognize her anywhere!)

    • Yes! Kristina Kuzmic, right? I love her. I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s DONE by the end of the day – I tend to hit my wall as soon as I put the baby to bed (unfortunately we’ve still got two more to get to bed at that point!).

  • Thank you so much for making this post. Yes, motherhood is definitely far from the pictures on Instagram of perfect families and clean houses. Nine times out of ten, that is so far from the truth! I can totally relate to the 5-7pm dash! There’s just not enough time at the end of the night! I wish there were more hours in a day. I hope things settle down for your family and you get some peace of mind. Hopefully your children will settle into a routine after the change of you going back to work. I feel the same way you do; it’s so nice to go to work and be an adult, separate from being a mother who has her own identity and be able to use my brain for intelligent conversation and work. But I feel so guilty by the end of the night. I always hope I am doing the right thing and hope my son feels loved enough. It’s such a struggle to balance family life and work and have anytime left for anything else.

    Great post. Thank you so much for sharing. ❤️

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I think mom-guilt is an ever-present companion, especially for working moms. I try to reassure myself with the fact that, although my parents both worked and must have missed things when I was younger, I don’t remember that. What I do remember are the times that they were there, especially when I knew they were doing some serious juggling to be there. I only hope that I can be there for the moments that matter for my kids!

  • There is so much truth in this article. It is SO hard living in this day and age where 99% of what we see is someone else’s highlight reel. I love your post. You are absolutely right – it’s so important to show honest motherhood instead of perfection. I will make it a point to share the honest moments on social media and in my blog! One of my goals is to help people through my transparency about what life as a SAHM is actually like. This just makes me realize how much people NEED the honesty!!! Thank you! <3

    • Thank you! It’s so important to show honest motherhood, but it’s also really, really hard – probably because everyone else is sharing the highlight reel. I had such a hard time hitting publish on this post, but I’m glad I did, as it seems to be a struggle that so many of us have.

  • Laura! This post isn’t so good! Motherhood IS so hard sometimes, and knowing that everyone is in it together…that it isn’t perfect and isn’t always pretty like it’s portrayed, makes the world seem a little bit smaller. We are all in this together! You’re doing great mama, keep on keeping on.

    • Thank you, so are you! We need that reminder that we’re all in it together, and we’re all dealing with similar things.

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