I had a few moms over for coffee the other day and one of them was telling me about the “imposter syndrome” among moms. I’d never heard of it before, but I’ve definitely experienced it. The imposter syndrome, she said, is a term for moms trying to appear to have it all together, probably because they feel less-than.
Look, I know that’s tempting. I dropped the F-bomb at the kiddy park today when my dog pulled over my stroller and later mom-handled a isntshetoooldforthis tantrum from my four-year-old. In that moment, I remembered how my friend used to use a fake name at the bar, and considered that that might be a good idea for me at the park. Hello, I’m Veronica and these are my kids Kevin, Stuart, Jenny, and Britney. You will not find us on Facebook. Please forget we ever met, kthanksbye.
On my walk home, I remembered for the thousandth time that the only people I want in my life are the ones who take me as I am. I am a mom who has five months of hair grow out, enjoys long walks alone at Trader Joes, and swears when startled. That is who I am. I am also madly in love with my kids and husband, I’m a loyal friend, and I’m passionate about social justice issues.
If someone doesn’t accept you with your flaws, they don’t deserve your gifts either.
The mom-koolaid is the idea that we have to have it together, and it’s a load of toddler poop (toddler poop comes second only to dog poop in grossness amiright?). Connection requires that we keep it real, and honestly, motherhood has required that I keep it more real than ever before.
Being a mom has pulled out all the gold in my heart, and it has pulled out all the crap too. I thought I was patient-ish until I became a mom. If someone had ever recorded my husband and I’s middle of the night feeding conversations, you’d know what I mean. It was really precious.
Motherhood accentuates our flaws and it enlarges our hearts 1000x its original size at the same time. It IS MESSY, it is exhausting, and you need people who GET IT and GET YOU more than ever.
I think there is so much shame attached to our flaws as parents because it matters so much to us. I’ve never wanted to be good at anything more than I want to be good at being my kids’ mom. I want to stay connected to their precious hearts forever. The facts are though, I make mistakes daily. I struggle with being the best I can be while shaking off the mom guilt that sometimes grips my heart.
My current struggle is with how distracted I am through the day. I’m distracted with my phone, distracted with my work, distracted with the fact that I’m pretty sure my butt is getting big. This struggle is exactly that though, it’s a struggle. It’s a wrestling with wanting to be the best I can be, while also loving myself how I am (just like I want my kids to love themselves how they are).
Motherhood is wonderful, it’s beautiful, it’s messy as hell, and it has the potential to be a very lonely job.
Don’t drink the mom-Koolaid. NO ONE has it all together. I PROMISE.
You have nothing to prove.
If you are around people that make you feel like you’ve got to pretend to fit in, either stop pretending and see what happens, or find new friends.
You are worth it exactly as you are today, and if you don’t have any one else to say this, let me say it:
I see you in your mess and your flaws and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
Your kids love you more than you think.
Your tribe is out there, I promise.
This post originally appeared on The Wonderoak Blog.
Jess lives with her husband and four kids (Malachi 9, Scout 7, Oaklee, 5, Haven 3) in California. She’s passionate about family, community, and keepin’ it real. You may have seen her work on Love What Matters, The Huffington Post, Motherly, Scary Mommy, Today Parents, Her View From Home, ABC, and more.
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