Just recently I was checking my social media feeds and a friend commented on one of my posts about my upcoming webinar. It said, ‘Good luck Susie! You’ll crush it I know. #bestmom’. I smiled because friends are awesome, but then I had the same moment I have experienced so many times as a parent educator; I am not the best mom. I am simply trying to be my best.
Best is defined as ‘Excelling all others.’ I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I want to be defined as the best at anything if those are the standards that I need to live up to every single day! I definitely want to strive to be MY BEST, but being THE BEST is a pressure I do not want! And here is why, I am human and I will inevitably make mistakes. I will have bad days. I will mess everything up. I will fail. If I have been defined as, THE BEST how will it feel when my humanness shines through? Horrible! But instead if I am striving to be MY BEST there is room for error. There is room to mess up. There is room to fail. It allows me to accept my inadequacies, forgive myself and try again tomorrow. It allows me the gift of being real.
There seems to be a sliding scale in the world of motherhood. At one end are the moms that seem to be doing EVERYTHING right. They are considered THE BEST moms. These moms are either judged or looked up to. At the other end are the moms that seem to be doing EVERYTHING wrong. They are considered THE WORST moms. These moms are either judged or felt sorry for. And then there are all of the moms in-between. But here is what I want to scream from the rooftops, “Whether you look perfect or you look like a hot mess, EVERY mom struggles!” If we could stop judging and start understanding we would normalize motherhood.
It is not about being the BEST or the WORST, it is about being OUR best. It’s about being grateful for the good times and gentle on ourselves during the bad times. It’s about sending empathy to the mom who shows the struggle and empathy to the mom who does everything to hide the struggle. It’s about loving the mom who has done the hard work to be her best and not judging her for it. It’s about loving the mom who hasn’t done any of the work because it is just too hard to walk through the pain. It’s not about being THE best. It is about trying to be YOUR best.
I have worked with hundreds of moms and I can tell you there is not one who hasn’t or doesn’t struggle. Some struggle more than others, but everyone struggles. If we know this we can be more accepting of our struggles. When we are more accepting of our struggles we can be more forgiving of our mistakes. And when we are more forgiving of our mistakes we can go out, apologize, try again and be our own best self. This is not only a gift we can give to ourselves and to other mothers, it is the kind of role modeling our children need.