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Stop “Shoulding” Yourself: There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Mother

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There is no such thing as a perfect mother. But, over time, I have found confidence in the fact that I am the perfect mother for my children, and that is more than enough. We can give all of our heart, mind and soul to motherhood and still make mistakes. And that’s ok! Our kids don’t want perfection, they just want us, warts and all. I used to feel guilty that I didn't pack school lunches for my kids, but then I realized that making homemade lunches didn’t determine whether or not I was a successful mother. With 7 kids at home, I can’t be at every sporting event for every child, nor can I sign up as a chaperone for every field trip, or bring snacks to every dress rehearsal. On the other hand, I can make delicious homemade dinners, plan fun family activities, and capture and print all of our family memories into Chatbooks so we can enjoy them again and again. Learning to let go and give myself some grace has been a critical piece of my motherhood journey.

Our children don’t need moms who can do everything at once. They just need moms who are willing to put in the work and love them every step of the way. Learning that you are the perfect mother for your children is a journey — one that I’m still on myself — but there are a few pro tips that have really helped me on my mission to strengthen my family. Here are my 4 expert tips for being a perfectly imperfect mother...


Kids don’t want more of you.

Research shows that kids don’t necessarily want to be with their parents more — they just want less stressed parents. As a mom of 7, I want to show my kids my best self, which means a little self-care goes a long way. This looks like getting good sleep (I always plug in my phone in the hallway so I’m not distracted while I’m going to bed), exercising 5-6 days a week and taking time to meditate every day. Figure out what your self-care coping strategies are and start to prioritize them. I promise it will totally improve your mom game.

Be confident in what you ARE giving to your kids.

It’s really easy to reflect on motherhood and see only the things you have done wrong, forgotten, or been frustrated with. I used to get frustrated with myself when I would get upset with my kids. Only bad moms yell at their kids, right? Wrong! I had to learn how to give myself some grace. In the midst of my shortcomings were hundreds of hugs, plenty of bedtime stories, dance parties in the kitchen, and playdates at the park. Consider making a list of the things you did well this week and put it somewhere where you can see it as a visible reminder of your achievements.

Celebrate your victories, no matter how small.

Maybe it's exercising before my kids wake up, actually eating breakfast before noon, or showering before 3 pm. These are all motherhood wins to celebrate. Sometimes small victories are a lot more meaningful than the big ones and they totally add up. You are doing a lot better than you think you are and you deserve to celebrate yourself! You are killing it.

Cut yourself some slack.

Rather than focusing on always getting it right, just strive to be mindful enough so that you can recognize good and bad patterns in your family dynamic. It’s never too late to make positive changes. Recognize that you will make mistakes over and over again — that’s part of being human — but don’t let those sidesteps stop you from moving forward.

Create and Remember Family Memories

One thing I consistently do for myself is print off family photos. I am the co-founder of Chatbooks, the first subscription photo book service. In research we did a couple years ago with over 15,000 participants, we found that 68% of parents agree that looking at printed photos makes them feel like better parents. If that isn’t reason enough to print off family photos, then I don’t know what is! Creating and reliving family memories will make you feel like a rockstar mom every day of the week.

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