Tag Archives: motherhood

I’m Embracing Flawed Motherhood and Rejecting Pinterest-Perfection

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-5-41-01-pmBy Farrah Alexander

IF YOU BROWSE the most popular pins on Pinterest, you’ll see a wide variety of things to do, how to look, how to live, how to parent, how to love and if you even attempt to do half of these things, I feel quite certain you will lose your blessed mind.

Do 600 burpees a day and lose the baby weight! Build a farmhouse table Joanna Gaines would envy! Dress like Meghan Markle! Organize your life! Avoid screen time! Try this sangria recipe! Try this energy bar recipe — it’s free of carbs, sugar, gluten, dairy and taste! Re-arrange your child’s room to promote learning through play! Try this brownie recipe — the secret ingredient is one full pound of sugar!! 

You can find great tutorials and information. But most of the time just browsing the pins exhausts me. Obviously, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything Pinterest promotes. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do half of it.

But that’s not what you see on the pins. You see flawless models demonstrating Pilates moves without a single bead of sweat interfering with their impeccable makeup. You see regular moms mastering cake decorating as if they have their own Food Network show. You see gorgeous homes that look like the Fixer Upper crew just worked their magic.

I’ll admit I enjoy much of it. I can wield a glue gun with the best of them. I can whip up a meringue for macarons. My family indulges my love of cheesy, matching T-shirts. It’s fun. I do many things for my family or simply for myself, because I enjoy them. screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-5-41-11-pm

But I cannot do ALL THE THINGS. I’m just a mere mortal mom. I can’t start my day before the sun rises with a grueling workout, then spend the rest of the day eating a keto, paleo, vegan, low-carb, low-calorie, whatever diet, then ensure my home looks like a Pottery Barn catalog at all times, then entertain my children with crafty activities, then be sure to get plenty of rest.

I can’t. Even if I could, I just don’t want to.

I typically don’t even make the brownies, because I opt for a box mix. Half my Pinterest attempts end in Pinterest failures.

I’m not a Pinterest-perfect mom. A life without carbs and cake is not a life I want to live.

My kitchen floor has a perpetual layer of Cheerios. I’m always losing my keys. I don’t dress or look like Meghan Markle — most of the time I wear yoga pants (FYI: my yoga pants have never even been to yoga). And that’s OK.

Thankfully, motherhood doesn’t demand perfection.

My kids don’t seem to care about my flaws and inability to keep our home Cheerios-free, much less magazine-worthy.

I don’t conceal my imperfections and flaws from them, they already know their mother isn’t perfect – and they don’t care.

There are many things I can’t do, but I can fiercely love my family. I can be there. I can kiss boo-boos. I can read stories. I can snuggle. It turns out, that’s enough.

One of the most rewarding and comforting feelings as a parent is to feel unconditional love reciprocated from your children. Since I don’t follow the Pinterest-perfect screen time guidelines, my kids are big fans of the Mr. Rogers inspired Daniel Tiger. We often sing one of Daniel Tiger’s songs to each other… I like you. I like you. I like you — just the way you are.

If you’re a hot mess mom like myself, this is such a beautiful message to receive from your children. They know you. They see you. You don’t have to strive for unattainable perfection. You don’t have to attempt to become someone you’re not. They like you just the way you are.

However, if you manage to maintain a pristine home complete with organized closets, do your 600 burpees a day, cook gourmet meals every evening and love every moment of it, good for you! I admire the heck out of moms who somehow manage to accomplish so much and do it so effortlessly.

Likewise, if you’re more like me and get through your days with the help of lots of coffee and dry shampoo, that’s great, too. Our strengths do not equate to superiority. Whether you appear to be a walking disaster or are the image of Pinterest perfection, you still have all it takes to be a darn good mom.

Parenting is hard. For some, the pursuit of perfection is futile and just makes things harder; others find it fulfilling. We’re all just drudging through and doing our best.

The truth is, our kids won’t remember the tiny details that make up so much of our days. They won’t remember how good we were at making fondant for their birthday cakes. They may not even remember what gifts we gave them. They may never notice or remember that our tummies weren’t trim after they were born. The details will slowly fade from their memories.

What they will remember is that we were there.

They’ll remember how we read them stories, even though we were so tired. They’ll remember we kissed their boo boos and somehow magically healed them. They’ll remember how small, safe and comforting it felt to be snuggled. Those are the little things that matter and become the foundation for their childhood memories.

If you also find yourself struggling and don’t see yourself as the perfect mom, don’t fret. I have no doubt you’re perfect in the eyes of your children who like you just the way you are.


HOOSIER MAMA | Kids Just Wanna Have Fun

By Farrah Alexander

Four years ago, I was a brand-new mom taking my brand-new son out of the house solo for the first time. I was still recovering from an intense labor and delivery and the newfound state of extreme exhaustion I never knew existed. My husband returned to his demanding routine of balancing grad school, an internship and his full-time job. My baby was adjusting to the world after an early arrival, recovering from jaundice and breastfeeding struggles.

We were tired. All of us, so very tired.

Even the tiny goal of a trip to the post office seemed daunting. What if he cries? How am I going to carry these packages and a baby? What if he’s too cold? What about the germs? Oh my God, the germs. But off we went.

As I struggled with the logistics of getting my newborn out of the car seat, into my carrier and out into the farrah3world, I spotted and locked eyes with another mother. Although she was clearly in another stage of motherhood, she also looked tired as she shuffled her small army of little ones into her minivan. I must have looked desperate and overwhelmed to this veteran mother who had years of experience compared to my mere weeks.

Now that my oldest just turned four, I know this mother could have told me anything. She could have scoffed at my exhaustion and warned me to just wait. Just wait until potty training. Just wait until school bullies. Just wait until sibling fights. She could have turned her experience into pessimism.

Instead, she looked at me without even pausing her shuffle of buckling kids in their seats – a routine she’s clearly done countless times – smiled, let out a half-hearted laugh and said with absolute certainty and conviction, “You’re going to have so much fun!”

farrah2Just as I now know all mothers face different challenges as their kids get older and all mothers face some level of physical or mental exhaustion, I also know she was right. It is so much fun.

Before I became a mother, I thought parents were surely lying when they claimed life was more fun with kids. I thought it was something they said to justify the monotonous realities of parenthood. Choose late nights up with a fussy infant over catching a late movie? Then spending weekend mornings up early watching Curious George rather than sleeping in and relaxing with a hot cup of coffee in your pajamas until noon? No, thanks. I honestly thought much of the fun ended when you began having kids.

The truth is it’s a different kind of fun. “Netflix and chill” is more than just a euphemism. Now, I spend the latter part of my evenings looking forward to putting the kids in bed, snuggling up on the couch with my husband until one of us falls asleep under the warm glow of the television. It is a truly rare occasion that farrahI’m still wearing makeup and actual pants past 8:30. Weekends are spent going to the zoo, attending kids’ birthday parties or something else I wouldn’t have any interest in if I wasn’t a parent. You don’t go to events like Disney on Ice because you want to see if Mickey Mouse has skating skills. You want to see your child’s face light up with the sense of wonder and excitement that only exists when you’re a child.

Suddenly all these silly, goofy things are fun because you have kids and the kids make it fun.

There’s so much fun to be had and there’s no one more eager to have fun than a kid. Although as a parent, you obviously carry all the responsibility and the less fun factors of being an adult, you also get to call all the shots.

So, you remember trick or treating at the house with the full-sized candy bars? You can be that house. You remember wanting to wear your Batman costume for no particular occasion, other than Tuesday? Well, happy Tuesday, kid. You’re the caped crusader overseeing our daily errands.

The days are long, but the years are short. This time in our lives is fleeting and one day will be but a memory. Everyone only gets one shot at childhood and we, as parents, largely shape just what kind of childhood that will be. So, let’s have some fun.