I want to be the perfect mom because it's the most important job I have. I don't want to fail at it because my heart is on the line and there is this tiny little person who's depending on me to get it right. Not only now, in the day-to-day routine, but also in the long-term I have to get it right more times than not so that she grows up feeling confident, secure, and loved.
But that's the problem. The problem is that I'm trying to do it perfectly. Not just good, not just good enough, but it's like I have to get the "superior" rating on my performance evaluation as a mom. Yet I keep tripping up because I keep finding flaws. The more time I spend in this gig the less I am sure about. Ahhh, fall is in the air. That cool breeze is blowing the leaves around and a sudden urge for hot apple cider and evenings reading by the fireplace seizes me, and so I remember last fall when my baby was just turing 4 months old and I was the veteran mom already. I took her to a pumpkin patch complete with a hayride for the the little ones and their parents. Back then, I was smuggly crossing my t's and dotting my i's to the tune of Babywise andWhat to Expect the First Year. In other words, I really thought that I had it pretty much together. So when another mom asked me about my daughter's sleeping patterns, I didn't hesitate to let her know that my baby had been sleeping through the night since she was 2 months old (I mean really, if your read and follow the"right" books, shouldn't every baby?) She laughingly replied that she didn't know if she could hang out with me because her 10 month old was still waking up at night. (1o months? Something must be wrong with her parenting!)
Of course did I ever get a wake-up call after that. DD decided after 7 months or so that sleeping through the night wasn't what it's cracked up to be, and since then it's never been..let's say "predictable". Slowly as the months passed on I realized that the Cliff Notes for Parenting just doesn't exist. More and more I realized that it had become this intuive grope in the darkness feeling along for what worked and what didn't. And that there are no perfect, let alone "right" answers tht fit every parent, or every child.
A dear friend told me before I had my baby that "the hard thing about being a parent is that no one ever tells you if you're doing a good job". Yes, maybe that's why it's so uncomfortable at times. I hate my performance evaluations at work, but for good or bad, they give me some kind do measure of how I'm doing. With parenting it sometimes feels like a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-I hope I got it right this time adventure. But you know, honestly--deep down--I know that as long as my little girl can look me in the eyes and feel that I adore her, I'm doing just fine.
I'm finally starting to see that the less I try to be perfect the more effective I become.