By Kimberly Blaker
As moms, we all know Albom’s statement is unequivocally true. We feel it through and through from the moment our children are born until we take our last dying breath. Our love for and devotion to our kids shines through in daily selfless acts of caring for and raising our kids and in most of our interactions with them. Even after they’ve grown, our deep love and concern for our kids endure.
We don’t always recognize or give ourselves credit for it (and to our frustration and regret, our kids don’t always either), but even many of the mistakes we make along the way are the result of loving, honorable intentions. Admittedly, we do also sometimes falter despite our love for our children. After all, we’re only human. But when we do err with our kids, particularly in ways we know better, we’re often our own harshest critics.
The thing is, despite the depth of our love for our kids and the plethora of child guidance material at our fingertips, the answers to raising kids aren’t always so black and white. Add to that, every mom has her own unique combination of childhood and life experiences, temperament, and personality, among other factors that affect her decisions and behaviors in parenting. Even the unique characteristics of each of our own children play a role in this dynamic.
Basically, all moms have strengths and weaknesses. In most ways, we totally rock at being a mom. In some areas, we have to work a little harder. And, for most of us, there’s probably an area or two where we may downright stink, harsh as it may sound. Inevitably, it’s the areas where we don’t excel that we often use to compare ourselves to other moms we perceive to be perfect. Then we browbeat ourselves.
The point I’m trying to make is that each and every mom is wonderful in her own ways. No two moms are alike – and none of us are perfect. In fact, always striving to be a perfect mom, which is unattainable, can undermine being the best moms we can be. When we become focused on perfection and comparing ourselves to those we see as ideal moms, we lose sight of what’s most important.
In fact, when we expect perfection from ourselves, without realizing it, we often come to expect perfection from our kids, because having perfect kids is necessary to the facade of being a perfect mom. That’s not only unrealistic, it’s unhealthy for our kids because it teaches them to be perfectionists. They also fail to learn self-acceptance.
So am I saying we shouldn’t try to be better moms? Of course not. What I’m getting at is moms need to recognize their own strengths and value themselves for who they are. While striving to improve your weaknesses, don’t expect perfection, but practice self-forgiveness and self-acceptance. Rather than shooting for an unobtainable goal, just focus on being the best mom you can be.
But despite the imperfections of every mom, there’s one thing moms of all ages and generations have in common. It’s true, ideals and parenting methods change over generations as society evolves, new knowledge is gained, and information becomes more and more accessible. But two things have and will always remain constant – a mother’s deep love and unfailing devotion to her kids – and the insurmountable value of moms to their kids throughout their lives.