Imperfect but Proud

Posted by on May 31, 2007

I know I’m not a perfect mom. Far from it, in fact.

I yell at my kids sometimes; sometimes more than sometimes. I let them eat cereal and yogurt for dinner the other night. I let them watch plenty o’ TV. I look forward to bedtime with a fervor that is shameful and some days, despite my desire to be fully engaged, I feel like I’m just phoning it in. As I said, I’m far from perfect.

But sometimes… I stand back and I look at what I’ve done for the past seven (almost) years and I’m amazed. I amaze myself. I have birthed two children, raised one for nearly seven years and another for nearly two and I haven’t lost them, killed them or (to my knowledge) psychologically scarred them thus far.

They make it to all their scheduled pediatric check-ups, my daughter has been to the dentist for checkups and cleanings (with no cavities!) and they always have clean clothes and mostly healthy food to eat, all thanks to me.

They both get plenty of rest and I try my damnedest to give them plenty of experiences and fun things to do, even if it’s just in our own backyard, and I try to create as many good memories for them as I can without driving myself nuts.

I’ve tried to instill in them good citizenship and to be better than I am (i.e. don’t curse at people in traffic) and I try to minimize other negative influences as much as I realistically can.

I know that none of these are earth shattering things. People do this stuff every day and sometimes with way more kids than I have. I guess I’m just in awe of it all because when I was younger I never pictured myself raising kids OR doing all these domestic things that I admittedly don’t like that much.

I never thought I was the kind of person who would want to care for little beings that don’t have tails or that I would be any good at it. But I do and I am. And I have to admit that I’m proud of myself.

But let me clarify…I’m not proud because my kids are such stellar human beings. I mean they are but they’re little. There’s still a lot of time for me to mess them up.

I’m proud because even though I don’t always love this job, I still get up and do it every day and I still look at each new day as another chance to get it right and leave everything that didn’t go right the day before in the past, which I think is critical to my sanity.

And my kids are happy. Even though I get impatient sometimes with my daughter’s penchant for drama or with my son for dumping the cat food into the cat water again, they KNOW I love them.

They KNOW I care about them and want the absolute best for them in life. They KNOW that I accept them as they are. They KNOW I’m CRAZY about them.

In conclusion…even though I’m not perfect, I’m a damn sight better at this than I ever thought I would be. So I walk a line between motherly self-recrimination for all the things I do wrong and self-congratulation for even being able to do it at all, let alone well. And I think that’s okay to say out loud.

I want to hear you brag. Tell me what makes you proud of yourself as a parent; tell me what you’re doing right, or what you’ve accomplished that you never thought you could do.

Go on. Toot your own horns either here or on your own blog (and let me know about it). You surely deserve it and if YOU don’t do it, who will?

Imperfectly Perfect Moms Linking to this Post:

Tracy of Random Thoughts of the Neverending Mind

Chris of Serendipity Mine


38 Comments

  • Alli says:

    Maybe I’m a fussypants because I have four boys under 8. I love the silliness of it all. My day if full of Lightsabers, kisses, catching frogs, and wrestling.
    I’m so proud I made it through my first few years as a Mommy without becoming COMPLETELY Neurotic. I swear those parenting magazines should be outlawed.
    Sweetest part of being Mommy? Smelling the sweet breath of your child. And the way toddlers hands smell like apple juice, play doh, cherios, and random yummies.
    Worst part? Laundry!

  • ali says:

    i doubt myself a lot of time. actually, most of the time.

    but the smiles i get from my youngest when i walk through the door at the end of the day…that’s how i KNOW i’m doing something right!!!

  • chris says:

    It’s not fair to write a post THIS good on the first of the month! Yesterday I could have given you the Perfect Post Award but now we have to wait until the July!

    this.was.amazing.

    So well stated and Exactly how I feel (okay, On good days I feel this way)

  • tori says:

    I just plain love this entire post. You are a wonderful mom, and I love that you will admit it. You rock!

  • I have gotten up and parented all day with no help or breaks all week (where is school when you need it??!) with a dadgum migraine that is like to kill me dead (or make me wish it so).

    There is one moment that makes it worthwhile. There are many things, big and small that are rewarding, but there is one thing that gives me relieef and awe: when they need someone, they *know they can come to me.*

  • Kaleigh says:

    I think I was proudest when I was exclusively breastfeeding my kids. Because I could look at their growing, healthy, plump little bodies and say, truly, “All but one cell of that creature was made by my body.” After traumatic births (both times) it was the most amazinly comforting thought.

    I’m astonished and pleased and awestruck by my kids all the time. Probably more now (at 8 and 10) than ever. My daughter is coming into her adolescence, and I’m breathtaken by how pretty she is. That kind of pretty. And my son is so hilariously funny and articulate and charming (and still retains plenty of his baby-ness, although it seems to be disappearing from the feet up).

    We need to pat ourselves on the backs often. It’s not like everyone else is doing it for us.

  • RWA says:

    There’s nothing wrong with cereal and yogurt for dinner now and then. Heck, that’s better than what I’ve had for dinner a couple of nights this week!!!!

  • sam says:

    GREAT POST! Just great!

    I too am proud that I have birthed and raised an almost two year old without killing or losing him.

    Sometimes I sit back and watch how he’s progressed and am amazed that he’s MY little boy. So smart, so creative, and independent! Love.

  • ROAR! (As in hear me roar about my good mommy skills.)
    Great post Izzy, and brilliant idea.

    I can’t wait to toss a few back to celebrate the fact that we rock. Especially since neither of us thought we would.

  • slackermommy says:

    Imperfect parents make the best parents in my book!

  • Blonde Chick says:

    This was indeed a perfect post. I was feeling in a similar mood today when I blogged about my daughter graduating from 5th grade today. I think of how well she’s turned out, and while a lot of the credit goes to her for being such an amazing child, I hope that my parenting has played a part in it, too!

  • 1. You are clearly a great mom!
    2. But the FIRST thing I noticed about this post was the full-feed!
    3. I promise you your content will get ripped-off at some point, and the way I deal with it is by just deciding to move on and forget about it. Doesn’t work for everyone, though ;)

  • Jennifer says:

    Great post. I completely agree. I love that each new day brings the possibilty that I’ll do a better job than the day before. And I try not to beat myself up too badly when I actually do worse than the day before.

  • Chase says:

    I’m absolutely thrilled that I can read you via bloglines now!! I honestly read and comment a lot more when I can see whole posts in my reader.

    I’m lazy and stubborn and don’t click through much otherwise. So I, for one, am about as happy as can be! :)

  • Virginia says:

    Whenever my flaws start to get me down, I remind myself that 3 of my children have turned out to be lovely young women who are living their lives as capable adults. This gives me hope that I’m not completely screwed up and there is hope for the remaining 3, no matter what I think today.

  • Tracy says:

    I loved this post! I found your blog by visiting Chris’s at Serendipitymine and I’m so glad I did. Like you, I swore I would never have children for three reasons: 1 I didn’t like other peoples children 2 I failed my egg assignment in Home Ec class and 3 I was terrified that I would screw them up. I am lucky enough now to be the stay at home mother of three of the most wonderful children in the world. I look at them every day and wonder how in the hell I got so lucky. I think we as mom’s should toot our own horns because unless you’re a mother, you don’t get it.
    Great post, great blog!

  • Jilly says:

    Thank you for this. You said all the things I’ve been thinking and you’re right. We should brag and be proud of our accomplishments as parents. It might be mundane sounding stuff but it deserves to acknowledgment not just by our families on Mother’s Day but by us, too. Every day. There’s no reason to always be self-deprecating. We’ve earned our props.

  • Izzy says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you :)

  • kittenpie says:

    Wait, yours don’t have tails? Is that normal? (Okay, I’m joking.)

    Me, I’m proud of pumping for a year when we couldn’t latch after trying for a loooong time, but I wanted her to have breastmilk. It sucked, but I was committed.

    I’m proud that I read to her every night, that she loves to read, that I will nearly always put things aside if she asks for a reading.

    I’m proud that I’ve been careful not to instill fears in her when she faces things I fear myself, and she faces them easily because of it. Needles, spiders, dentists, and so on.

    I’m proud that she is loving and kind and generous, and that she considers things carefully when they are explained to her. I’m proud that she’s good with animals.

    And – on a totally separate note – good for you. It’s true, we hate to toot our own horns, we are so conditioned not to, but it’s true, we all have much to be proud of. Look at you, starting ANOTHER revolution…

  • karrie says:

    My 14 yr old daughter isn’t ashamed to be seen with me or to have me around – actually likes me to chaperone and my 10 year old son will let me kiss him in public… and for those of you still in the younger years this is BIG

  • BOSSY says:

    This post made Bossy remember that she dreamed last night that her 10-year-old was in danger of being swallowed by a wave. Then later in the dream Bossy was afraid she would forget and leave her daughter alone on the beach. And don’t we all love hearing about other people’s dreams (not) but Bossy’s point is that these fears only pop up at night -during the day Bossy does a fine job of protecting her kids and keeping them happy while pretending she’s relaxed.

  • Jesse says:

    I love your post and yes us moms should toot our own horn. Sometimes it still amazes me that I’m not only a mom but a sahm.

  • My brag is exactly your post. I love my son to pieces and do my best but I also cannot wait to get away from him sometimes. He is smart, funny and kind. We work really hard to help him be that way. We’re not perfect, but we’re definitely proud of our efforts.

  • you da mom! says:

    i take care of my baby AND my stepson AND my husband AND myself. yes, that’s right. i actually do things for ME which, in itself, is a HUGE accoplishment for any mother. yay me!

  • FishyGirl says:

    I’ve managed to make it this far with four kids under the age of 8 and I have managed to not kill any of them or me or lose anybody more than a couple of times (and once it was on purpose to teach someone a lesson about running away from me in stores) and I am sometimes sane at the same time. Imperfect housekeeper, imperfect mom, Perfectly Good anyway.

  • CG says:

    Great post. The reason I love blogging so much is that I read other’s experiences and thought and realized I am a good mom.
    Like you I am proud that we make through each day and each day is a new start.
    Thanks for the post, it definately made my day!

  • krista says:

    Hmmm. OK I’ll tell a self-congratulatory mom story:

    Today I went to Aidan’s baseball tournament and when I saw this kid bothering him on the bench (as in KICKING him- jerk) I went over to the kid, looked him in the eyes and said, “Are you able to keep your feet to yourself?” In a very stern matter of fact voice.

    Later I was worried that somehow that was bad, like I had over-steeped my boundaries and that I should let Aidan “fight his own battles” or something.

    So I asked Aidan how he felt about my intervening like that, and he said he was grateful. Well he used other words, but you get the idea.

    So while generally I don’t much enjoy going to Aidan’s baseball tournaments, Today I went and stayed engaged in it rather than just waiting for it to be over.

    Yay. Toot Toot TOOT!

  • krista says:

    Hmmm. OK I’ll tell a self-congratulatory mom story:

    Today I went to Aidan’s baseball tournament and when I saw this kid bothering him on the bench (as in KICKING him- jerk) I went over to the kid, looked him in the eyes and said, “Are you able to keep your feet to yourself?” In a very stern matter of fact voice.

    Later I was worried that somehow that was bad, like I had over-steeped my boundaries and that I should let Aidan “fight his own battles” or something.

    So I asked Aidan how he felt about my intervening like that, and he said he was grateful. Well he used other words, but you get the idea.

    So while generally I don’t much enjoy going to Aidan’s baseball tournaments, Today I went and stayed engaged in it rather than just waiting for it to be over.

    Yay. Toot Toot TOOT!

  • Devra says:

    I had a very proud parenting moment the day my son who was 10 at the time, came home from early and told me the reason was because some of the older kids down the street were using bad language an he wasn’t comfortable with what they were saying so he came home. Knowing that I myself tend to have somewhat of a potty mouth, I was quite pleased that my son had figured out there was a difference between his mom saying “Oh shit, where did that lego come from?” while I grab my foot and hop around the house and some bully kid down the block using the word shit with no lego in sight.

  • Devra says:

    I had a very proud parenting moment the day my son who was 10 at the time, came home from early and told me the reason was because some of the older kids down the street were using bad language an he wasn’t comfortable with what they were saying so he came home. Knowing that I myself tend to have somewhat of a potty mouth, I was quite pleased that my son had figured out there was a difference between his mom saying “Oh shit, where did that lego come from?” while I grab my foot and hop around the house and some bully kid down the block using the word shit with no lego in sight.

  • Here here Izzy! There’s one thing that I need to work on is not to yell too much, just a knee jerk reaction. But there is nothing else in the world that I would change about being a Mom! And very anxious to meet our 4th one. Only a few more days to go and he’s teasing me with a cramp here and there, but nothing yet.

  • bitsy parker says:

    I was telling my friend something along these lines just the other day. If you feed your children three times a day and put them to bed on time you’re already got a solid B in parenting. Getting the A is what takes the effort, but some days a B will do just fine! Many day, in fact!!

  • I tend to dwell on the parenting mistakes I make each day and not give myself enough credit for the wonderful things I do for my girls. Thanks for speaking up about what you do right as a mom and reminding me I should do the same.

  • MattB says:

    “…even though I don’t always love this job, I still get up and do it every day and I still look at each new day as another chance to get it right …” and that’s all anyone can do. Congrats to all you moms. It may seem mundane, but you’re forming the people who will inherit the earth. Not so mundane, huh?

  • gurly-gurl says:

    WOW Izzy so well put. Took the words right out of my mouth. Glad to know someone else let’s their kids watch tons of tv, is glad when it’s bed time but still does her dardnest to give them the best possible.

    I am a mother of two and I never though life would be like this or that I would love as much as this. This is the ultimate life experience. Being a mommy. The best job ever!!

  • shauna says:

    I soooo needed this post today. Thanks for being genuine and real. Because while I’m not June Cleaver, I’m trying everyday to be better, and that’s what I’m proud of. Mahalo for reminding me that’s important too…

  • motherofbun says:

    You answered a question I have about pretty much every mom on the planet. The question is: on the day of your child’s birthday, do you feel a little lighter and happier and excited? Do you walk around that whole day with a spring in your step wanting to tell everyone its your little one’s birthday. And you sort of hope for a medal because YOU’VE KEPT THEM ALIVE FOR THIS MANY YEARS! And they are happy and healthy and (fairly) clean (at this moment). And you’re secretly really proud of yourself because up until now you couldn’t even keep a houseplant alive.

  • Sueb0b says:

    Wow. I read “pediatric appointments” as “podiatric appointments” and I was wondering “Whatis wrong with Izzy’s kids’ feet??”

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