Perfection is overrated
Mothering is hard. Not all the times, but most of the times. Whether you’re a first time mama or the mother of multiples, teens, toddlers or grown children… I am sure whatever stage you’re at, all of us can agree that there are always new challenges at every corner and milestone. Not all of these challenges are kiddo related. Most of them are usually a reflection (at least for me!) on my parenting and how “well” I’m doing as a mama.
We started off this “Keeping up with Kat” column as a way for me share with you fun tidbits of what’s happening around our city, some of my favourite picks of the month as well as personal reflections on parenthood month by month. Well, it’s been a few months since my last update and that eternal struggle of whether or not I’m balancing it all still persists.
Read more: Keeping up with Kat: The Balancing Act
Recently, a good friend introduced a book called “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist as we were catching up over a solid bowl of pho. As two working mums, we could relate to the struggle of wanting to be the perfect mama to our kids as well as excelling at our jobs. But as she shared the premise of the book with me, I was already struck with the profound truth of the title itself. It made me feel hopeful and definitely alleviated some of the #mumguilt I had been feeling. The author talks about leaving a life full of frantic decisions, busyness, hurriedness and burn-out for a life that is about connection and being present with the people around you. I’ve yet to finish it, but I’m already looking forward to the next chapter.
Lately, I had found myself saying these phrases a lot, “Just one minute, honey, mama’s working.” or “Hurry up, mama’s going to be late for my meeting.” or “Not right now, I just need to finish this one thing…” Sound familiar, mamas? It hit me that there’ll be a day when my kids won’t need me for many things and the endless questions and requests for attention will end or evolve into something else. I quickly realised that I need to make changes to really treasure this season in my life.
So, it’s all about taking baby steps… for me that means closing my laptop when my kids are around and putting down my phone (unless I’m snapchatting them doing something cute, because #thosefilters). It also means leaving my phone and those WhatsApp messages in my purse when out with friends, silencing the social media alerts before heading to bed or going out for a run with the hubby instead of bingeing another Netflix show (I’m not against a good night in on the couch with the telly, just in moderation!).
It means being completely focused on the people around me in whatever setting I find myself. Telling my kids not just with my words but with my body language that I am all there and completely available to them when I’m off work. It also means being all there when I’m at work and not feeling guilty about it either.
I guess at the end of the day, I just wanted you (and myself!) to hear this. No one expects you to be perfect, and if there are people who do, well, good riddance to them. So mamas, with the anticipated busy season of the holidays ahead of us, remember that your presence is the best gift to the people around you. Cheesy, but true. Let’s give ourselves a break and allow ourselves to be present in the big, small, mundane, monumental and every day moments.