Show me a perfect mom I’ll show you a broken nose

I sat across the table from a woman who had her three kids in tote.  We were having lunch with a mutual friend and waiting on our food. My daughter was getting fidgety in her high chair, so I did my best to entertain her with Mum Mums, and toys before her steamed veggies arrived.

When I looked up and across the table I noticed the woman across from me also entertaining her children. But with sugar packets. One by one I saw her reach into the container holding sugar and wannabe-sugar, open up the packets, and pour them on her son and daughter’s drink coasters. Her two and three year olds were as quiet as can be as they licked their fingers and dipped them into the growing pile of white goodness.

I couldn’t help but chuckle. Here I was feeling guilty for not wiping the table down an extra time before letting my daughter devour a banana, while this experienced mom of three pacified her kids with Equal.

I had to tell her how funny it looked. And I laughed as I wondered how many other moms do this when no one is watching.
You know how people say with your first baby if their paci falls to the floor you pick it up, sanitize it, run it through the washing machine, re-sanitize etc before putting it back in their mouth? Then with the second kid you rinse it off in the sprinklers, with the third child you blow on it and dust it off on your pant leg? Well, let’s just say I’m trying to treat all of my children equally and I’m just skipping to the third child tendencies.

While I don’t see myself letting my kids down a bag of sugar while I’m making dinner, I understand no one is perfect.

So why do I feel like I have to be?

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted my daughter to come into this world, what kind of diapers she should wear, what to bathe her with, pre-washing her stuff, deciding where she sleeps, what she’s eating at what age, agonized about pumping and providing breastmilk, and whether or not she feeds herself or I help her and so much more. But when I stop and think about these decisions and then think about the scope of the rest of her life I can’t help but think these decisions aren’t what’s most important, nor what will have the biggest impact on her life.

So what if I practice baby-led weaning and she can use a spoon when she’s eight months old. Ladeefreakinda. She doesn’t get a medal. Nether do I. And what, is Harvard going to be knocking down my door, promising a full-ride scholarship to be used 18 years from now because my infant can use a spoon? Unfortunately no. 

I could care less if my mom let me cry to sleep or not. As far as I know it didn’t have an effect on me. And despite feeding me formula I’ve turned out pretty healthy,  I don’t hold it against her the least bit. I’m sure she tried her best and I’m thankful for that.

She taught me about commitment, about compassion, charity and integrity. She taught me values, respect, and showed me how to love. All of those things made me who I am today. Made me who I’m proud to be.

I’m not a perfect mom. But no one is. I was spanked, (actually I got woopins, which in my opinion is much worse than the “spankings”people gasp over) and I’m not against them.

I spent half an hour in torment up and down the baby isle debating which teething remedy I should get my daughter. Hylands or Orajel, tablets or gel? Which was best? Would the wrong one kill her?

But then in the same instant I let my daughter eat paper, and only stop her when I realize she’s gagging on her spit wads or eating something I need.

something I need

Lately I’ve been trying to be better about spending quality time with my husband because I think my relationship with him will make a bigger mark on my daughter’s life. More so than whether or not the apple I’m feeding her is organic.

It’s not to say that spending extra time researching good things for her isn’t worth it, but sometimes I think it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and marketing of what people tell us what’s best, when really, what we teach them has far more impact.

I don’t know any mom who has it all down pat. Who doesn’t ever get frustrated, occasionally yell, feed her kids junk food (or sugar packets), or peeks to see if anyone’s looking as she dusts the paci she just picked up off the floor on her pant leg before putting it back in her baby’s mouth.

You show me a perfect mom and I’ll show you a broken nose. Because no one should be that good and have a perfect face.

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  1. I love you for being honest, awesome, and hilarious!

    And I agree on the whoopins. I got them too, and I deserved every one. I remember them with a strange fondness now, mostly I remember the running from them. Because my mom loves me and she wanted the best for me. And if that was the only way to get something through my thick, stubborn skull, then so be it! XD

    Pick your battles. If you all go to sleep content at the end of the day, congratulations! You’ve won.

    P.S.: I love that it’s a ‘Rebel’ camera manual she chewed up!

  2. Love this post! Us moms really need to stick together and not judge each other so much, we all just do our best. And it is def crazy to get caught up in what the “experts” say as tomorrow they will be saying something else.

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this. I talk about “perfect” parenting a lot. It’s refreshing to see us letting go a bit.

    I’ve learned that the things that I stress over and try to perfect in my parenting are usually the things my son never remembers. It’s when we let life happen that we create the greatest memories.

    Great post!

  4. Haha 🙂 This made me’s so true! I used to be the teeniest bit judgemental before I had my I feel so guilty for ever judging! You do what works for you & your family & I’ve decided guilt is a constant companion as a mother..heaven knows I’m going to feel guilty for letting my son watch a show when I get home from work in a couple hours so I can (hopefully) get a tiny nap before ‘starting my day’. And Im just doing what I have to to survive! Keep up the good work girl!

  5. I really like this article… It’s so true! I dont have any kids but I understand what you mean and how you feel. As far as the ‘sugar pckets’ go… she knew she was wrong lol. Probably had to deal with her kids jumping off the walls later!

  6. Oh my goodness,I so loved this post. First off all, very very well written and the last line was my favorite. But you are so right. I’m on the third kid and husband says I am so much more lax with this one than I was with the rest. I too believe in woopins, bc that’s what I got when Itoo was little, I believe what we teach them and how we raise them is more important than what they have. If they are fed, healthy and happy that’s all thatmatters. Many hugs on being such a great mother.

  7. totally LOVED this post! has to be one of my all time favorites of your =) when you wrote about the “whoopins” i completely relate. lol! with an age difference of 8, 10 and 12 years between me and my siblings i watched my mom mother and was completely aware of how she let the rules slacken with my siblings. as a result i’m not as obsessive about my daughter doing things like eating paper (loved that booklet image too!). you’re doing an awesome job at being a mom jenn! keep it up!

  8. I LOVE your tag line for this post! Nobody is perfect, no matter how much they may want you to think it! My comment may not be directly related to your post, but it brings to my mind some thoughts I’ve had in the past. I’m LDS as well and I have realized as I have read dozens of LDS Blogs, it seems to be that they all seem to portray their lives as these absolutely perfect model lives with the perfect family and all of their perfect talents like cooking, and sewing and scrap booking and crafting. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against any of these bloggers and I appreciate their talents and take my share of lessons from what they are sharing, but I find myself at times wondering why I can’t be like them, why I can’t be as crafty or make the best meals like they do. Therein lies my problem…..I get caught up in their lives and take the focus off me and what I have accomplished. I may not be the best blogger and have my camera at every picture taking moment, but that does not make me a bad mom or any less a member of the church. I think all too often those raised in the church are taught to have high expectations and have higher standards, which by no means is a bad thing, but there is quite a fine line between having high standards and being perfect or expecting perfection. Anyway, I guess I’m off my soapbox now. Thanks for reminding me that nobody’s perfect. I needed that. And thanks for being quite candid with your life and thoughts. I love your “tell it like it is” nature/No “sugar coated” crap.

  9. I totally agree with you. I try to quash the self-judgement, but it seems to flare back up again. It’s tough when there are so many judgemental Moms out there too!

  10. Great post! Thanks for the reminder! I try not to get too worked up about petty things either. In the long run, will it really matter? No! As long as my children grow up to be happy, healthy people who love God, nothing else really matters at all! Not how much they fed themselves when they were 1 or how long I let them use a bottle (my own personal issues at the moment ; )).

  11. I’ve broken my nose three times, does this mean I’m the best mom ever? 😉

    You make some great points. We all try to do what is best for our kids and none of us are perfect, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.

    I always say Noah may or may not ___ but if he’s a good person some day we’ll know we did a good job!

  12. I agree that sometimes we do get caught up in researching and trying to be perfect. But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what you’re teaching your kids. You can feed them the best foods, clothe them in the best fabrics, etc but if you’re a poor role model and not instilling in them the values that matter all your efforts are vain.

    I agree, woopins are way worse than spankings. Thankfully, I can count all of mine on one hand. I was quick learner. LOL. And I too am not against using them on Moo if it fits the crime.

  13. Love it! I went through the same thing for the first 8 months of BamBams life. I think how funny it is that we are so influenced but what the “main stream” says we need to do. Sometimes we forget to turn to God who has laid out so clearly what is more important. I think it is key how you talked about having a good relationship with your husband.

  14. I loved reading this. I have a crooked nose AND my daughter sometimes waddles around the house in just a onesie by the end of the day. I used to think people were judging me because, “why is your daughter ONLY in a onesie in all of your pictures!” ….and guess what… I don’t think anyone really cared, or maybe didn’t notice…or maybe they understood all of the mess a one year old gets in throughout a day and remembered the layers coming off one by one. Either way, I’m learning that when I love her and love my husband the best I know how–every thing else is crumbs.

  15. So true! I love this and can relate to so much: I’m crazy about making my own baby food, yet I’ll pop her pacifier in straight from the floor (I might check it first haha.) It’s ridiculous how some mothers look down on others…shouldn’t we be sticking together? Don’t we know how hard this job is, and not everybody is going to do the same thing yet most of us all turn out just fine! I agree that the bonds you have with your child, your significant other, your friends and family, etc. will better shape your child than whether or not you use cloth diapers or co-sleep. Thank you for this refreshing reminder!

  16. Thank you for this. Seriously. I often wonder why women and are insecure and judgy of each other (I’m as guilty as anyone else!). Really, we just need to support and help each other excel at motherhood. My advice to new moms (and advice I always have to remind myself of!) is to figure out what works for you and your family and everyone else can suck it! 🙂 And I had to chuckle about the differences in first babies and second babies. With our son, my husband and I jumped up whenever he made a sound, I couldn’t really sleep well at night because I was so paranoid I wouldn’t be able to hear him, etc. But with my new daughter I’m much more relaxed and am enjoying motherhood more than I did the first time around. I love your blog and your perspective on things!

  17. i LOVE your blog and receive new posts in my email, i have to say today is your BEST POST YET!!! i love it! and yes im one of those moms! haha my three year old daughter is one that eats the little sugar packets with her fingers while we wait for our food!!!! thats funny!!! 🙂 (yeah shes the 4th one but still)

  18. Just wait until the first time you yell, “shut up” at your kids. It will shock you. But then you realize it’s not that big of a deal. No one thing you do is going to make that big of a difference (if you yell “shut up” every day, you might want to try some anger management.)

    It’s like everything you do is a drop of water. Not one drop individually is going to make or break anything. It’s all about those drops once they’re combined. One drop of muddy water isn’t going to ruin a whole jug full. But if you only put muddy water in, then you’ll have a problem.

  19. This reminds me of the time we went out to dinner and a table with a few first time moms sat down across from us and they wiped the table down and put down mats and had special toys and snacks for their babies to play with. Bud was banging a spoon on the table while sitting in the nasty high chair with no cover and shoving refried beans in his mouth. It is just natural to be more relaxed with the second baby than the first. It isn’t right or wrong. It just is.

  20. Thank you for your post. It really made me feel so much better today. I have an 11 week old baby boy (my first) and I’m trying to get him to sleep better during the day and it’s been frustrating. But it’s so true- in the long run it is what we teach them that will matter.

    PS I blow the dust off the pacifier all the time.

  21. Perfection is something we should always strive for. We will never reach it but at least we will get closer to being a good mom. I talk to my daughter about her dreams. I help my son with his music. Memories are what it’s all about. Time goes by so fast.We have to make every bit count:) You’re doing great!

  22. I love the “treat the first like she’s the third” mentality. I try very hard to find balance between the FTM/Pro ideas as well, and I think, you know, we’re on to something here.

  23. WOW!!The best thing that happened to me yesterday in the midst of dealing with sick children and now a sick mommy was finding your blog! LOVE IT! I, too, live in a bicultural/biracial “world”…fascinating huh???

  24. Such a much needed post for me! As an adoptive mother after waiting 8 long years to become a mother…i had a long time to read all the books and create my ideal mothering styles. I was certain I’d be the perfect mom all the time… I have spent way too much time worrying about chosing gerber toothpaste over organic brands due to budget constraints. And as an adoptive parent I put a little extra pressure on myself because I want to ensure I providing a better life than the birthmother had the means to. But in all reality… my daughters life will be great because she has a loving mother and father who cherish her every move and because we will teach her how to find joy in the world. So, sugar packets or mum mum’s… we’re all doing our best. Thanks for the great post!

  25. This is a great post. I think maybe moms focus on these little things like how they birth the baby, what food they feed him/her, what kind of diaper they use because it’s a lot more cut and dry.

    Teaching morals is much more difficult than deciding whether or not to co-sleep and is a life long pursuit. None of that determines what type of person you end up being. You can’t look at someone and know whether or not they were breastfed. There is no study that says your kid is more likely to go to jail if he/she ate non-organic food or was spanked.

    Once you’re past a year old no one cares about that stuff, but they do care if you are a loving, giving person.

  26. Great Post!!!! We are on our third and last baby. Let’s just say, she gets away with a lot of things I would have balked at with the other two! 🙂

    ***You show me a perfect mom and I’ll show you a broken nose. Because no one should be that good and have a perfect face.***

  27. This is incredible, darling. It stretches over into so many aspects of life too.

    Show me the perfect career maven…

    Show me the perfect blogger…

    Show me the perfect wife…

    etc. and etc. So many different places and things we can get caught up in!

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