As I start writing this, we’re expecting a significant amount of snow — the kind that will likely keep us holed up for a while.

Again.

And to prepare for all of this snow, my first instinct was to go to the store and buy up a million things to keep us happy, I mean busy.

That’s what we do, right? This is the art of a mother — raising a happy, healthy family.

It’s our job to keep everyone happy. To keep the peace. To keep the smiles. To prevent the tears.

Our own, especially.

I’ve been watching and studying the moms around me both in real life and online to see how they do this job.

I’ve been paying close attention to what we *think* makes us happy.

Really, we are caught up in what has become this social media world of outdoing each other with the best of everything. And we’re doing it so we can all be the perfect mom. The one who has it all together. The one who never has a break down over her kids fighting. The one who is always busy and connected in her social circle. The one everyone likes and wants to be around. The one who seems to always have the time to play with her kids — and get things done.

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However, where we are searching to achieve that kind of happiness (i.e.: prove our worth as mothers) and what we’re seeking may not be making us as happy as we might think. At least these are not long-term solutions for true abundance.

Scanning my Facebook newsfeed, my Pinterest home page and my Twitter feed, I found the following list of goals to be among the most favorite topics mamas are focusing on in their life.

12 ways to (not) be the perfect mom

  1. {The perfect living room} Creating a beautiful home is definitely a work of art and can make us feel really good. But, does the perfect wall paint really impact our happiness in the long term?
  2. {The perfect birthday party decorations} Perhaps we think that if our decorations are  witty and clever we’ll be viewed that way, too?
  3. {The perfect recipe} I like food. I like to eat. I also like things to be simple and fast so I have more time to play with my daughters. But chasing after the perfect recipe takes up a lot of time, especially when we already have a solid 30 in our kitchen binder. How many good recipes do we really need?
  4. {The perfect printable} Home manuals with emergency preparations. To-do lists that will change your life. Ideal grocery lists so you never forget anything again. I’ve discovered over and over again that a plain paper works just great for all my grocery list-making needs.
  5. {The perfect parenting book} You know the one? The one with all the answers? The one with all those magical tricks and techniques? Yup, still chasing it down.
  6. {The perfect status update} Ever spend wayyyy longer than you should creating a status update for Facebook? Or perhaps spending too much time reading other people’s status updates that THEY took too much time to write? I didn’t think so … carry on.
  7. (The perfect toy} Not that you’ve ever done this but I’ve heard, ahem, some people might go out to the store to get the latest and greatest toy that will once-and-for-all, finally, maybe keep their child busy and quiet for more than 10 minutes at a time for a whole week! When you find that toy, please share!
  8. {The perfect blog post about yoga/meditation/exercise} Because we think that by reading about yoga or meditation. Or prayer or gratitude or kindness that we’ll naturally be more like that person we’re trying to be.
  9. {The perfect balance} Work? Not work? Work part-time? Work now and then? Work-at-home? One of these days the perfect scenario for mothers to work and get paid will reveal itself. Until then? Balance on your own two feet.
  10. {The perfect diet} No sugar. No meat. No dairy. No gluten. No food. No water. No calories. No fat. No air. No love. No life. Just eat what makes you feel powerful.
  11. {The perfect routine} There are many paths to the perfect routine and I, the master of a good routine, has yet to find one better than the one we’ve always done. In other words, the perfect routine is the one you’re in right now. That might change tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month.
  12. {The perfect morning} We stay up late getting organized. We get up early to prepare. We rush. We create lists. We plan things out to the hour. And yet someone ends up crying. Stop chasing the perfect mornings and settle for the imperfect ones. Their beautiful, too.

As soon as perfectly wonderful moms start realizing that all this chasing after the perfect mother myth is not helping themselves or their family, they usually end up signing up for The Abundant Mama Project E-Course.

That’s when I happily and joyfully help them realize all the beauty that is already in their life. It’s when I soulfully help them embrace their imperfect lives as they are right now, not just as they hope it will be … some day. This often means accepting our imperfect children and our imperfect homes and our imperfect bodies and embracing that, no, we do not have it all together.

And that is always liberating!

The secret to being happy right now and embracing all this beautiful imperfection is found when we:

  • develop a deep yet very personal gratitude practice.
  • create a sacred and personal self-care ritual.
  • establish refreshing and authentic routines for our homes and our families.
  • offer ourselves sweet, playful reminders to live our lives rather than just plan it.

Once we develop this authentic, joyful practice we really stop trying to create a fine masterpiece out of what is already a great piece of functional art.

And your family, your home, the way you mother can be your art. It can be your finest masterpiece, yet.

(After publishing this post, I came across this blog post that made me wish I thought to add {the perfect playroom} to this list!

DISCUSS: WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN CHASING AFTER TO FIND HAPPINESS LATELY? WHAT’S THAT ONE THING YOU THINK WILL MAKE YOU HAPPIER?

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