In the city where I live, most people appear to have a perfect life. When you drive down our street, you see organized garages and meticulously manicured yards. When neighbors invite me in, their houses look pristine. Many of my friends work or have side hustles, cook amazing meals from scratch every day, keep their house clean, and make DIY crafts with their kids. (At least this is how they seem to me).
This is not at all the reality of my life!
A pastor’s wife confession
Here’s another pastor’s wife confession… I don’t always have my crap together! My kids eat way too much cereal, mac and cheese, and corn dogs, I often panic clean while whining at my family about being raised in a barn, and once a year, we clean out the garage when it is getting hard to fit our cars in there. I can’t keep a houseplant alive, and I don’t know how to clean my oven. (This is a new realization, so I will watch some videos and figure it out. Stay tuned)
But guess what…It’s okay to not be Pinterest Perfect
In my early mom years, I really struggled because I was nothing like the Pinterest moms or the moms I later saw on Instagram. When it came to cleaning the house and cooking, I didn’t have that “gift.” The feeling that I didn’t measure up was often overwhelming.
I didn’t make my kids’ lunch look like farm animals and plan daily art projects. Not that I didn’t make attempts, they would more likely show up in a “Pinterest Fail” post somewhere. We literally played in the dirt in the back yard, and my kids loved to eat frozen peas, string cheese, and grapes (which I cut into forths… I’m pretty proud of that).
Everything in me desired to be a perfect, crafty mom, but it didn’t come naturally. I spent much of my time in survival mode, feeling like a failure… like I should be doing those things. I wanted to do those things. Then when I attempted to do those crafty things, my house was a mess, and I was a grump. Have you seen what playdough can do to a kitchen?
God doesn’t care if I am crafty and have a spotless house
As a pastor’s wife, I know that God doesn’t require me to be a Pinterest mom. I know this! The Bible doesn’t tell me that I need to throw the best parties and make sure that my kids’ Valentine boxes are the best in the class. No… He wants me to teach my kids to love Him and to love their neighbor. That should be my focus… pointing my children to Jesus. This seems so simple, and yet, I still struggle. I’m a freaking pastor’s wife, and I still struggle with this concept.
Why do we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others? God has given us each different gifts and talents. It makes sense that we would parent differently as well.
Psychology doesn’t tell me to be Pinterest perfect either
According to Psychology Today, what kids really need from their parents is to feel safe, seen, and soothed. Luckily for me and every other domestically challenged mom out there, not one of these things require me to be Pinterest perfect. In fact, I can suck at most things and still give my kids what they need. This is great news! Even psychology says I don’t need to be a Pinterest mom!
Real life Pinterest moms might exist and that’s okay
I do know several Pinteresty moms who are just as I imagine the perfect Pinterest mom to be. They are the real deal. I am in awe of how they can homeschool, work a day job or run a business (sometimes both), cook fresh meals every day, keep their house clean, and still have fun with their kids. But if you ask them, they don’t feel like they have everything figured out either. They, too, have their moments when they struggle with knowing how to be a good mom.
Pinterest is not the standard…You are not a failure
Just because your house isn’t always clean and you’re not making healthy meals from scratch for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, it does not mean that you are a failure. The world we see on the internet has made us believe that we need to live a standard that many of us can not possibly measure up to. Here are some things you can do to change your perspective on this and stop feeling like you are failing your family.
Come up with different criteria of what it means to be a good mom
First, come up with different ways to judge how you are doing. If God wants me to teach them to love him and love others, and psychology tells me that they need to feel safe, seen, and soothed… what does that look like? For me, enjoying quality time with my kids and focusing on the relationships feels like a win. Seeing my kids make good choices on their own is a win. Playing play dough and laughing all day is better than having a spotless house. So much learning can occur through play. The days I feel like I’m succeeding are the days that there is peace and love felt in my home.
That sounds easy, right!?
It’s too hard for me to be a good mom and have have fun in a messy house
When my house is messy, I can’t function. All I can think about is the messy house and how much I suck as a housekeeper. It paralyzes me. This seriously feels like a curse sometimes. I can’t function in a mess, but housekeeping has never come naturally to me. Sometimes, I can’t figure out where to start to fix it. It’s overwhelming… and then I feel more like a failure.
While I have gotten better at this over the years, I still have my moments. To remedy this, there are two options that I can see. Either learn to be okay with a messy house or develop a system to keep the house clean. I chose the latter. I have daily chores, and we do a 10-minute cleanup at night. It wasn’t a quick fix, but over time it helped tremendously.
Most importantly, stop the pity party and put the focus on what you can change. It’s amazing how much better you can function in life when you don’t obsess over what you are doing poorly but focus on smaller actionable steps. Only then can you come up with steps to grow in your weaker areas.
Ask for help
In my early years of motherhood, I stayed home and treated all of the house stuff as my full-time job. The problem was keeping up with it all with two young kids. My boys were very active and would destroy the house all day. I’d make dinner with one kid on my hip and the other holding onto my leg and crying. Consequently, by the time they went to sleep, I was exhausted and just wanted to veg out and watch a show on Netflix. My frustration would be targeted at my husband for not doing more around the house.
The problem was… I never said anything to him about needing him to do more until I was so frustrated that I blew up! As you might guess, this method is not well received.
Communication is critical. I have the most loving, gracious, generous husband. All I needed to do was inform him of the stress that it caused, and he was happy to do more things around the house. He doesn’t feel the anxiety that I feel when the house is messy and cluttered. Instead of being grumpy and resentful all the time, I had to ask for a change.
I know that everyone doesn’t have this same situation with a helpful partner, but reach out to someone. Share your concerns and frustrations. One of the best gifts I ever received was when friends went in together and hired someone to clean my house for me. They didn’t tell me they were doing it so I wouldn’t feel pressure to clean my house ahead of time. It was WONDERFUL!
Learn from others
My mom worked several jobs starting from the time I was ten years old. Although I know she would have loved to teach me things, she didn’t have the time. As an adult, I have sought out people who know how to do things that I want to learn. I have learned to sew, quilt, cook meals, and bake from others, and hopefully, this year, I will learn to keep plants alive.
The fun thing about learning from others is that not only did I learn new skills, I also soaked in their wisdom about life. I have gleaned knowledge from so many amazing people over the years in every city we have lived in, and I will forever be grateful that they took the time to teach me and invest in me.
Seek out those people. You will be blessed in more ways that you know.
Hire it out if you can
Successful leaders don’t do everything on their own. They delegate tasks that they are not good at to others who are. Why do we as women always feel like we have to do everything on our own? If I could afford it, I would hire out all of the tasks that I dislike… like deep cleaning. Until then, I need to use the free labor I have and learn to be okay with the results.
Figure out what is causing the most stress
Bedtime has historically been the most stressful time for me. If the house is a mess, I can’t focus. My husband started taking over the bedtime routine so that I could clean the kitchen. You guys… this was HUGE! It gave me a chance to clean without two toddlers crying and holding on to my legs and gave him bonding time with the kids. As the kids got older, we instituted the Ten-minute cleanup. That little trick was life-changing! Well… as long as we actually stick to it.
Make one change at a time
Don’t try to do everything all at once. You would be amazed at how much you can change over a long period of time. Maybe make one small change a month. In a year, you will have 12 things that are running more smoothly.
Remember what is important
Everything goes back to the relationships for me. I want my kids to know they are loved, safe, and accepted. Gaining life skills to make a difference in the world is more important than having a crafty mom. I want them to understand how God loves them so that they will show that love to others. This is a slow process called parenting. We will have so many failures and “teachable moments” along the way, but ultimately… This is my number one goal… Not the clean house, not the crafty decorations, but this!
Be encouraged, momma. You don’t need to be Pinteresty to be a good mom. Spend time with your kids, love them, teach them, but do it in a way that works for you.
Looking for some items that will make life easier?
Check out this post: Busy Mom Must Haves to Make Life Easier