I spent like 95% of my childhood pretending to mom. Water babies, Barbie dolls, cabbage patch- you name it. I would disappear in my room and emerge hours later. Whenever I imagined being a mom in real life, I would’ve never imagined anything less than warm fuzzies, love, and perfection.

In reality, everything is so different. I react and overreact, assume the worst, and let my anger spill over more often than I would like to admit. A large part of my experience of motherhood has been spent mourning over my loss of what I imagined it would be like and how easy I thought it would be.

Let’s speak for a minute why motherhood is so tough. We have this tiny human (and eventually not so tiny) who is seeking us for comfort, safety, and regulation in every way. We get the worst behavior, the most raw emotions, and not always a gesture of appreciation.

As what sometimes happens in grief, eventually I come to a place of acceptance. I made it! So maybe I am not the perfect mom, but I do love my son. I can’t be perfect, but I can continually work to be better. A huge piece of this for me falls in my ability to slow down and breathe. Slowing down and being present with my son allows me to join his world and give him the connection he is constantly requesting. This looks like getting on the floor and being told that I am the mommy tiger, he is the baby tiger, and we need to go on a prowl together. Breathing allows me pause to not have to immediately react. I can check in with myself emotionally and physically before I allow myself to react. Closing my eyes, being aware of my frustration, and remind myself that he will mirror whatever I give him. If I want calmness from him, I’ve got to model it first.

Join me in my journey of imperfection parenting. Let’s welcome our flaws and strive to be better each day. Thanks for reading!

Katie Ewing