There are rare moments when I sit back in my clean living room, look at my washed and dressed children playing cooperatively with a gender neutral, educational toy while a pot of from-scratch soup bubbles on the stove top and a loaf of bread proofs on the counter and think to myself, "I'm a kick ass mum. I've got this."
Then there's the rest of the time.
Those times are when I flop on my couch, hair sweaty and sticking to the back of my neck, and look at a living room with throw pillows multiplying on the floor while children wearing yesterday's shirt with a pair of ripped shorts bicker over who gets the pink Lego brick and who gets the orange one. I avoid looking over my shoulder because I know I'll see a pile of dishes in both sinks, spilled water on the floor, and a stack of canned goods someone decided to use as an obstacle course. I have no idea what to make for dinner and wonder if I can get away with calling string cheese, two slices of lunch meat, a pile of grapes, and a handful of pretzels "tapas".
It's so easy to feel like a failure during the second scenario, a scenario that happens more frequently than the first. There have been articles written on why mothers today feel the urge for perfection. The potential culprits vary – from Pinterest to Facebook and the role social media glimpses into lives may play to the onslaught of books and articles telling women the "only right way" to raise their children.
Sometimes, the small logical part of me that usually pops up and slaps me when I'm cutting grapes into eighths for a toddler whispers into my ear and reminds me, "You're human. You're not perfect. You make mistakes. Your kids still love you for it."
Mum as human is a novel idea. Maybe I should listen to that voice.
What do you do when the pursuit of perfection gets to be too much?