Imperfectly Perfect Moms

For a mom, quintessentially speaking… everyday is mother’s day. It’s the fact. I know it was last week we all had our celebrations, opened presents from our kids and received lots of wishes… Still I believe I have to write more about it. I thought hard about what I could write and here is my tribute to all mothers.

I recently came across a video on social media that shows a corporate boardroom panel where the Ad head ask for suggestions from the team to design an ad campaign for Mother’s Day. Predictably, most on the panel suggested depicting a mother multitasking (akin to Goddess Durga with nine hands). Though one lone team member said “why should mothers be perfect?”. Why should we be perfect! There is so much pressure on a mom who has to constantly watch her back to see if anyone is noticing her “imperfect” actions. So true, isn’t it? So instead, let us celebrate the imperfections and stop making our mothers a Goddess who needs to be perfect in everything! I was happy to finally see one media campaign doing this. I hope many more ad campaigns follow this one.

So, how many times have you heard from your mother or grandmother to do things perfectly and in order, especially when you get married and when you have children too? I have heard this line from my mom and other older moms too – “Wait till you become a mom someday”. I am sure even you would have and are hearing this line daily from your parents. I remember my repartee to my mom while growing up, saying “I will be different. You wait and watch” – and I practice this fervently each day as a mom myself now! 

Unquestionably, motherhood is a big challenge. There is no doubt that the human race is evolving but one person who is expected to be a constant is a mom. A mom is anticipated to remain perfect and is constantly judged. (I would call it a scanner) She is under peer and family pressure, and under society’s surveillance mostly all times, which does its best to keep a mom “in her place!”. No matter how hard she tries, either her kids will judge her or her parents or in-laws or even relatives. So, whenever I meet a mom, I always tell her to follow her heart and do what she feels is right because people will judge every fragment of her. 

Many think mothers have to be super-human and yet again the same term, ‘perfect’ at what they are doing. It puts so much pressure to be “perfect” and then walk on eggshells to ensure they don’t falter or slip. Standards of perfection are set high in our society which are difficult to reach. As a result, mothers easily slip into depression and constantly feel unsatisfied with their parenting. There is more to life than being a parent – it is to be your own self and add happiness to that! A majority still expect the mother to be “on time” in all her work (doesn’t matter if it leaves her unhappy and stressed all the time!), always want her to be prim and proper, expect her children to be disciplined, expect her to multitask all the time (courtesy ridiculous memes on social media). 

Here are some hard facts about some “PERFECT MOM” :

1. She is the last one to eat.No one ever asks her too.
2. Always the host and she always play the perfect host. 
3. Postpones her relaxing time. Self-care is her least priority. 
4. Defers her travel plans. Her plans gone with the wind...
5.  Works with a sore back, never a complaint. Self care makes her feel she is selfish.
6. Ensures her kids are doing well, from dawn to dusk...
7. Delays her health check-up for family members; neglects taking her medication on time. 
8. Always aims to be a perfect role model. For everyone around.
9. Guilt tripping and getting guilt tripped by own family, friends for “neglecting her duties” if she stepped out. 
10.Add gaslighting by family, friends or relatives and other folks around. Society is very capable of making her chained to it's whims and expectations.

Yes, the list can go on and on…The above list isn’t about moms on television and web series. It’s the real moms who are conditioned to be perfect and nothing else. Those who refuse to adhere to perfection are termed “rebels”. Some reel moms, influencers and unrealistic expectations from reel life are shown as perfect on social media and various platforms. Thankfully some real and celebrity moms are now busting the “perfect mother” myths through their realistic reels and videos showing it is okay to be messy

Check out the recipe followed since generations:

So, how did our mothers become this perfect? Well, society including families have moulded such moms over years. They became epitomes of perfection and spoke highly as if trophies would be awarded to them. 

The Perfection recipe: 

Guilt trip (add regular blackmail) 
comparing to another ideal/superior mom 
constantly drilling in “pointers to become a good mom” 
Gaslighting (occasionally praising her and then pulling her down through guilt) 
Perfect moms

Time to break Generational codes

We are inching towards the 22nd century, and we are ridden with 9th or perhaps 10th century value systems. Each generation evolves, and each of these generational codes must chip off. We keep stressing the importance of respecting mothers but effectively, how many families RESPECT mothers? Respecting mothers may not always mean giving them a home, property rights or treating them to meals. True respect will only come if we allow them to think for themselves and, allow them to be human (to make mistakes) and appreciate their self-worth.

Appreciating her multitasking skills is not definitely respecting her. This is an old stereotype too. Almost every woman’s day or Mother’s Day, we all receive memes showing a Goddess with nine hands doing nine things. Without even making this a gender debate, let us think of how to reduce the hands she has to use. Ever heard of decentralizing governments? Well, just like decentralizing involves distribution of powers from the Centre to the States and eventually to the masses, similarly let us start distributing duties and responsibilities – physical, financial and emotional – among all family members. All this to be done minus guilt tripping the mother.

My Imperfection Recipe: 

Family time with inclusivity, not to exclude her 
Equal distribution of work among family members 
Postponing “chores” & taking breaks 
Banning negative words at home, gaslighting & guilt tripping 
Lots of laughter at home 
Respecting her choices & accepting her flaws
Imperfectly Perfect Moms

I can assure that we will witness a visible positive and satisfied change in all our mothers. Imagining this brought a smile to your faces, right? So now visualize and do this in real life as well. From now on, make every day Mother’s Day and stop making mothers “perfection divas”. Rather, let us let our moms to be real, crazy, goofy and imperfect with a zest for life. Chores and daily routines need not become our life! Let us ban the word “perfect” and be more “imperfectly perfect”. Take this message coming from one mom to another.

After all, “Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara.” (you get to live this life only once).

Follow Priya Rajendran and The Word Route

2 thoughts on “Imperfectly Perfect Moms

    • Hey Saleema, thanks a lot for your appreciation. Yes, it is a different perspective. I wanted to highlight that imperfections are perfectly okay! 🙂

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