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I Lost Myself in My Role as a Parent

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I find myself breaking down in tears somewhere in the middle of three loads of laundry I’ve been avoiding all day, the tumbleweeds of dog hair in the corners of our living room standing as a constant reminder I’m behind on vacuuming, a half prepped pan of baked ziti that I’ve been pulled away from too many times to count and a dementia laden 16-year-old dog that has been on my toes most of the afternoon barking at me to feed him because he can’t remember he’s already eaten. In the midst of the hectic chaos that I exist in every day, I often don’t realize how hard I’m pushing myself.

Life is hard. Raising tiny humans is all consuming. But this overreaching burden I’ve placed on myself to do it all perfectly is what is crushing me day in and day out. The expectations, the to do lists, the planner crammed full of our schedules and appointments all rest on my shoulders and weigh heavy on my mind. I don’t know why it snowballed so quickly or why I am self perpetuating this punishment onto myself?

But I know this pressure as a mom to be everything to everyone is not isolated to just me. I can’t be the only mom who wants to give all I have to my family. But in trying to be the best possible parent, spouse, cook, boo-boo kisser, homework helper, maid and bed time tucker-inner I lost myself.

I’m realizing I’ve become more focused on the completion of the task at hand than the person I’m doing it for. I’m holding tight to these deep seeded ideals of perfection that just aren’t obtainable and it’s exhausting.

Hunting down my vision of a flawless motherhood is taking me further and further from actually being the involved mother I so badly want to be. The details of our lives have become so important that the whole picture is out of focus.

Time is passing by so quickly. I don’t want to look back in 10 years and wish I hadn’t wasted my energy on all the insignificant details that no one will even remember anyways. I want my kids to have memories that actually involve me being present with them. I want to scale back the list making and obsessive organizing to show them that spontaneity is a strength, too. But most of all I hope my kids see that in many avenues in life perfection has a cost too high to gamble with.

Trying my best and seeking perfection are not the same thing. I might need to remind myself of that frequently. It’s time to let go of the tunnel vision of parenthood and start embracing the beauty in it’s messiness. I don’t have to be a perfect mom and neither do you.

Follow this journey at Loving Almost Every Minute.

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Originally published: December 4, 2017
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