Remember the days before you had children? I always pictured myself having children and raising a family. But now that I am raising children, I am not the mother I pictured myself to be.
We all have goals, aspirations, and dreams in life. Most of my own goals were centered around having children, especially when going through years of infertility.
But being a mom is different from what I thought. Not only is it a lot harder than I could ever imagine, but I’m not the perfect mom I wanted to be before I had kids.
Before children, I always thought I would be like the modern-day Mrs. Brady. Calm, collected, never harsh with her kids. Instead. I would now compare my parenting style to that of Roseanne. Quick-witted, sarcastic, and downright honest within every aspect of my life.
I realize now that before I become a parent I built up an illusion of myself being this perfect mom, that now I know I am definitely not! Although it’s always nice to dream about being the perfect parent, in hindsight, it’s now damaging. Why?
Because I am constantly trying to live up to this perfect parenting image I built in my mind before I had kids. Now when I don’t live up to that perfect mom expectation, I feel like an absolute failure! These lies I told myself before having kids, I realize are only getting in the way of me being a better mom for my children. I can’t live up to a perfect mom image when I am an imperfect human being.
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Here are some lies I told myself before I become a mother:
1. I will not yell at my children
No, kids don’t deserve to be yelled at all the time. And I don’t go out of my way to constantly scream and shout at my kids. However, like most parents, I have raised my voice to get a point across. I’m not going to allow my child to stand on a table every time he thinks I am not looking or when I leave the room. I will yell at him to get down especially if I am a little mentally exhausted from telling him not to stand on the table for the 10th time in one day.
I’m not the type of mom I would consider to be a “yeller,” but I have yelled at my kids before. Most likely, I will again in the near future. I don’t always keep my voice to a whisper and talk it through with my kids to correct a behavior.
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2. I will only give them organic healthy foods
Haven’t we all said this? I eat as healthy as I can with real food. I keep plenty of veggies and fruits in the house. But there is one aspect I didn’t factor into my pre-parent perfect illusion: a child with autism!
With my son’s autism, it goes beyond just picking eating. He has very limited food preferences. He loves organic chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs. I count that as a mom win!
But everything else is a struggle. While I can offer him plenty of healthy food options to eat, I can’t force him to eat and like them. I can’t reason or negotiate for him to try a bite of broccoli. He doesn’t understand that.
I just try and get new foods and snacks hoping to God he will try something new and like it. That’s my goal on foods for my oldest son: Get him to try a bite of new food. It doesn’t matter what it is at this point because he gets credit for trying. If he tried a bite of a burger I would be happy!
Most kids are picky with food, but children with autism are beyond picky eaters and I cannot force him to eat anything he doesn’t like or is not willing to try.
3. I will never bribe my kids to do anything
I had this magical dream that my kids would simply do what’s asked of them and would voluntarily do so. I am not ashamed to say I bribe my kids with a small candy if…
-They sit down to go potty (and two pieces of candy if they actually pee)
-If they behave well at a doctors appointment or at a store (especially if my oldest makes it through the trip without a meltdown)
Honestly, I don’t use candy to get something a want from them, I use it as a reward for doing a good job. I’m proud of my sons for simply sitting down and attempting to go potty. My oldest with autism is four and we are still working on potty training. It’s much harder for him and I’m happy to see how well he’s doing now compared to where he was. He knows if he sits and goes potty he does get rewarded with candy. I’m so freaking proud of him for simply trying!
4. I will do arts and crafts with my kids every day
Yep. This is a big nope! It’s simply not my parenting style. Do I get jealous seeing other mom bloggers posting pictures of their children doing amazing arts and craft projects? Yes!
But they also are not parenting a child with autism. Their children have an interest in creating things and have a longer attention span and higher comprehension skills than my son does. (My youngest son is almost two, so he’s not quite into art projects yet beyond simple scribbling.)
Now any type of craft project or any other type of activity has to be simple. It can’t be overly complicated. That’s why any activity articles you read on here all have a common theme: Simplicity!
The number one type of activity I love to do with my son is sensory-based activities like sensory bins. I’ve found these to be the best for meeting his sensory needs and improving his fine motor skills.
5. I will take a ton of pictures with my kids to post on social media
Again, this is not the type of mom I am! I really wish I was though… Not only do I tend to just live in the moment and forget to take pictures altogether, but I’m really introverted. I don’t feel I need to constantly update my social media feeds with floods of pictures of my kids. Mainly because I don’t have the time to keep up with it. Plus, I would be lying to you if I said that my social anxiety does not spill over into the social media world as well.
This is one of the lies I told my pre-parent self I would like to see become true. I need to take more pictures with my kids. I want photos for my kids to look back on later in life. I typically can only manage to snap a picture of one child at a time, not all of us together.
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I am always trying to make myself a better person for my children. They deserve the best mom in the world because they are my whole world. But these pre-parenting lies and illusions I told myself are now simply holding me back. They are weighing me down and constantly reminding me that I will never be a good enough mother because I am trying to live up to a perfect mom standard that simply doesn’t exist.
While. I might yell sometimes… Bribe my kids with candy as a reward… And do very little arts and crafts compared to other moms. My kids are happy, healthy, and I shower them with plenty of hugs and kisses. At the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.
I will still strive to always be a better mom. But I can’t keep holding myself to an unrealistic standard of being a perfect mom. The truth is, there is no perfect mom. We’re simply perfectly imperfect.
What lies did you tell yourself before having kids? Are they weighing you down mentally? Know this- It’s OK to not be a perfect mom and not to always strive for perfection. Your Kids will love you for simply trying. And they will love you for being you, their mom!