The world is celebrating and is excited about the new addition to the British royal family.
We’ve seen pictures of a perfect Kate Middleton just hours after giving birth. Her makeup is done, and so is her hair. She is wearing a nice dress and heels. She is even wearing earrings. Everyone is commenting on how beautiful and perfect she looks — and while I agree that she does look beautiful, moms, I beg you: Please do not compare yourselves to Kate Middleton.
The reality for most of us (who are not royalty and do not have a staff of people to help us get dressed) is that it is difficult to get dressed on an ordinary day when you have small children, much less the day you’ve given birth to your third.
And although we probably all know this, and we aren’t going to bring a dress and heels to the hospital when we have our next child, I still see mothers comparing themselves to others and expecting themselves to be perfect far too often.
Every mother wakes up in the morning and, before her feet even hit the floor, “the list” appears in her head. You know the list.
It goes something like this:
Pack healthy lunches with a fruit, vegetable, and protein. (Perfect moms don’t let their kids eat cafeteria food.)
Get the kids to school on time. (Perfect moms are always organized and on time.)
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Get to work, either at home or the office, and start motoring. (We need to perform very well at our work.)
Show up for room-mom duty. (Perfect moms always volunteer at the school.)
Pick the kids up and be in a really good mood. (Perfect moms are always nice.)
Have a healthy dinner on the table at a decent hour. (Good moms don’t do takeout more than once a week.)
And, if you have a few spare moments at the end of the day, don’t eat ice cream because disciplined mothers are always working on those last 10 pounds.
Finally, collapse in your bed and get your seven hours before you start all over.
When did we make the list to be the perfect mother so outrageously long?
Kids just want us to love them, protect them, and spend time with them.
We know social media aren’t helping. A recent study showed that mothers who went online often and compared themselves to other mothers on social media felt more depressed, less competent and more overwhelmed. A study is not required for you to know this because you have probably experienced this for yourself, and well before the photo of Kate Middleton appeared.
But, moms, here is my big secret: Kids don’t want perfect mothers.
They just want us to love them, protect them, and spend time with them. When we make ourselves miserable by trying to be perfect, they’re miserable, too.
I have a challenge for every woman who feels driven to be the crazy but perfect mom and Kate Middleton lookalike. Dial down and ask what your kids really need from you. If you are brutally honest, you will discover that kids need mothers who love them, value them and adore them.
When they leave home, they need to have a deep sense that they are valued and loved for who they are. They don’t need us to perform for them; they need us to love being with them.
The truth is, 99 percent of all kids don’t care if we buy store-made brownies, make brownies from a box, or make them from scratch. Kids just want to eat brownies with us.
And you don’t have to be a perfect mom to do that.
Dr. Meg Meeker has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for more than 30 years. She is the author of the book “Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need” (Regnery Publishing, May 2017), along with a number of digital parenting resources and online courses, including The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids.