Let’s imagine for a moment today’s perfect mom – you know, the one you see on Facebook and Pintrest. She’s always smiling, a devoted gym goer, shops organic at the local farmer’s market, runs a successful business, never misses a volunteer moment at the kid’s school. Oh, and her children are perfect too – straight A’s, impeccable manners, ivy league bound! Don’t deny it…We all – and I included – have taken the bait at one point in time – succumbing to what we think the “ideal” image of motherhood is. In fact, Dove conducted a study that was featured earlier this month in USA today that shows 9 out of 10 moms still feel the need to be perfect.
I practice residential real estate in Northern Virginia and we have a saying that “there are no perfect houses”. It isn’t until the client accepts this truth that she is able to identify and purchase the right home for her family. I have learned that the same is true of motherhood – “there are no perfect moms”; and when we peel back the layers, we discover that motherhood is messy, complicated and demanding – it is a calling that is made for imperfection.
The experience of motherhood is made whole by the opportunities we have every day to endure, comfort, fix, uplift, celebrate and love. Every morning when my children wake up, their father and I feel like it’s Christmas – even though some days it feels more like Halloween! God has blessed us with the gift of two children who challenge us, change us, disrupt us and teach us the value of imperfection, the value of love over performance.
In my career I have had the privilege of helping many mothers make what can feel like an insurmountable transition in their lives. Moving to a new residence often comes in conjunction with a major life event – the birth of a child, an upcoming wedding, divorce, death, depression, addiction, a new job, financial difficulty or retirement. Like you, I have an intense desire to make an imperfect situation in the life of a mother and her family better.
Danielle, a close friend and client of mine who is also a young step mother recently called to say she was diagnosed with an incurable and rare liver cancer. We are determined to believe that somehow, some way she will beat the disease. Embracing motherhood drives us every day to improve and impact the lives of others who need us the most. I believe that in life’s most difficult and imperfect moments, just like Danielle, the young step mother, women excel in their roles as mothers and they don’t ever give up.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this movement championed by American Mothers. It is a privilege to be in the company of so many remarkable mothers, to learn your stories and discover ways to connect. Together we are Mom Nation!
Lizzy Conroy is the 2017 Virginia Mother of the Year.