Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

I wish that I were a more perfect mom

There are days when I wish to be a more perfect mom. Days like today, for instance. Days like today when my husband came home, asked me how we were doing, and I tried not to cry. I felt like a failure today.

Me: I wish that I were more perfect. I wish to be a more perfect mom.

Life: Hm. What do you mean, exactly, by more perfect? You realize that Living is, by nature, imperfectly perfect, right? Your son. He’s imperfectly perfect. You blither on about that enough for me to think that you, at times, Get It. That you get that life is lived in the moments.

Me: Well, sure. I mean, I know that none of us are perfect. And that’s why I want The Land of Empathy and Wonder. To find empathy and wonder for all of us in our imperfectness.

Life: I don’t think imperfectness is a word, but yes, you did. So why is it that today, you wish that you were more perfect?

Me: Because today, I sucked.

Life: Today, you sucked at what, exactly?

Me: I sucked at you. At Life.

Life: Hm. And how do you feel about that?

Me: Don’t sound like some uninterested therapist. Just listen.

Life: So, you just want me to listen?

Me: No! I want you to help me to be more perfect!

Life: I can’t help you there. That part is up to you.

Me. …

Life: …

Today, I had a lessthan perfect parenting day. My little boy was up last night. A lot. As the dumbass who stays awake until 2 a.m. much too often, Tucker being up, with sniffles, and cuddles and the messy, imperfect perfectness of childhood put a dent in my idea of a perfect Monday.

Mondays are the day that I have with Tucker. I mean, I have every day with him, but Monday is when he’s out of school early, that my husband works late, and when we find magic in tractors, mud, airplanes, sliding, and us. Mondays are when We Play. Mondays are when I blow off work, when Tucker comes home early enough to not be tired, and when we have hours and hours to fill as we wish. Mondays are this (although this was taken on a Friday):

Slide wheeeee

Mondays are when we create elaborate games with me acting as an air traffic controller, and Tucker as the pilot, the wind, and the sun.

Mondays are magic.

Today was Monday. Today was less than magical. I was tired. My little boy was tired.

But, I heard Life’s voice, saying that being Perfectish is up to me.

Life: Perfectish isn’t a word, either.

Me: …

Last night, Tucker was up. A lot. He wasn’t feeling well and he couldn’t sleep…every time that he put his head on his pillow, green buggery snot clogged his nose, his throat, and his breath. Which meant that last night was a night when I was in his room. A lot. Singing, stroking, soothing, and grumbling at Life.

Me: I’m so tired. When will I have time to finish my work? I’ve neglected work for three days now. When am I supposed to shower? I’ve blown that off, too. When do I get me? Do I only get me when there are single digits on the wrong side of midnight?

Life: … *silence*

I was grumpy and completely imperfect.

Until I almost maybe wasn’t.

I wasn’t because we played. We lived out loud. Although I didn’t take Tucker to the playground, where perfect often happens, we did have perfect moments. Chase. Airplanes. Silliness, laughter and happy. We had that. We had perfect. It just didn’t feel perfect, all of the time.  It felt imperfect, tired, and less than. But sometimes, perfect enough is perfect enough.

Me: I was imperfect today.

Life: You’re imperfect everyday. As am I.

Me:  I was perfect during parts of today. There were perfect moments woven between the lines of my imperfect parenting.

Life: Yes.

Me: Sometimes, you sortof suck.

Life: Sometimes, I do. But mostly, I don’t. I gift you with perfect moments. When I am there, in your breath, in your words, and in your heart. When I remind you of all that you have, while you’re resting in the dark or laughing in the light. When peace happens. I remind you that while you’re busy being imperfect, that you’re actually experiencing perfectly perfect.

Me: Yeah. What you said.

One thing that I’ve found that brings me closer to perfect every day is giving to others, when it matters (and this matters). Today, I sponsored a family so that they may have a Thanksgiving Dinner, as part of Jill Smokler’s Thanksgiving project. Want to feel more and do more? Help others. It works. I promise. To participate, just click on the button below.

Life: Yes. This. This is mattering.

Me: I think you used mattering in the wrong way.

Life: No, I didn’t.

Here for the story behind The Ordinary Super Halloween Costumes? Click here

Special thanks to my dear friend Rachel who blogs at Tao of Poop (best blog name, ever) for encouraging me, and lifting me up when I needed it most today. And all of the days…


  • Mytwicebakedpotato - Beautiful and emotional! I struggled to read it on my phone because I needed both hands to wipe the tears streaming down my face.
    I have had those days, more than you know, and I also know that you are stronger than you know! You are stronger than that life that tries to push you down 😉 Blessings to you and yours!October 29, 2013 – 12:31 amReplyCancel

  • Kristi Campbell - My TBP…
    YOU are stronger than you know…and thank you. huge hearts to you and yours…Maybe we’re all stronger than we know???October 29, 2013 – 12:48 amReplyCancel

  • Out One Ear - Linda Atwell - Unfortunately there are days like this. I used to have more than I do now, but I remember them vividly. Too vividly. I could feel your pain. But the, years ago, I sort of figured that maybe we didn’t appreciate our good days (good moments) if we didn’t have some imperfect doozies to compare them to. Of course, I’d prefer to just have the good/perfect days and forget the awful ones. I hope you get lots of sleep tonight. I hope Tucker sleeps tonight. And I know tomorrow will be so much better. Hugs to you, Kristi.October 29, 2013 – 12:51 amReplyCancel

  • Kristi Campbell - Linda,
    I’m going to bed now. I think. Yes, yes I am. Rightnow. And thank you my dear friend for ALWAYS being Right Here, Right Now. Hugs to you, right back…October 29, 2013 – 1:25 amReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - I had a day a bit like that yesterday, too. Emma has had a fever on and off again since Saturday night when she threw up in bed. Thankfully no more throwing up. We went to the doctor on Sunday instead of soccer and of course just viral, but couldn’t send her to school with a fever yesterday, so we sat and did her schoolwork (practice the the letter day), made and decorated a feather and then she wanted to use K-5 Learning on my computer (she is becoming addicted to this) and read a Halloween book, too. So, I gave her all my attention happily while Lily was in pre-school. As much as I knew I had so much to do, it was absolutely perfect for those 2 hours and wouldn’t have had it any other way. Hope Tucker is feeling better and truly just that time of the year I suppose for kids to start getting sick again.October 29, 2013 – 7:44 amReplyCancel

  • Rachel - “There were perfect moments woven between the lines of my imperfect parenting.” I will remember this line when I’m feeling like a lousy mom — which is often. Your honesty and heart continue to inspire me to LIVE my life, as imperfect as it may be. Thank you for that. I think it’s what our children need from us most of all…not perfection but humanity and connection and the moments in between the fact that life can suck. Beautiful post…And I’m in awe of the fact that you find encouragment in our friendship, because you are such an inspiration to me and everyone. I am glad to be your friend. xoOctober 29, 2013 – 8:55 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Golden Spoons - Would it be terribly cliche if I said this post is absolutely perfect?!?!?! Well, I’m saying it anyway because it is. I think so many of us feel this way so often. We think if we are not perfect 100% of the time then we are not doing it well enough. We have to cut ourselves some slack and hold on to those perfect moments amidst our imperfect days and our imperfect lives. I love this!October 29, 2013 – 9:08 amReplyCancel

  • Emily - Thanks…I needed this one today. I’ve been promoting Scary Mommy’s project, but have been lax about helping…I’m clicking and going over there right now to sponsor a family too. You’re right – it feels so much better to help others when things don’t feel so great at home.October 29, 2013 – 9:31 amReplyCancel

  • Deb @ Urban Moo Cow - Sweet lady, you are as perfect as
    They come.October 29, 2013 – 10:32 amReplyCancel

  • Kristi Campbell - Janine,
    Your two hours sounds perfect! Glad you had some time alone with Emma. Sounds like it was really lovely for you both.

    Rachel,
    I’m glad to be your friend, too. And you’re right – they simply need connection and humanity from us.

    Lisa,
    Aw, thanks, friend! We do need to cut ourselves some slack, don’t we?

    Emily,
    I love that you’re sponsoring a family too!

    Deb,
    XO.
    October 29, 2013 – 2:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - First, thank you for lighting a fire under my ass – I went over to Scary Mommy and sponsored a family too. When I get all whiny about my imperfect days, I try to remember that other moms have to worry about feeding their children. You are the perfect mom for Tucker – and if you ever need a reminder of that, you know where to find me.October 29, 2013 – 3:00 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Campbell - Dana,
    So glad that you went and sponsored a family! Awesome! And awww….thanks for saying that I’m the perfect mom for Tucker. I guess we all have our days when we’re feeling imperfect…October 29, 2013 – 3:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Lanaya | Raising Reagan - If there is one thing I can’t stand when I’ve had a shitty day is to be asked “how do you feel about that?” What is that anyway? Ugh!

    We all have those moments, days, weeks, YEARS where we feel like we suck as a parent and we just want to be better. But our kids still think of us as heroes 9 out of 10 times. SO there is still hope for the us right??

    ¤´¨)
    ¸.•*´
    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    http://raising-reagan.comOctober 29, 2013 – 3:17 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - Who knew life was such a grammar judge? Who knew life was so wise? I guess I probably knew both. I hope your Tuesday is better. It’s been a hectic ride for me lately. I haven’t had a good meltdown in awhile.October 29, 2013 – 3:52 pmReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. - Love, love, love this. You found the perfect words to describe something I feel so acutely many, many days.October 29, 2013 – 5:41 pmReplyCancel

  • Shannon Lell - I love this. I have very similar conversations with life.October 29, 2013 – 5:45 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah | LeftBrainBuddha - A day where there are a few perfect moments is perfect enough! You will never be a perfect mom {nor will any of us}, but you are an awesome and caring and kind and loving mother. And that’s pretty close! 🙂October 29, 2013 – 5:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Misty @ Meet the Cottons - you’re a great mom! great moms get tired…because they stay up all night with their kid. ;-}October 29, 2013 – 7:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Katia - I completely sucked today. I raised my voice and said “STOP” when Four Year Old was being extra whiny, calling everything “yucky”. It scared him and he cried and I wanted to punch myself in the throat, because who does that?? For totally selfish reasons this great dialogue was an excellent and such a wise reminder that everyone has those moments and more importantly that we can only strive for perfect moments. Not Perfect life. Thank you, my dear friend and I’m sorry your day sucked yesterday and glad Rachel was there for you 🙂October 29, 2013 – 9:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Mama C. - Wow. Talk about timing. I FELT this post, albeit for reasons a bit different than yours: I’m still trying to manage brushing my teeth, nursing a newborn, making the bed, and getting breakfast on the table for DS all before noon. Perfectly imperfect? Yeah, that would totally be me. Just trying to hold it together and not cry in my coffee.October 29, 2013 – 10:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah Almond - My days like that come in weeks. Especially this one, and it’s only Wednesday. I only wish I could say it was because I was up with a sick child. No, I’ve been up worrying about my children while they are fast asleep, because I’m ridiculous like that. Stupid anxiety…

    Supermama Kristi, you said it so well. Maybe Life needs to have a talk with me too. 😉October 30, 2013 – 1:22 amReplyCancel

  • Julie Chenell DeNeen - I wish my “life” therapist were as nice as yours. I have a mean bitch who beats me down when I feel imperfect. I think I want to hang out with your life.October 30, 2013 – 1:38 amReplyCancel

  • Jhanis - Parenting is hard, not to mention the other roles that we have to fill as a spouse, as a sister, friend or daughter. The only thing that keeps me sane is to focus on the good things and not think too much of my blunders as a parent. We do our best but sometimes we suck. Let’s embrace our suckiness because other than that, we are parents trying to be good at it. That should count at least.
    You rock mama.October 30, 2013 – 5:35 amReplyCancel

  • TK - There are so many days when I feel exactly that. As humans (and especially as moms), we are built to be never satisfied with anything less than perfect. Which is a good thing because then we keep trying to do better. Sometimes, though, it gets so overwhelming but all you really need is a hug. Hugs! I hope the little guy is doing better.October 30, 2013 – 8:18 amReplyCancel

  • [email protected] Losing Austin - <3October 30, 2013 – 2:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Yep I’m feeling like I could write a whole blog post in response to this but I’m one my phone at football practice and would be pissed if I lost it. Anyway I’ll keep copying just in case. Monday I had a less than perfect day as I sat in the car inside of the garage with my son having a grown conversation about what I do all day. On the way home he had asked what was for dinner. That always rubs me wrong because what if I hadn’t put chicken in the crockpot at 7am. Then he asked what color was the chicken. I understood this as him not liking the last chicken I cooked in the crockpot because It got a little dry and scorched. He wanted to know why we could have fried fish and French fries like I made on Sunday. I didn’t lose my cool but he just hit a nerve – a nerve that made my eyes water and nose run. A nerve that sent me into time out that did not work. A nerve that sent me to the shower to have a big girl cry. I was less than perfect because I couldn’t recover that night to be friendly and sit with him while he ate dinner. Even after ate everything on his plate and asked if I was mad and him I couldn’t entertain his question without sadness or crying again. We all human and sometimes a moment in time is too big to handle with perfection.October 30, 2013 – 6:16 pmReplyCancel

  • another jennifer - Love this post. We are all so tough on ourselves as moms. We are perfectly imperfect. I think we should embrace that. Giving always makes things feel better doesn’t it?October 31, 2013 – 1:20 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzy - Muddle-Headed Mamma - A beautifully honest post which would strike a chord with every parent who strives to be the best that they can be. I love how you write “you realize that Living is, by nature, perfectly imperfect”. Such a timely reminder to me and, I’m sure, to so many others. Don’t beat yourself up because you weren’t feeling perfect. You were tired. Exhausted probably. The photo of you and Tucker on the slide is so gorgeous. I can tell from everything I have read and seen that you have written, drawn and photographed that you are an incredible mother. Have a wonderful Halloween and a fantastic weekend 🙂October 31, 2013 – 6:22 pmReplyCancel

  • A Morning Grouch - Can’t have the “perfect” days without the imperfect ones. Such is life. November 1, 2013 – 12:41 amReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - Ah…perfect moments are gifted. Exactly that. We all have our fair share of shit…ahem…me…but you do have to look for those moments. They mean more than a million “perfect” days. We all can’t be on the ball all the time and yes we do get lost in all of the busy, but the good outweighs the bad every single time. Your son won’t remember the shit day, he will remember all of those wonderful ones.November 1, 2013 – 9:39 amReplyCancel

  • Laura - Beautiful post….life is all about helping others….perfect or not.November 1, 2013 – 2:42 pmReplyCancel

  • Jessica - I totally get this. I beat myself up everyday, about everything. My goal for by the end of 2014 is to learn to let go, to let everything be, and be thankful for who I am and what I have. Because, I think no matter what happens, however imperfectly, it’s all part of some perfect plan that we won’t really see the whole of until it’s all done. And unless we appreciate those small glimpses of perfect, we will probably regret wasting our time feeling bad about things that are not perfect. But I think you do a great job of appreciating those moments. 🙂

    Hugs to you!November 5, 2013 – 10:54 amReplyCancel

  • JenKehl - My Skewed View - I’m so glad I read this. I am so much this post. So much. Today Isaiah was so mad at me because we couldn’t make a huge Rube Goldberg machine. He had no idea what it would take and just kept getting madder at me. I finally gave up and checked out. That was bad.
    We have had lots of imperfect days since the sun went away. I am mad at the sun for that.
    Thank you for sharing this it makes me feel better to know I am not alone. <3November 5, 2013 – 11:18 pmReplyCancel

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