Being a mom is hard work, and the added pressure to look and act a certain way makes it even tougher. And the kids? They’re supposed to behave too. It’s a lot of added stress in a life that’s already full of challenges — the kids, the house, the husband, attempted social life, work, and on and on. Sometimes seeing a fellow mother’s escape from perfection makes my day. I know I sound mean-spirited, but it’s not like that. Admit it: Aren’t we all a little bit happy when we see these things I’m about to describe?
1. Kids Having a Meltdown
When my son comes undone in Target because they are out of pretzel goldfish, my blood pressure is off the charts. I’m mortified. It feels as if a thousand eyes are on me. Sure, I’m acting like it doesn’t faze me, but under the surface, I’m humiliated. But sometimes it’s someone else. And though I feel terrible for them, I’m also glad that I’m not the only one. Hooray! It’s normal!
2. A ‘Muffin Top’
I’m not referring to the delicious eating variety. Although I think I’d be happy to encounter that too. I’m referring to the soft midsection that doesn’t seem to budge no matter how hard I work-out and how much ice cream I skip. The lack of the “perfect body” creates insecurity, stress, and sadness. But the moment I see another mom sporting her curves, I’m not standing out. I’m fitting in. I’m content with myself. Seeing that “muffin-top” reminds me that perfection comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And I’m grateful for her reminder.
3. The 3 p.m. Starbucks or the 11 a.m. Wine Order
These liquids are literally my fuel. They are splurges for some, but a constant for me. And when I see a fellow lover of these drinks, the term “liquid courage” suddenly takes on an entirely new meaning. As a mother, I’ve acquired more courage and strength than I thought possible. And I’ve also acquired a taste for my own adults-only treats. So when I see another mom enjoying her adult moment, I raise my glass. Cheers to finding something for ourselves in the sea of laundry, EZ-Mac, Legos and Hot Wheels.
4. Bad Hair Days
Or in my case, simply bad hair. Some moms are fantastic at making their hair look polished and finished every day. For me, the polished look is a once-every-six-weeks kind of thing. If it’s not in a ponytail, it’s air-dried complete with frizz and waves.
Keeping a house and its residents clean is a huge chore. I love a clean house. But I have my moments when life happens. And so does everyone else. Catching a friend with a sticky floor and dusty tabletops is a good reality check. We can’t clean on a daily basis…and dirt happens — a lot.
6. Old Workout Pants
My wardrobe consists of solid color T-shirts and jean shorts. I’m the epitome of frumpy and drab. But that feeling of wardrobe failure disappears the moment I see those worn-out workout pants. They are stretched and have holes in places they shouldn’t. And they are horribly great. Their existence lifts my head and raises my confidence.
7. Eating Crap
I eat the best that I can. But I have moments (OK, maybe more like habits) when I’m making a morning donut run, reaching for the kids’ cookies after lunch, and late-night ice cream (chased by wine). For the most part, I figure I’m one of the only moms who has these sorts of tendencies. But sometimes I catch a friend indulging, and I’m thrilled. Processed junk isn’t just for kids after all!
8. Bickering With Significant Other
Relationships are hard work. I’m proud to say that my husband and I — for the most part — have a solid bond. We’ve endured stress from finances, kids, health, moving, and on and on. It’s life. And sometimes it takes a toll. And isn’t it always about something silly? We’re out of toilet paper or a light was left on. So when I hear snarky remarks swapped in the grocery store line, I think about my husband and smile. We’re in good company.
9. Cheesy Romance Novels
My guilty pleasure could be easily described as a waste of time. Adults are supposed to be keeping up on news and politics. Mothers are supposed to stay up-to-speed on parenting, health, and Pinterest. Instead, I have a bookshelf full of books that are best described as fiction based on fiction. The are cheesy romances between a woman and a man that could never exist. It’s embarrassing to read these books in public. So when I spot a cheesy romance novel in someone’s Target cart, I let out a big sigh of relief.
10. Busted Budgets
Life is tricky. Money isn’t easy, and budgeting is even tougher. My 2 ½-year-old is familiar with the term budget for this reason, and my 4 ½-year-old is up-to-speed on how consignment stores work. With the trend of boutique clothes for moms and kids, it’s always a relief to see the friendly faces in the clearance aisle.
I admit it. I’m secretly giddy when I see other moms in these situations. But it’s not because I think I’m better than they are. And it’s definitely not because I like to see others struggle. It’s because I’m witnessing proof that I’m not the only one. I’m not alone. And more importantly, I’m normal. My “imperfections” aren’t imperfect at all. In fact, they make me who I am — they are the definition of normal. And they are the embodiment of a great mom, wife, and friend.