How To Avoid The Burden Of Mom Guilt When 'Perfection' Is Everywhere

by Andrea Rhoades
Two girls sitting and smiling on a kitchen countertop while covering their mom-s face with flour
bogdankosanovic/ iStock

As a mom today, it’s so easy to get caught up in what we think we are doing wrong. It’s easy because all the “right” things are plastered online for us to see every day, every hour, every minute.

The perfect Instagram photo of the family eating a beautiful organic lunch, or the Facebook post about how great of a sleeper someone’s newborn is. Or maybe it’s an article someone forwarded to you about how you are now supposed to “insert unwanted parenting advice here.”

Perfection is everywhere.

And the culmination of all these bits of perfection leads to this super-mom persona that we strive for. We try to be all things to all people because that’s what super mom does. That’s a ton of pressure, and it’s no wonder moms are more overwhelmed than ever. We are chasing a fictional character based on portions of truths we see in people’s lives.

There’s been a push recently to have more “real” mom content out in the world and less perfection displayed — more Instagram photos that show the raw side of motherhood. And I think that’s a fine sentiment with good intentions because it’s important to see the tough side of parenting.

But I think that battle cry is solving the wrong problem. We want moms to feel less guilt, less overwhelmed, and more confident. But eliminating those perfect moments from being shared won’t solve that. Because moms need to celebrate their wins. Sometimes they are few and far between when you are in the thick of motherhood.

Maybe that mom who has a newborn sleeping so well also has a picky toddler who hasn’t eaten anything besides cheese sticks in the last week. Celebrating her newborn sleeping is huge for her right now. And she should feel free to shout it from the rooftop.

And maybe that mom who cooked that beautiful organic meal has a passion for food that she is just starting to get back into post-baby. She shouldn’t feel like she can’t share those moments for fear of backlash.

Instead of shaming those perfect moments, we just need to be more aware of the content we consume and how it affects us. We need to debunk the super-mom persona and strip it away to reveal what it really is: a ton of small wins that millions of moms are proud of. When you think of them as small pieces of someone’s life, not this big overarching #momgoal, it’s so much easier to stop the comparisons.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes there are those holier-than-thou posts that make you want to drop-kick the mom who posts them. But those are so easy to spot that you can just chalk them up to a good laugh, knowing mom-karma will surely catch up to them.

But for those other moments, the real moments of celebration, I ask that we let those have their place. Because for just a minute, that mom felt like a badass. It’s a time that moms are proud of and want to show the world.

We all know what a day in the life of a mom really looks like, so why do we search for validation of it online? We are living it every single day. The only validation we need is from ourselves.

Search instead for inspiration, not validation.