Secrets Of So-Called 'Perfect' Moms

by Brandi Jeter Riley
Originally Published: 
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I won’t ever be mistaken for a “perfect” mom. I never really found my footing after my first child. Now that I have two kids, it’s even more of a challenge to keep things together. Thankfully, women have started to be honest about the motherhood journey and all of the stuff that comes with it, so I know I’m not alone. Anytime you’re trying to manage children, a house, work, a partner… well, shit gets rough.

Not every mom is a hot mess, though. While I appreciate the solidarity of my sisters in the struggle, I gotta give it up for the moms who have it all (or mostly) together. They’re my inspiration, the women I look up to. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a better mom, right? Why wouldn’t I want to live in a clean home with laundry that gets folded and put away on the same day it’s washed? Doesn’t it make sense to strive to not always be late everywhere I go because I got out of the door in time because I know exactly where my keys and my baby’s shoes are? Yeah, I wouldn’t mind having that for my life.

Sometimes called “Pinterest Moms,” these mamas take care of their kids, the house looks good, they have careers, and they have a healthy relationship with their spouse. They seem like magical unicorns, but believe it or not, they really do exist, and I know quite a few of them. These seemingly “perfect” moms are everywhere, but they’re hiding. They’re worried that their ability to manage the challenges of parenting (seemingly) with ease will feel like an insult to the women who are struggling. They’ve gotten a bad rap for so long because their standards seem unattainable.

But maybe it’s time to stop judging these unicorn moms, and learn from them instead.

The truth is, I need these women to start showing themselves, because I want to learn their ways. I want to know their tricks and tips. How do they do it? I don’t need inspiration for being disorganized and scattered. I’ve got that covered. I’m trying to be inspired to be better, not just for my kids, but for myself as well.

In search of some answers, I asked around. Overwhelmingly, the women I asked made sure to let me know that the perfect mom really doesn’t exist. They manage well, but there are times when things fall apart for them just like they do for everyone else. That definitely made me feel better, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to grow up to have a made-from-scratch meal and clean clothes at the same time for my family just like them.

1. They have help.

“I’m an executive with a masters degree, two kids and a clean house,” said Shawn. W. “I have a husband who is pretty much 50/50 with everything so that helps.”

The first thing I learned about being a “together” mom is that it’s impossible to do alone. Whether it’s hiring a housekeeper, or having a partner and kids who pitch in to keep things rolling along, these moms have help. I have that support in my husband and daughter, but there’s definitely more that they can be doing. It’s not that they aren’t willing to do more, I just have to ask.

2. They outsource when possible.

“I can only do all it by outsourcing,” said Sarah H. “Instacart, Amazon Prime, a cleaning woman and friends to help carpool to practices.”

I’ve been playing around with the idea of outsourcing my chores to the extent possible — and let’s be clear, outsourcing isn’t possible for everyone — but it feels like a lot of work to get ready for a cleaner to come in. Maybe I’ve been overthinking it though. Perhaps I just need to let go of the control, hire someone, and let them do their thing.

3. They learn the systems.

“Everything is systematic at our house,” said Ally M. “Laundry is done on the same days each week, household chores are done by each child and meals are served at the same time each day.”

If you’re able to master systems, your chances of becoming a “not-a-hot-mess” mom are more likely. Shared calendars, chore wheels, meal plans–these women aren’t leaving anything to chance.

I lived most of my life trying not to follow a schedule. Once I had my first child, that went out the window. As much as I hate to admit it, when I make lists, life is definitely easier.

4. They get creative with their time.

“I get up every day at least an hour before everyone else and I try to stick to my personal routines,” said Elisha B.

Being a got-it-together mom doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your own needs, though it does require some planning.

Getting a handle on one thing in my life usually helps me get a handle on other things too. In my attempts to become a little more “together,” I’m discovering that when my house is clean, my eyebrows are arched, and I turned in all of my work on time, I feel like a M.F.’ing boss.

It’s time for these impeccable women to come out of hiding. We’re ready for them to share their secrets with the rest of the world. We all need to learn how to pack fancy lunches for our kids, and wear white pants without getting them dirty. Instead of judging them, let’s appreciate that they’ve done the work to create the framework for a little more smoothness in our lives. All we have to do is follow their lead.

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