When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Imperfect

my worldLeaving a Legacylifestylehobbies-me time

Mother with daughter As a young girl, I idolized my mother.  From her blonde frizzy hair and slightly crooked teeth to her bumpy thighs, I thought she was perfect in every way.  As an adult, I now “get” that highlighting those particular features may not make for the most flattering description, but to this day, I am grateful for them.  Those loveable, wonderful, imperfect parts of my mom taught me everything I need to know about being a parent myself.

Here's how...

As a mom, I make choices everyday: vacuum the insane amount of cat hair accumulating in the corner or go play at the park for an hour?  Exercise on my treadmill while my daughter watches TV or sit alongside her as we jointly build a staggeringly tall block tower?  Spend an hour cooking dinner or lose ourselves in a Highlights Magazine Hidden Pictures marathon?

Rhetorical questions don’t need answers, right?  I’ve come to understand that cleaning and cooking are a waste of my daughters’ childhood.  Though this decision leaves me with furious rounds of throw-the-toys-in-the-basket before friends arrive, I feel confident that our home is clean-enough and our meals are healthy, if non-gourmet.  In this short window of time I have while my girls are young, we are savoring a lifetime of moments.

I learned all this from my mom.  These days, her hair is smooth, with no trace of frizz.  Though this is the way she has always preferred it, I am grateful that when I was young and needed a mom to swim with, she was okay with being splashed and getting frizzed.  Likewise, I have crystal-clear memories of the days she dedicated to taking me and my brother to children’s museums, parks, and zoos, but I don’t recall at all whether our house was clean or messy on any given day.   It never, ever crossed my mind to compare the straightness of her teeth or the size of her thighs to those of other moms.  What I do remember, on the other hand, was adoring her bright smile and thinking that I hoped that my legs would be bumpy and soft like hers when I grew up.

Though cellulite on my thighs is no longer my fondest wish, I still do want to be just like my mom in every important way.  She taught me never to let bad hair days, fur balls in the living room, or a missed workout keep me from sharing in the things that make childhood magical.  As I grow into motherhood, I hope to be like my mom in every imperfect way.

What legacy do you want to leave your children? What lessons do you hope they most learn from you and all of your imperfections?

Signe Whitson, LSW is a mother to two young daughters and a speaker who presents training on parent-child relationships among many other topics.  Signe also writes for My Baby Clothes dot com.   Dress your little ones in styles this summer with their adorable baby clothes, tutus and baby headbands.
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3 responses to “When I Grow Up, I Want to Be Imperfect”

  1. Twinpossible says:

    I think little girls think their moms are beautiful no matter what. My mom really always was quite a beautiful lady, and maybe put a little too much time into her looks, and importance on them. It left me feeling insecure, and unworthy at times growing up. Sad really.

    She has aged beautifully, and I still see her loveliness though she has a pregnancy like pouch in her belly now, some cellulite, stretchmarks I didn’t much notice when I was a child, and some added wrinkles. Noone and nothing is ever perfect, nor should try to be so. It’s unattainable.

    I had a mother who didn’t splash around in the pool and climb up onto the playgrounds, going down slides with me, and I guess that is why I now am so much different with my own kids.

    Of course, I don’t just want to be known as the ‘fun’ or the ‘cool’ mom, though I am referred to as such, and it does make me smile…I do enjoy the balance between being mom and friend, and NOT just being strictly ‘mom’ without the other.

    If I died tomorrow, I want to know that I have enriched my childrens’ lives the best I could while I was here, gave them as many good times, laughs, and smiles, as I possibly could, and taught them important lessons in life, without them having to learn them the hard way, as I did.

    Being imperfect is being human…but I do agree, that love and inspiration makes anyone’s flaws vanish into the night, and the true beauty that lies within, shine through.

    Amen! Nicely written.


  2. Tammy says:

    Loved this post! A wonderful reminder that kids don’t care or remember if the house is clean or dirty. Before my daughter was born and probably through her 2nd year I was always trying to keep the house just perfect. It was an endless battle and I have learned through the years that it is not important. The time together with both kids are what they want and need!

    Thanks for validating it for me!

  3. Amy Harman says:

    I love this post because it speaks to the real purpose of motherhood! It’s not about having a clean house, gourmet meals, or looking like a super model (thanks for the body image boost). It’s about having a relationship with your kids. Thanks for your thoughts!

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