It’s the imperfections that make life perfect
Before becoming a mum I was constantly chasing perfection. I wanted to have one of the perfect bodies I saw in magazines, with the streamline figure, flawless skin, glossy hair and white teeth to boot. I wanted everything the media told me I wanted to have. As a result I always felt fat, wobbly, ungroomed and yellow-toothed. Their idea of perfect was outside of my reach and that made me feel rubbish. I failed miserably because I was chasing someone else’s ideal rather than celebrating what I already had (great legs, a fab personality and a nice smile – FYI).
My quest to be the best seeped into motherhood
‘When we realise we are all winging it, we give ourselves a break’
initially. Not in an external sense (‘hello’ cracked leaky nipples, an undercarriage I don’t recognise and a tummy that still looks five months pregnant), but in the way I raised my boys. I wanted to do it all correctly and keep in line with what I was told a good mother should be. I wanted to be a mum who had everything together and could cope. No, more than that: I wanted to be a mother who could succeed on a daily, hourly, minutely and secondly basis. Yes, I just made up those words, but this is my column, so it’s allowed! Anyway, I’ve since realised that such a woman is mythical. We all fail. Each of us has our imperfections and has to learn to adapt and compromise when what we’re hoping for isn’t achieved.
But we keep going. Why? Because there’s no other choice: we are mothers. But also because we recognise this is just one moment and that tomorrow is a whole new day. So your child had a meltdown in the supermarket and people were staring – there’s always tomorrow. So your child didn’t eat the nutritional homemade meal you spent an hour cooking for him and demanded a shop-bought pouch instead – there’s always tomorrow. So you went to a baby club with sick all down the back of your top and no one told you – there’s always tomorrow. So you had no sleep because the children tag-teamed you all night long (I’m sure they ruddy planned it) – there’s always tomorrow. You always have tomorrow to get it right. And when tomorrow comes, you’ll have the day after that. And the day after that. And that. We will be forever trying and failing… welcome to parenthood!
We keep going because those little rascals have got a firm grip on our hearts and each of us would do anything for them. We dig deep and carry on, showing a remarkable amount of stamina which I wish I possessed five years ago when I was, quite laughably, chasing the perfect beach body. I mean, what is that even?! When we realise we are all winging it and embrace our imperfections, we give ourselves a break. In that break, when you just play with your child and make them laugh or they tell you they love you without being prompted, you reach pure, utter perfection. Because perfection does exist. It’s right there in front of us. Hidden in the sweaty, snotty, beautiful little faces we created. We did that. You did that. Congratulations!
Practically perfect… Giovanna with Buddy and Buzz