The mother in my mind is always dressed like a Pinterest picture. Stripes, of course, cute booties and jeans that fit just right. There is never spit up in her hair. (which is in the quintessential top knot. Not the mom top knot, but the one she actually did on purpose) There is make up on her face, along with a smile. If she's in yoga pants, it's because she actually just did yoga, and her perfectly toned legs can attest to that.
The mother in my mind adores her kids. Every little thing they do is precious - even when they're ornery, because, gosh, these days just go by so quickly. She sits on the floor and builds train tracks and blocks and her mind never wanders to all the other things she could be doing. She is fully present in the that moment, every moment.
The mother in my mind bakes fresh bread every week, makes a big breakfast everyday and dinner every night from scratch. She actually uses that clothesline in the backyard on a daily basis, and her kids are delighted by the gardening process, carefully placing each seed in its proper hole, checking everyday for the new sprout of green shooting through the wet earth.
The mother in my mind gets up before her children daily. She has a quiet time where maybe she reads, maybe she writes, maybe she goes for a walk. She's never starting her day hurried or stressed or already wishing she could crawl back into bed. She manages her daily tasks in an unhurried rhythm...folding clothes...doing dishes...playing with kids. It is never dull or monotonous.
The mother in my mind is apparently...a Stepford Wife. Or living in a strange time warp where she gets 36 hours in a day. Because, c'mon. Reading this, I could literally laugh out loud. Sure, we do some of those things some of the time, a couple of them consistently. But ALL of them everyday? No. Just no. There's no possible way, because hello I'm human. And I have real children, and real emotions and a real house and a real life. I get tired, I get impatient and irritable. I sometimes wear yoga pants because they're socially acceptable and pajamas are not. I don't actually enjoy playing all that much, and I relish the quiet of nap time. The toddler still doesn't always sleep at night, and his favorite activity is emptying all the drawers, everywhere, all the time. The preschooler thinks he's got all the answers, to everything, all of the time. They'd much rather roll trucks through the garden than plant in it, and when we do bake together there are usually more reprimands and correction than joyful family fun.
Maybe the mother in your mind is super crafty and throws amazing parties. Maybe she works a big corporate job and balances that seamlessly with motherhood, never fighting 'mommy guilt' or feeling like she has to choose between work and kids. Whatever the mother in your mind looks like, may I gently remind you: she's not real. She has amazing qualities that you can work toward emulating. There are things you can learn from her. But just like a character from your favorite show, (Lorelai anyone??), as much as you want her to be real, she's not. And she never will be.
But you ARE real. And you are here. Not her, not anyone else. YOU are the best mother for your children, and I am the best mother for mine, so let's act like we believe that. Work on the things that need worked on, but be where you are, with the you that you are now, with the kids that you have. Grow and learn together. Make mistakes. Apologize. Dust yourselves off and try again. Use your talents and your personality to craft your home, and never feel like you owe an explanation or an apology for that. And when that mother in your mind comes knocking, politely tell her sorry, but you're busy being the mom that you are.