I get hundreds of comments and DMs from my IG family every time I post a photo or story saying that I’m “Mom goals”. It is super flattering to know that my motherhood journey inspires other women and mothers. To know that watching my family memories unfold makes women look forward to having a family of their own one day or makes women who already have families want to be better in some way. That is a beautiful thing, and one of the reasons I share the family God has blessed me with on a platform as public as Instagram. But we all know there’s a thing called “Instagram vs. Reality” and it applies to everyone, I am no exception.
I make it a point to try my hardest to respond to each and every person that takes the time to send me a message or leave a comment under my photos, and for everyone that says I’m “goals” of any kind, I respond with the truth. That truth is this, I’m just like so many other moms. I’m doing the best I can every day. I’m no different than anyone else in that way. I get tired, I get frustrated, I even get overwhelmed and tap out when needed. But our personas as mothers are an extension of who we are women.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a perfectionist. It’s a gift and a curse. Being a perfectionist enhances my work ethic and makes my YVK Events clients happy. Being a perfectionist pushes me to make my recipes over and over again until they’re delicious enough to share with all of you. Being a perfectionist forces me to clean my house daily even when I’m dog tired. Being a perfectionist keeps my kids well-groomed and taken care of. Being a perfectionist results in beautifully coordinated family photos we’ll cherish for years to come. And being a perfectionist drives me to strive to be the best wife I can be and maintain a healthy and loving marriage. So being a perfectionist has its perks, and one of the side-effects seemingly include becoming #momgoals. But there’s more.
Being a perfectionist is demanding. It requires a lot of you based on no one else’s standard but your own. Do my family meals really look like that? Yes! Do my kids really dress like that? Yes! Do I really update my home décor for most major holidays? Yes! Am I usually up until 2 o’clock in the morning working on some project or another? Yep. Does anyone even care? I don’t know but it makes me happy. That’s what drives me to pay attention to the most minute details, the desire to know I did my best.
Being a mom is an impossibly hard job, there’s no way to perfect it. To add it to it, I have multiple other jobs and roles that require a lot of me. So I rarely have time to spare, or relax. I’ve often had stretches of my life that were so packed and busy I’ve sat and asked myself if my life is normal and what I need to let go to make my days more manageable. But guess what? As soon as I have a minute to spare there’s a drive within me that fills it with something to do. I was raised by a doer, a mover and shaker, and looks like I became one too. And if you’re going to do something, might as well do it well, really well.
I had a dream childhood. It was filled with love and family, made up of trips all around the world and fun memories that make me laugh just to think about to this day. So naturally I want that for my children. But we want more for our kids than even we had. My dad wasn’t at home so I set out from a young age to do my best to ensure my kids grew up with their dad in their lives. At some point in life I developed unhealthy eating habits and replaced meals with snacks, so I made sure my kids ate well-rounded meals at every sitting as soon as they could chew. I’m event designer and lifestylist by trade so I like to make things as close to picture perfect as possible – my home, myself, my kids, my meals. There’s pretty much no aspect of my life that isn’t affected by my innate need to do my best.
Now here’s where I have to be careful. I think a lot. I minored in sociology – the study of human behavior – in college. So I try to be mindful of how the things we do and say shape those around us. Most importantly the little humans we’ve been charge with raising. Questions that need answers: When I dress my kids and comb their hair until not a strand is out of place, am I teaching them self-worth and pride in their appearance or to obsess about their looks? When I take just 1 more photo aiming for the “perfect” shot am I teaching them not to give up or that their best isn’t good enough? A clean home is just good sense, so I’m not worried about that, but I hope that the extensive holiday décor teaches them that a festive environment enhances the holiday spirit without fostering a tendency for excessiveness. When I get frustrated at homework time, does my lack of patience translate as a lack of confidence in their ability?
There’s no way to be 100 percent sure, so here’s how I try to counteract it. Affirmations and reassurance. Clothes are for fun, it’s like playing dress-up. The beauty of your heart and the openness of your mind are far more important than the clothes you wear or things you have. When you set out to do something, have a positive attitude and don’t settle for anything less than your best. Every Christmas, the most excessive holiday of the year in this house, we start by giving away toys to children who aren’t as privileged as we are. You must give away double the toys you’re asking for. At every turn, we discuss the true reason for the season, our Lord and Savior. We pray, we read books, we spend time together so that the love we share makes memories that last well beyond any material item opened on Christmas morning. When it comes to their personal achievements, large and small, educational or frivolous, we make a big deal of how proud we are. We let them get things wrong, we let them learn from mistakes, but we encourage them to try again, try their best and celebrate the wins whether in the classroom or on a playing field.
So what’s the goal? Do the best you can at encouraging them to do the best they can. Teach them how to love, be kind, work hard and be a good person. That’s all I’m trying to do, that’s all any of us are trying to do right? I may make it “look easy” but I’m tired too, I second guess myself too, I pray for the best too. So keep at it mommi, and if I, on my journey, can encourage you, inspire you or make your journey easier along the way, then I’m touched to be able to do so.