My I Don’t Do List: Changing Perfect Mom Culture

Mom burnout is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  I wholeheartedly agree that it’s time we change the “perfect motherhood” era. I’ve said it before, but how do I help and actually put actions behind my words? That’s the hard part.

We are in an age of motherhood that can be debilitating.  It is the age of the supermom and moms are feeling it in so many unhealthy ways.  Two of my favorite articles on the topic: one was from Motherly, where they describe how self care isn’t enough- because moms are plainly burnt out. And the other was a mom that created an “I don’t list” that inspired this post. 

Before we continue, this is not to negate the importance of self care or diminish the amazing accomplishments women and moms are making in this country. But to highlight that when the expectations are so unreasonable, self care and acknowledgment is not enough. We are constantly chasing this ideal of motherhood where we do it all perfectly without the help of anyone. It’s a culturally induced overwhelm, where we feel discouraged with managing our home, work and children. And simultaneously, not supporting each other as women and mothers.  

Picture Perfect Motherhood

A big reason for this reality, is that we are constantly shown picture perfect images of other moms’ households and children online.  I’m guilty of putting that out there as well. Not intentionally, but that is naturally what you share on social media.

I was recently chatting with another mom at a birthday party- we have a mutual friend so only really interact on social media. She describes how I’m such a good mom because she sees all the places I take my kids to, the blog I write and meal preps I sometimes post about. 

I felt really bad about this. I did not want to make her feel like I was more “successful” at this motherhood thing than she is.  Because I’m not. We have different realities, children, many things that I don’t do in the background that she is unaware of. And that is not my intention when I share on social media. 

We CANNOT compare our real life to someone else’s online squares. It can be so easy to do, but it’s not realistic nor helpful for anyone.  You can use it as inspiration, or a way to connect with friends you may not see on a regular place, but not as a standard for how to live your life.

It took some time for me to convince her that in no way do I have it all together! And I do not want to be putting off that image at all. I don’t think to put the other side of my life on social media, but maybe I should. Nobody thinks to share their baskets of unfolded laundry on Instagram. It’s not really what the platform is for, but I can create a counter narrative to what you may see on my Instagram.  

Create an “I Don’t Do List”

As I mentioned above, I was inspired by another article on the idea of creating an “I Don’t Do” list. One way I want to move forward is knocking down the image of perfect motherhood and supporting my fellow moms as much as possible. This won’t happen overnight or easily, but I thought this was a good way to start. 

I encourage you to create your own list! It was really therapeutic to write out.  Even if you don’t share it with anyone. I am not perfect.  I don’t do it all.  And that’s okay.  It’s not healthy for ourselves, our children or our spouses to push ourselves to a limit that is beyond reasonable.   

And I say all that to you, but also to myself.  This is not something I’ve been thinking of, plainly out of curiosity. It’s in my thoughts, because it’s heavy on my heart. It affects me as well. The anxiety of keeping it all together follows me around too. And it’s time that some of that went away. 

My List

There is even more I could add to this list! Haha.  Remember it’s not a comparison though, there are many things I do that others think are ridiculous.  Like my overly themed birthday parties, those are fun for me. So if you do something on this list and it brings you joy, by all means!! And vice versa. 

  • I don’t wash my hair enough. (Which is why it’s in a bun most of the time. Lol)
  • I don’t make my kids wear outfits that match. My 3 year old dresses himself and looks crazy most of the time. 🙂 
  • I don’t clean my bathrooms. (Don’t get too grossed out, my husband does or a cleaning lady if we are feeling feisty)
  • I don’t write cute notes to my kids in their lunch boxes everyday. It’s enough of an accomplishment to get them fed. 
  • I don’t do two school pick ups so my 3 year old only goes half day. 
  • I don’t say no to Mc Donald’s all the time ( I do sometimes, but thought I would never let my kids have it. Oh, pre kid ideas!)
  • I don’t do after school activities that require me to be in traffic for over 30 minutes. (Which took out gymnastics for us)
  • I don’t always get up with my kids on Saturday. (I lay in bed with the baby and let the older two have a free for all- insert shocked face emoji)
  • I don’t iron. Like ever. If my dryer can’t get the wrinkles out, than it’s not worth it! And I still put it on- *face palm*
  • I don’t exercise enough. This ebbs and flows, feel better when I do just doesn’t always happen.
  • I don’t fold my laundry right away. Sometimes it stays in the basket and never gets put away at all.
  • I don’t wake up before my kids everyday.  
  • I don’t always pick organic. Especially if our budget is tight at the time. 
  • I don’t meditate or do yoga or destress in a healthy way that doesn’t involve wine.
  • I don’t send cute family picture Christmas cards. 
  • I don’t work full time.
  • I don’t always respond to my kids’ behavior with positive and emotionally supportive responses.
  • I don’t speak Spanish to my kids, even though I could.
  • I don’t floss daily. (Sorry dentist. I make my kids brush their teeth though! And that is not easy!!)
  • I don’t always follow my well laid plans.
  • I don’t make my 5 year old practice piano every day, even though I knew that is what I was signing up for when we set up the lessons.

Do I feel guilty sometimes? I’m working on it.  Remember, I’m very much part of this culture as you are.  It’s a work in progress, but I’m learning to let go.  Be okay with my choices, enjoy a movie with my kids when I should be meal planning. It’s all part of the ride and we should be enjoying it.

I’d love to hear what’s on your I Don’t Do List!

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One thought on “My I Don’t Do List: Changing Perfect Mom Culture

  1. I just want you to know that I love, love, love this blog. I regularly feel like I’m not doing enough as a mom. But honestly, I’m doing all I can. At the end of the day if my kids are relatively happy and healthy, are involved in positive activities, and have no problem telling me they love me. I feel good. Thank you so much for posting.💕

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