It was just a few days before my third son was born.
It had been a difficult pregnancy, and I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and essentially miserable.
I labored under the burden of guilt that I was not being the mother my older two sons needed me to be in the midst of my discomfort.
On this particular day, we had been busy running our last errands
to get ready for Lincoln's birth.
As we walked into one store,
(let's be honest--they walked, I waddled)
Talmage asked what we were having for dinner.
There was that guilt again, welling up inside of me as I felt my inadequacies acutely.
"I don't know..." I responded. "I'll probably make you a peanut butter sandwich."
His features lit up with excitement as he exclaimed with great enthusiasm,
"Thanks!!! You're a good mom!"
And then it hit me.
Not only is it unrealistic to hold ourselves to a fabricated supermom composite
consisting of only the very best bits and pieces of all that surrounds us,
but it is, to put it simply, unwanted.
All around us we see images depicting the perfect ideal of motherhood.
The clean white towels hanging in the spotless bathrooms of diaper cream ads,
the smiling, apron-clad, lipsticked woman holding the beautifully baked pan of organic chicken,
the well-groomed soccer mom emerging from her pristine new minivan.
And then we look around at the heaps of dirty laundry,
the noses that need to be wiped,
and the bags under our eyes,
and we wonder where we are going wrong.
But in reality, our children don't even want those unrealistic ideals.
They want a home in which they can be comfortable,
where a bit of mud tracked through the kitchen is met with a forgiving smile and an outstretched cloth
instead of a reprimand pertaining to equilibrium disturbed.
They want a dinner that fills their bellies
and dinner conversation that fills their eager minds.
They want mothers who are not too consumed with maintaining perfect images
to stoop down and play
without worries of dirt under the fingernails or ironing left undone.
In short, our children want us.
Their imperfect moms with their less-than-spotless homes
and bags under their eyes because they devote their lives
to loving and caring for each runny nose.
Their moms who may not often wear lipstick
but have a ready smile,
whose appearance may not set trends
but will always render comfort.
Their moms who may feel burdened with imperfections
but love absolutely unconditionally.
And it's that love that makes a very imperfect woman
into the perfect mother for her children.
Peanut butter sandwiches and all.