Faith Motherhood Relationships

Once Upon a Time, I Was Perfect

Written by Shelbie Tanner

I used to be perfect.

I know to look at me now, it’s incredibly hard to believe, but I swear I was. It seems like forever ago now, but sometimes I look back and reminisce . . . and thank God I’m not perfect anymore.  

When I was perfect, I was a fantastic friend. I was always down for a girls’ night out, and I was the life of the party. I was the perfect shoulder to cry on when a friend was heartbroken. I never missed a call and always had a bottle of wine and chocolate stocked in the kitchen. I was never selfish or mean, and I was always available. I guess it’s because I’m not so perfect anymore that I don’t have near as many friends as I once did. 

Back when I used to be perfect I was an amazing wife. I worked full time and still came home to clean the entire house every day. I would cook a five-star, three course meal every night. On top of all that, any time he even thought about heading to the bedroom I was already there. We had the perfect marriage, I never complained or nagged, we never fought, and everyone who knew us said we were the happiest couple in the universe. We’re still happy, but things surely are different now that I’m not perfect. 

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The thing I was best at when I was perfect was being a mom. My babies slept 8+ hours a night from day one. Breastfeeding was a breeze with both of them, they were never colicky, and they were on perfect schedules no matter what. My toddler listened all of the time, and when he started getting bored or antsy I would always use redirection instead of losing my cool. My kids got no screen time; instead their days were filled with fully educational and stimulating activities. I never yelled, and my kids never threw any sort of tantrums. They asked for more veggies at dinner and didn’t even like sweets. My life was just absolutely perfect. 

The funny thing is, I never have been and never will be perfect.

I’ve always had selfish tendencies, and I’ve normally been the one who needed my friends to listen to me instead of the other way around. I complain to my husband all the time. We bicker a lot, and I don’t tell him how loved and appreciated he is nearly enough. My house is typically one misplaced toy away from a disaster area and a lot of nights, the only meal getting cooked is something from the freezer. My kids, while perfect to me, are not your textbook definition of perfect babies. Both of them have been extremely clingy, breastfeeding didn’t work at all with my first, and he hardly ever listens. We watch TV way more than we should and hardly any food of nutritional value is happily consumed. Unfortunately, more often than I’d like to admit I lose my cool, and sometimes the result is me yelling. Most days, I go to bed feeling guilty about my shortcomings instead of proud of my accomplishments. 

The perfect version of me only existed in my mind. She was brought to life by my hopes and dreams for what future me would be. The perfect me was the girl who daydreamed about what it would be like to be married one day. The perfect me was the girl who read studies about screen time for kids but didn’t have anyone to call her “Mama” yet. The perfect me was judgmental and ignorant. 

Luckily for me, I’m not perfect like I had hoped I would be. Perfect would be so boring. Sure, there are things I want to improve on. I could be better about texting friends back, nitpick at my husband less, and be a better mom in more ways than I can list. I’m a work in progress. The Lord is molding me, shaping me into exactly who He meant for me to be. My heart and soul are constantly under construction, but He has told me that’s OK. I fall short daily, I make mistakes, and I stumble may way through life in general.

Luckily I have a perfectly imperfect family to love—and to love me—even though I am not and will never be perfect.

About the author

Shelbie Tanner

I’m a full time bookkeeper, but my favorite “job” is being Mama to my sons and wife to their daddy. I have a love for all things personalized, early morning cuddles, and way too many sweets. Writing is my favorite way to talk about how much I love motherhood and my hope is that the things I write will resonate with other moms.