Donna Reed did it. Bree Van De Kamp did it. Betty Draper did it.

What did they do?

They and their generation (or the one they portray) dusted and vacuumed while wearing candy colored sweater sets and pearls. They kept calm in chaos. They baked homemade muffins and cooked homemade meals. And at the end of every day, they had a drink and a sweet smile ready for their husband while keeping their brood quietly playing in the other room.

What this generation did was create the image of the perfect housewife and mother that is not only impossible to replicate but also unrealistic.

Living in the current times in which most are trying to “make America great again,” I contend that we women—the wives, the mothers—are already great. Just. The. Way. We. Are.

It’s not my intention to disparage the generation before us. After all, my mother was one of them. And I would challenge anyone to try to compete with her mad mothering skills.

I, of course, know that the previous generation of women had their “moments” of being less than the consummate wife and mother but this image of motherly perfection, which has been pressed into our minds can definitely mess with our heads. The following is why we shouldn’t let it.

We, the generation of yoga pant clad women with pulled back hair adorned with a few rogue cheerios, are the pinnacle of awesomeness. Sure we’ve rummaged in the glove compartment for a forgotten show and tell item. We’ve also dug between the car seat for a quick snack of abandoned gold fish crackers. We have pizza delivery on speed dial and our kids’ cupcakes are courtesy of Entenmann’s. Most of us don’t make our kids’ costumes and we’ve missed a few Home and School (aka PTA) meetings. But this is why we rock.

We rock because we know that living the life of a good wife and mother takes more than a sweet smile and a drink at the ready (unless it’s for us). We dress in yoga pants so we can get in a quick workout before scrambling to run a hundred errands in between preschool pick up and infant feedings. And stretch pants, unlike pencil skirts, allow us to bend, pick up and cuddle our kids.

Our hair is pulled up and back so we can scoop, lift, dig and do a host of other actions that well coiffed hair wouldn’t survive. We sometimes get take out dinner because we’ve been out—running errands, working 9-5, or playing with our kids in the park. And just because we don’t bake every cupcake from scratch doesn’t mean we aren’t creative. We’re the Pinterest, blog writing, and idea sharing generation of women.

We may not hand our husbands their slippers but we give them the security that we have it handled. We work; we coordinate the schedules, make the date nights, have the quality time, and keep the realistic vision that life is beautiful because it is messy. We don’t put our kids in the other room. We let them romp, run, and create chaos right in the middle of where we are because we know that is where the love lives.

If someone somewhere is telling you that the generation before you were great and you need to be like them so we can be great again. Remember that we don’t need to change or emulate those before us because we are great in our own way and in our own time.

So, pull on those yoga pants, ponytail that hair and give the pearls back to your mom.

Sherry Parnell

A full-time writer, personal trainer, and professor, I am the author of Let the Willows Weep and Daughter of the Mountain. An alumnus of Dickinson College and West Chester University, I live with my husband and sons in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. I am currently working on my third novel entitled The Secrets Mother Told.