Being a parent in the age of social media is a tricky thing. First of all, everyone has an opinion, and lucky for you, they can easily share them with you. All the time. Every day. Sometimes you feel like you’re constantly swimming against the perfect parent tides. Like you’ll never be good enough. You feel like all those weird things that your child does is somehow a reflection of that time you didn’t pack the treat he wanted in his lunch and now he’s rebelling against you. Seriously, that’s not the problem. Kids are weird. They all have their quirks, let them have them. No matter if someone gives you the fucking side eye because your child is clucking like a chicken in the grocery store, let him cluck away. Better yet, cluck with him. Care about how your child sees you, not everyone else.

So many celebrities throw parenting tips around like they are being paid to. Guess what….they are. These are people that have the money to smear their child’s placenta on their face after birth, or plan ridiculously obnoxious birthday parties for their one year old who, like most babies, fall asleep after ten minutes and miss the billion dollar birthday bonanza. These “tips” aren’t real. It’s all a part of image, something too many people are focused on. It’s an illusion, meant to make you feel like you’re somehow less of a parent than they are. You’re not.

The last time I checked, Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t show up at your house to help with your 2 am breastfeeding. Hell, they didn’t even send one of their nannies. Keep doing what you’re doing. Your child is supposed to be a reflection of you, only better. Not a reflection of someone else. You don’t need to clothe your child in the best brands to ensure they have a good childhood, they don’t need the most expensive toys. They need you. They need your love and attention. That can’t be bought. They actually couldn’t give a shit if they ran around in a paper outfit. They might prefer it to the two hundred dollar outfit made out of wool that they are being forced to wear in the summer because you have to get them to wear it since it cost so much. Let them be kids. They have their whole lives to live up to expectations forced on them by others.

I am not a perfect parent, mainly because there is no such thing. You have to adapt to your child. Each is different in their own way. I’m not a perfect Pinterest mom. My craft will always turn out like shit compared to my sons. He doesn’t care if it doesn’t look like how it does in the picture. He cares that I took the time to do it with him. He wants to laugh, and dance, and run around the yard naked. He doesn’t care about what Gucci is. He doesn’t care if I have makeup on. He just wants me with him, by his side, dancing and laughing along with him.

Trying to keep up with “perfect” parents will drive you crazy. You’ll never win. That’s the thing with kids, they will shatter the illusion of perfection that you’re trying to trick everyone into believing in an instant. If you brag to everyone about how “perfect” your child is, you are totally setting yourself up for something to happen that makes you look like an ass. Like the next time you’re at that persons house, your child will poop in someone’s shoe or do something equally as gross. That’s the thing with kids, as amazing as they are, they are wild cards.

To me, being a good parent is teaching your kids that they aren’t better than anyone. Ok, maybe better than murderers, but that’s not the point. I’m trying to teach my son to embrace being different and to not judge other kids for doing things differently than him. There’s enough opinionated assholes in the world that think their way is the only way, I’m really trying to steer him away from being one of them. I want him to focus on tolerance, not on name brands. I want him to run and play and make ridiculous noises. I want him to continue to run into my room and yell “dance!” So that we dance with no music playing, then yell “stop!” So he can laugh at the silly way we are posed. They are only small for so long and it goes by in an instant. Let them enjoy being kids.

Honestly, the word perfection doesn’t even belong in the same sentence as parenting. As mothers, we all have the same struggle. We want to make our kids happy. Remember the days when you got to shower and put makeup on everyday? Me neither. It’s been a long time. You give everything you have to them, even if that means taking time away from yourself. That’s what parenting is.

Don’t ever feel bad for doing things differently. Parent how you think is best for your own child, not how someone else says you should be doing it. Don’t feel bad if you can’t give them all of the things that other kids might have. Kids don’t care, they can have just as much fun with a rock and a stick as they would with a five hundred dollar toy. If you don’t believe me, put an expensive toy next to a sprinkler in your yard. They’ll be in that sprinkler before you can even turn the water on. To them there is no competition. That’s something that us parents do to each other. Well, cut it the fuck out. Different isn’t bad. It’s a part of life. We aren’t all meant to be the same. As long as your child is happy, nothing else matters, even if a celebrity tells you that it does. Be the parent that your child deserves. Listen, play, make rules. Send them into society with the concept of right and wrong. Not with the knowledge of what dollar amount their pants are. Let their personalities shine and don’t worry about how other people will perceive them, or you. You may not be able to give them the things that North West has, and you don’t have to. They won’t remember the clothes they wore or the toys they had, they will remember you being there and the things you’ve taught them. That’s so much more than anything you can buy.

xo Stephanie