Why ‘Super-Mom’ Stopped Trying to Be Perfect

By ABC News

Feb 4, 2014 10:08am

The Internet is blanketed by many mothers’ picture-perfect Pinterest pages, but when one New York woman posted a photo of her children being distracted by iPads, the image went viral.

The photo shows Erin Zammett Ruddy’s three young children lined up on the floor, two of them glued to their iPads while one of them also distractedly feeds a bottle to his younger sibling, a baby.

Ruddy, who lives with her family in Long Island, is an author and contributing writer at Glamour, Redbook and Yahoo! Shine, where she recently posted a round-up of her favorite mom Facebook posts, each showing the reality of motherhood.

Another multitasking mother, Rachael Macy Stafford, of Birmingham, Ala., knows a thing or two about letting go of trying to be perfect.

In her book “Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!,” Stafford, who has two daughters, ages 10 and 7, explained how she learned to let go.

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“When I was out for the run and I had my breakdown breakthrough moment I was crying so hard that I couldn’t see the road in front of me and I knew I was missing the most important parts of my life and I knew I was going to have so many regrets if I did not change,” Stafford told ABC News.

So she stopped saying ‘yes’ to every volunteer project and stopped obsessively checking her phone. She spent less time working on her computer and even burned her highly valued “to-do” list.

“My house is not what it used to be, my social calendar is not what it used to be but I can go to bed at night feeling peace about how I spent my time with my family that I will remember when I’m 80 years old, and that gives me peace that I’m investing in what’s important,” Stafford said.

Stafford, who once loved being seen as a super-mom, is now at peace with doing less.

“I don’t feel guilty when I say no to a request outside of my home, outside of my family and I just cherish the minutes, just even the simple mundane moments of my life are now gifts to me,” she said.

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Other busy mothers, including Mari Jane Williams, a parenting reporter for The Washington Post, are taking Stafford’s challenge.

“I want to slow down, and not try to cross all these things off of my list, and not worry about the dishes piling up in the sink,” said Williams, a mother of two. “I just want to enjoy whatever is going on in the moment with my kids.”

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