Don’t drink the Mom-Koolaid

I had a few moms over for coffee the other day and one of them was telling me about the “imposter syndrome” among moms. I’d never heard of it before, but I’ve definitely experienced it. The imposter syndrome, she said, is a term for moms trying to appear to have it all together, probably because they feel less-than.

Look, I know that’s tempting. I dropped the F-bomb at the kiddy park today when my dog pulled over my stroller and later mom-handled a isntshetoooldforthis tantrum from my four-year-old. In that moment, I remembered how my friend used to use a fake name at the bar, and considered that that might be a good idea for me at the park. Hello, I’m Veronica and these are my kids Kevin, Stuart, Jenny, and Britney. You will not find us on Facebook. Please forget we ever met, kthanksbye.

On my walk home, I remembered for the thousandth time that the only people I want in my life are the ones who take me as I am. I am a mom who has five months of hair grow out, enjoys long walks alone at Trader Joes, and swears when startled. That is who I am. I am also madly in love with my kids and husband, I’m a loyal friend, and I’m passionate about social justice issues.

If someone doesn’t accept you with your flaws, they don’t deserve your gifts either.

The mom-koolaid is the idea that we have to have it together, and it’s a load of toddler poop (toddler poop comes second only to dog poop in grossness amiright?). Connection requires that we keep it real, and honestly, motherhood has required that I keep it more real than ever before.

Being a mom has pulled out all the gold in my heart, and it has pulled out all the crap too. I thought I was patient-ish until I became a mom. If someone had ever recorded my husband and I’s middle of the night feeding conversations, you’d know what I mean. It was really precious.

Motherhood accentuates our flaws and it enlarges our hearts 1000x its original size at the same time. It IS MESSY, it is exhausting, and you need people who GET IT and GET YOU more than ever.

I think there is so much shame attached to our flaws as parents because it matters so much to us. I’ve never wanted to be good at anything more than I want to be good at being my kids’ mom. I want to stay connected to their precious hearts forever. The facts are though, I make mistakes daily. I struggle with being the best I can be while shaking off the mom guilt that sometimes grips my heart.

My current struggle is with how distracted I am through the day. I’m distracted with my phone, distracted with my work, distracted with the fact that I’m pretty sure my butt is getting big. This struggle is exactly that though, it’s a struggle. It’s a wrestling with wanting to be the best I can be, while also loving myself how I am (just like I want my kids to love themselves how they are).

Motherhood is wonderful, it’s beautiful, it’s messy as hell, and it has the potential to be a very lonely job.

Don’t drink the mom-Koolaid. NO ONE has it all together. I PROMISE.

You have nothing to prove.

If you are around people that make you feel like you’ve got to pretend to fit in, either stop pretending and see what happens, or find new friends.

You are worth it exactly as you are today, and if you don’t have any one else to say this, let me say it:

I see you in your mess and your flaws and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

Your kids love you more than you think.

Your tribe is out there, I promise.


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48 responses to “Don’t drink the Mom-Koolaid”

  1. It can be so damn hard, and scary, to find a tribe! Sometimes it feels easier to just drink the bottle of wine myself in the few moments between “kids finally asleep” and “can’t keep my own eyes open” than to try to break through to honesty in another mom.
    Your blog is a breath of fresh, honest air—thank you!

  2. Yes I hear you! It’s already so exhausting 😫❤️🍷I hope you find that person/tribe easily. Maybe a mom will drop an f bomb next to you in the park or something 😂

  3. This is very me… I’m very aware that becoming mum has brought out the good and the worst parts.

  4. Ummmmmmm. Let me try to write this through the tears streaming down my face right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. Today was probably the worst day yet with my three year old daughter (it may or may not have involved shoes flying across the grocery store parking lot and plenty of words I won’t repeat on here. LOL). Both of us were in tears. I felt defeated. Totally. And then I just read this. Thank you for the reminder.

  5. I couldn’t look like I had it all together if I tried…lol

  6. Awe my friend, I wish I could give you and hug and hand you some chocolate and 🍷Through this screen!!

  7. Me either so this is a much better option 😂

  8. You should write more often. Every post you write makes me grateful that someone gets me.

  9. ❤️❤️❤️

  10. Yeesssssss!! Thank you for writing this!

  11. This is such a great post and so true! What matters the most in the end is that we are the best moms we can be. Getting wrapped up in falsehoods while trying to impress people that you’re a mom that has your shit together is a fruitless endeavor, yet so many fall for that trap.

  12. 😙 love your words xx

  13. I still love long walks through the grocery store. It’s one of my favorite past times. I’ve had imposter syndrome lots of times wondering how nature possibly saw fit for me to be in charge of other humans’ lives, lol.

  14. Can we please be best friends? I literally just realized all my favorite mom articles were written by you. Thanks for the awesome -ness!!

  15. Haha thank you!! ❤️❤️❤️

  16. Thisss🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

  17. Drinking the koolaid refers to Jonestown. It’s a term that references 100s of people dying a horrible death. It’s a term treat needs to stop being used in this context.

  18. Wow I didn’t know that, yikes!

  19. Granny🇨🇦 Avatar

    Thank you…I am a Granny. My sons are 42&43. The older boy has seven children. His wife has isolated him & the children from us. We never see them. Please…all you Young Mom’s out there, be thankful for your children’s grandparents. While looking for your tribe…remember the tribe you have loves you how you are.

  20. Love this ❤️❤️❤️

  21. oh man I cant agree with this more!

  22. valerie woolgar Avatar
    valerie woolgar

    Hi. I like your integrity of the blog. Honest, for you young women, it would be good to share daycare between each other, i mean trade, and just go off by yourself when it is your turn, to run, walk be alone all by yourself. It is a long long day full of stuff to do, a list that grows. So important. Maybe post a list somewhere in the church nursery of phone numbers and a way to put this together.? So important to get some free time. Without always having to pay pay pay. Refresh, refresh, pencil yourself in on the calendar. If you don’t, those distracting days slip by, and now that it is Spring, faster even. I hope every young mom gets a chance to take some time away during the day just for herself to regroup, and refresh.

  23. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  24. Wow! It’s like you read my soul when writing this!! SO. PERFECTLY. SAID. Thank you for this!

  25. It really is crazy how it seems like when you are looking around at other mom’s it seems like they have it all together. A lot of times it seems like people are putting on some sort of show for others, but really I think people just like to share positive things. Sharing triumphs is much easier than sharing your failures… BUT it is always refreshing to get the reassurance that other moms have their struggles too 😀

  26. I agree with you mom are perfect with all the imperfections. We should stop pretending for others.

  27. I actually liked how the author phrased it. The title is eye catching and did its job to get many people to read it. Also, the content was wonderful! Great post!

  28. I’m a single mom, and I constantly pretend or semipretend to have it all together because I see all these “perfect” moms, especially the married ones who have two parents in the home, and it makes me feel so insignificant and like I am doing it all wrong and failing so horribly! But then there are moments where I realize that even the children with two parents are having meltdowns at the school party, and those moms cry too, and WHY are we all out here trying to pretend to have it together and see who can have it the “most” together? Why aren’t we trying to help each other more? I LOVE your articles <3 you rock!

  29. I agree with you – the mess and the flaws are the perfection and the sooner you discover that, the happier you can be! I’ll be following!!

  30. Thank you for your post. This is me…mess and all. I’ve stopped pretending to have everything together. I’m a mess…my kids clothes usually match but I can’t promise you they had a bath today…come to think of it I don’t know when the last time I had one…

    Embrace the mess and craziness of motherhood and when thing aren’t perfect just roll it and stop preteneding.

  31. Love that line about how you’ve never wanted to be good at anything as much as you want to be a good parent. That is such a source of anxiety for me, as are all those “imposter moms.” Lol. Great name for them!

  32. I certainly don’t have it all together, and I really needed this reminder that I’m not the only one. Beautiful post!

  33. Beautiful post.. I try everyday to get it together.. but there is always so much left to do!! Love the thoughts!!

  34. […] This post originally appeared on The Wonderoak Blog. […]

  35. I totally get you. Sometimes it’s just hard but for some reason we try not to show it.

  36. Vanessa J Meade Avatar
    Vanessa J Meade

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Reading this gave me the strength to keep going today.

    I do not have it together. EXAMPLE:

    My little girl, (the one I thought was the most normal), stuck her hand in her poopy diaper today, put it in her mouth, and then wiped her poopy hand on me and the couch-so she could “Clean” it.

    She is also stashing any coin she finds in her dirty diapers now.

    SO, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Your writing is like the best, BIGGEST glass of wine!

  37. I’m an empty-nest mom and I don’t have it together yet. I’m also not changing to be accepted. Others have to accept me as I am. Which means right now, I don’t have anyone my age to go out with or such. I have a 75 y/o friend and an 84 y/o friend, neither of whom I can call in an emergency! Ha!

    My favorite part: “….. kthanksbye” 🙂
    Great writing. Found this from a share on FB!

  38. Thank you for these words of truth!!!! I *love* my tribe and the honesty we live with. Well, there’s only 3 of us, and we’re sisters, but we’re moms and we don’t pretend! Love this article!

  39. Using the expression “drinking the Kool-Aid” is HIGHLY insensitive and offensive…. You might rethink it. Google Jonestown and see where that expression originates

  40. I apologize, I was unaware of the origin of that expression

  41. Someone may have already commented this, and while I don’t want to detract from the main point of your article, that is not actually what “Imposter Syndrome” means. Imposter Syndrome is a term for people (particularly used for describing women in the workplace) who do not feel they have the competencies and capabilities to hold the jobs the do despite evidence otherwise – nearly the opposite of what is described here. It is a well defined psychological pattern/condition. I would encourage you to do a bit of research on terms you aren’t familiar with so that you don’t spread misinformation. Sounds like your friend took a term she heard somewhere and applied her own definition to it that wasn’t exactly accurate.

  42. I hear what your saying and apologize for the confusion, however, I think most readers understand what I was trying to say :). I think the term transfers well even though it wasn’t the original meaning.

  43. I think the terms you use are excellent and appropriate. Imposter Syndrome is being used to draw a comparison by women with the job of Mom, in this case and the attempt to appear as though one “has it together” is a symptom of believing that you are somehow less capable despite all the evidence that you are fully capable. Also the “drinking the koolaid” is often used as a metaphor for buying into a cult like group think that is killing you. So the extreme case of Jonestown sheds a light on a trend that is widespread amoung humans and that is the need to belong can over power other needs including survival. When people pretend in order to belong, it is a symptom of this same phenomenon but to a less harmful degree.

    I like the parallels you draw and the comparisons that are intended to shine a light on the harm that is happening every day.

  44. Thank you!

  45. OH so very true! We all might have parts of it all together at one time or another but it’s pretty hard to have it all together everywhere all the time… and I’m not even sure that’s a mom or parent thing; I think it’s a life thing!

  46. Wow! This is so true!! Thank you for writing and sharing this wisdom with us 🙂

  47. Jeanne Hull Olszowy Avatar
    Jeanne Hull Olszowy

    Our flaws make us unique for sure! Confession: I swear under my breath sometimes at my daughter’s basketball games. It gets worse. I’m an assistant coach. One more “worse”, it’s a Catholic league. I work on that (and not making snarky comments about the referees) every weekend. It’s a work in progress and so is life. 🙂

  48. Yes ! I’m about 20 years older than the older moms in my sons class. My girlfriends are sending their babies off to colleges, marriages, and heading out on their own hard won adventures or cruises. I’m sending mine to 4 th grade and there are a lot more grades to go …

    I feel lonely sometimes and I feel like a bad friend to those old friends who now want to play sans kiddos .

    I’m also working a lot a lot ! I have two small businesses that are really just me . Thou is great to be “ incharge” of me it also not great to be always “incharge”. I’m tired and stay up way too late to read . I’m lonely and crave alone time. I’m youngish in a room of younger . And it’s all ok …

    Thank you for the reminder this morning .

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