Perfect moms keep spotless homes. Their kids eat healthy homemade lunches. Perfect moms have perfect hair, and they're never late for anything. Because everyone rides a flying unicorn in the fantasy world they live in.
Seriously, there is no such thing as a perfect mom.
There are, however, moms who are going through the same stuff we are. They worry, they get pulled in a thousand directions, they mess things up and they figure things out. They're not perfect, they're real.
Take working mom Amy Vanderoef. Reporting chops and girl-next-door charm earned her an Emmy nomination as the host of a major-market morning show (hello, Good Morning Texas ). She's also traveled the world performing for our troops and guest-starred on soaps, among other glamourous achievements.
All this might lead you to believe that Amy's life is practically perfect in every way. But it's not. Since choosing to leave morning television, she now runs her own business while simultaneously managing a household on her own.
"When I'm working, I'm worried about home. When I'm home, I'm worried about work," she says. Sound familiar? Read on for more real mom talk, including Amy's biggest challenge as a parent and her best busy-week shortcut.
ACTIVEkids: Many single moms can relate to your work-home balancing act. First of all, what do you consider to be your greatest strength as a parent?
Amy Vanderoef: I am so proud of the relationship I maintain with my ex-husband. We co-parent our son Wyatt beautifully–really! I consider this a strength for many reasons, especially because we do not have extended family in the area where we live. We only have each other here for support.
Tell us about a parenting challenge you faced, and how you overcame it.
AV: I am going to come clean–full disclosure. I am going through my greatest parenting challenge right now. I have always put my son first, but I recently realized I do this to a fault. I have sheltered him so much from seeing me have a personal life, a life of my own. This was doing a disservice to us both. So now, I take the time to go on dates and have a personal life. It's a healthy step in the right direction.
What activities do you and your son like to do together?
AV: We love to travel. One of our favorite activities is to travel to see our family in other parts of the country. When we are at home, we build a lot of forts. I mean, a whole lot of forts! We also enjoying spending time with the newest addition to the family, our puppy Elvis.
Tell us about a life lesson you learned from your son.
AV: I would have to say patience. It's so easy to lose your patience with kids, especially when there isn't a partner to help you. I've learned to do it on my own and play both roles. And I've learned to lead with patience.
What's your favorite busy week shortcut?
AV: Do everything the night before–everything! Get the clothes laid out, lunches packed, backpack ready and waiting by the door. When you go to bed organized, with everything clean and reset for tomorrow, you can avoid the stress of getting the day started.
What do you do to relax?
AV: I'm pretty sure I am the last woman on earth who hasn't tried yoga. I have always hated the idea of yoga, actually. But next month, I am heading out on a women's yoga and meditation retreat. Can you believe it? I am attending with two friends, and I couldn't be more shocked that I am doing it.
I'll share my journey on my Instagram, to document the experience. I am very nervous, and I know it will be very hard for me to submerge in the yoga lifestyle. I know it's necessary, though, and I feel a sense of purpose in going.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other single moms?
AV: When I'm working, I'm worried about home. When I'm home, I'm worried about work. Worry, fear and anxiety can paralyze us. Every day, I have to make a conscious choice to bless and release what I can't control. I have a strong faith, which helps make this possible.
I also encourage other moms to remind themselves that we can take time for ourselves and still be good moms. We can even go on dates! We have to embrace all the amazing aspects of being women.
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