Today as I walked around the mall I passed a mother hand in hand with her daughter who was probably about 5. She was almost dragging her daughter along as the kid was happily jumping from tile to tile yelling and playing a game with herself. Her daughter had scruffy hair, food on her face and no shoes. Her mum was rocking a signature mum bun, tired eyes and a pair of what looked like the most comfy track pants I had ever seen. As I walked past with my baby asleep calmly (for once) I gave her my best "I feel you mama, you're not alone" look. It got me thinking though, this little girl looked a little less than perfect and was acting a little like (shock) a normal kid. I'm sure the lack of footwear was a battle lost or not even attempted by her mum because some days its just not worth the stress. I'm sure she would have loved to leave home with a well dressed little girl in tow after having had time to put on make up, brush her hair and carefully pick a nice outfit, but she didn't. What she did leave home with instead was a healthy, happy person using her imagination. I wish I could go back and stop that mum and tell her how great she is for putting whatever she had to do first. Pre-child me would have looked at her and thought "she needs to get her life together, your child is a reflection of your parenting". How horribly wrong I would have been. Having your life together while having a child doesn't look anything like the pictures in the baby magazines or the perfectly edited pictures on instagram. Sometimes it just looks like a smile on your child's face or a fully belly and a messy face or even having 5 minutes peace and quiet while you pee. Success in motherhood is measured in small, messy love filled achievements. Keep on keeping on mamas.