The Imperfect Mom

Tales of great moms who sometimes make mistakes.

edited by Therese J. Borchard
Broadway Books, $12.95
Purchase The Imperfect Mom

I was a bit taken aback when I was asked to review a book about imperfect mothers. Why ask a paragon of motherhood to immerse herself in tales of moms who let their children roll off the diaper table or impale themselves on the hard pretzel they were eating? Why? Because all moms mess up at times, much as we hate to admit it.
Therese Borchard, the book’s editor, messed up big time, when she allowed another mom’s child under her care to fall into a frigid creek. The story of the rescue made it into the local paper, and Borchard expected to be condemned from all sides. Instead, she received sympathetic confessions from other moms who had made mistakes, inspiring her to solicit essays on the subject.

One of these writers was Nancy Bilyeau, whose essay details her gradual, painful awakening to her son’s “issues.” Bilyeau’s tale will sound familiar. So will the appointments missed, laundry unfolded, and consequences unforeseen that permeate the essays.

Borchard hopes her book will “make moms everywhere breathe a sigh of relief and relinquish their pursuit of perfection.” Instead of asking yourself, “Do I do enough?” (the answer is always no), Borchard suggests, “Am I leading with my heart?” If the answer is yes, then you-and I-are perfect enough.