Why I Stopped Trying to be the Perfect Mom, And Why You Should Too
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I’ve decided that I don’t want to be perfect. In fact, I don’t want anything to do with perfection. It’s simply too much work. And to be honest...it's boring AF. I am not interested. I am also not interested in following the footsteps of anyone that is “perfect” either.
It’s a myth anyway. Perfection cannot be reached.
Perfection ruins you
Psychologically in it's core, the major dimension of perfectionism is the fear of making a mistake. But there are five other dimensions of perfectionism.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- high personal standards
- the perception of high parental expectations
- the perception of high parental criticism
- the doubting of the quality of one's actions
- a preference for order and organization
I can openly say that I’ve experienced some of these in my life, both before and after having children. Like many other mothers, I started motherhood with very high expectations and of course…failed at them.
The expectations placed on me as a mother (and some of my own doing!) were completely realistically 100% unsustainable, but I tried for years and years to meet them.
Why You Should Let Perfection Go
Having high personal standards in pregnancy and in motherhood leads to:
- low self-esteem
- increases the risks of postpartum depression
- negatively affects relationships
- and results experiencing guilt in a regular basis
Basically, when you’re aspiring to be as perfect as possible in life and in motherhood, you’re in a constant state of self-doubt, fear and guilt. And all of it is laced through the false belief that you’ve got it all together and figured out.
Not to mention the bumpy emotional state that develops in motherhood when the pieces of perceived perfection start to fall apart.
No thank you
So, instead of being the perfect mother, what am I pointing my intentions to? What has replaced perfectionism? What can replace the high personal standards one puts on themselves?
Instead of Being Perfect, Try These
The mindset that a direction towards growth, any growth (yes, even the tiniest direction towards a better being) is you allowing a significant difference in your life.
And by small, what do I mean exactly? I mean smallll. As in stop setting the bar so incredibly high towards being the most zen mom you can ever be!
Even if the only step you took towards growth was to breath deep into your belly, and let your mind wander, fell into a place that felt like daydreaming…and came out of those five minutes refreshed (let's just go with realistic here in terms of minutes) you have grown. You made a significant step towards your awaken being.
For me personally, it means being in my thoughts. It’s listening to my conscious and my unconscious thoughts. It’s plucking that wisdom out, as I’m doing right now through writing this to you, and allowing it to flourish. To see where it came from and what its purpose is.
A lot of what I write is to heal me, to reflect on a growth, or just simply my way to help others heal themselves through shared experiences.
That’s growth mindset. It’s inward focus. It’s exploitative. It’s the smallest thing you do today to seek your own answers.
When I walk to my car, I've made it a habit to to look at my surroundings. And if you were to be able to listen to my thoughts you’d hear –
“Look at the grass. Look at how green it is. It’s wet..it’s been raining. And it looks like it’s flickering, like tiny drops of diamonds. How lucky I am to be able to look at the grass.
Look up at the sky. The sky! It’s so blue. And look at the clouds, so many of them today, the whitest of clouds, mixed in with the grey, purple-tinted clouds. Beauty right above me.
(take a deep breathe…breath in that crisp air). How thankful I am that I have this air!
Look at the top of that palm tree. The wind slightly moving it back and forth. So elegant. So regal. So strong. How incredibly lucky I am to be in its presence.”
Appreciation is every day. Through intention, today I have everything I wished for a year ago. And I’ve set my intentions for the next step of my life. But, if I had nothing (and I’ve had nothing…), I would have everything I see in nature. I would have so much to be thankful for.
And these are just the things I have while walking to my car! I also have the gifts that the Universe gave me in my children. I have the love that I feel and receive for my partner. I have my strength and my vulnerability. I have much.
Gratefulness increases your inner peace, your inner strength and influences how you experience the world…something that being perfect can never match up to.
I recently read something of truth that resonated with the way I coach in pregnancy and in postpartum.
"A healer does not heal you. A healer is someone who holds space for you while you awaken your inner healer so that you may heal yourself." ~ Maryam Hasnaa
And to add to this…a healer also needs to be in continuous healing.
I’ve been fortunate to work with healers that have practiced in this way. And in doing so, I’ve been able to find the ways to heal myself. To listen to myself, closely, and mindfully. To be in my truth. To be aware, so very aware, to the point that I no longer see myself from the outside in, but from the inside out.
Self-healing is the opposite of being a perfect mother.
Let's use the fear of failure as an example. In perfectionism, in those high standards you’ve set for yourself as a mother, you’ll find that you experience a fear of what would happen if you fail. Failure would crush you.
With self-healing, there's no fear of failing. There's no fear because you know that in fact you will fail at more than one point in your path. It's part of life. It's one of the many ways we are given opportunities to grow. There's no crushing fear of failing, because failing is one of your teachers. And through self-healing, you’ll find the lesson to be learned from it, you’ll thank the learning and you’ll heal, you’ll grow.
I've let go of perfectionism
It didn’t serve me for my greater good. Instead, I’ve chosen growth, appreciation and self-healing in my feminine path, as well as my journey in motherhood.
Maria-Raquel G. Silva, Belén Rodriguez Doñate and Karen Nathaly Che Carballo, Nutritional Requirements for the Pregnant Exerciser and Athlete, Exercise and Sporting Activity During Pregnancy, 10.1007/978-3-319-91032-1_11, (327-345), (2018).
Randy O. Frost, Patricia Marten, Cathleen Lahart & Robin Rosenblate, The Dimensions of Perfectionism (October 2018)
Hewitt, P. L., & Dyck, D. G. (1986). Perfectionism, stress, and vulnerability to depression.Cognitive Therapy and Research, 10, 137–142.
Hamachek, D. E. (1978). Psychodynamics of normal and neurotic perfectionism.Psychology, 15, 27–33.