Your kids don’t need a perfect mom, they need a happy mom. How to stop letting perfectionism ruin your motherhood.
Perfectionism can be my strong suit when it comes to business, photography, and executing projects; but when it comes to motherhood, it can get really messy.
In fact, slowly and oh-so-painfully, motherhood has taught me to let go of the picture-perfect vision I so often like to uphold in my mind.
I clearly remember the day I began to unravel. I was sitting on the couch, face in my hands, a figurative white flag looming over my head. Feeling defeated and utterly exhausted from all of my unmet expectations.
The rug that lay before me was scattered with toys, the kitchen sink full of dishes, my once clean floor now tainted with sticky pasta, a chair pulled up to the counter, and cabinet doors left all ajar. And there I sat, in my pajamas at noon—I was a mess and I fit the scene perfectly.
I took a deep breath, wondering what kind of game I was trying to play.
I wanted to have it all together (really I did), but on this particular day I just couldn’t. The perfectionist in me was raging, but something else inside of me was done.
I could hear my children playing happily in the next room.
“Let me check your heartbeat,” I could hear my son say. “Now your eyes, ears, and your blood pwessure too!”
Swish, swish, swish. I could hear him inflating the toy cuff.
What was I doing to myself? I thought.
Each and every day I was trying my hardest to do and be all of the things–so desperately wanting control, but it was always out of reach.
I wanted to be the room mom, the put together mom, the business savvy mom, the mom with the clean house, AND the mom that got a shower before noon. But there just weren’t enough hours in the day.
“Maybe you should come check mommy’s blood pressure.” I decided to call out.
My son came quickly, a huge smile on his face. Wrapping the cuff around my arm, while giving it a few gentle squeezes, he looked into my eyes. I scooped him up and put his cheek next to mine.
It was in that moment that I realized that my kids don’t need a perfect mom, they need a happy mom.
“Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
Today was the day I needed to begin adjusting the lens through which I was viewing my world to something more realistic. Because the most important thing of all, is not how everything looks on the outside, but how everything feels on the inside.
How to Stop Letting Perfectionism Ruin Your Motherhood
1. Understand that this is a season.
A messy, but beautiful season. I feel it going fast, and maybe you do to?
Embrace your season for what it is.
Pick out moments of beauty in the messiness, and know that it will eventually pass. We only get a certain amount of time with our children, so although the days feel long, the years may blur into something that in the end, felt wistfully short.
2. Know that you CAN and should control a few things.
Everyone needs a tangible amount of control.
Can you select a few manageable areas to keep in check?
Maybe it’s a clean and organized purse, making your bed each day, or thirty minutes of Netflix each night—no matter what. Choose what matters to you, and let those things be a predictable source of stability in your life.
You can’t control everything, but you can control a few things.
3. Adopt a “good enough” mentality.
Chicken nuggets will do when you forgot to plan for dinner. Hair in a bun. Yoga pants. Those will do too.
What can you call “good enough” on today?
In her book, The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin explains this:
“A twenty-minute walk that I do is better than the four-mile run that I don’t do…The dinner party of take-out Chinese food is better than the elegant dinner that I never host.”
Doing something is better than nothing.
4. Realize this.
Perfectionism keeps us from living fully present in our lives. When we are comparing and aiming for perfection, we are always thinking about what we can do next, and how we can be better. But that’s robbing us of precious moments, and we’re missing the beauty of a messy, yet authentic life.
The pursuit of perfection is also an all or nothing game. Just like my day of surrender, it tells us that if we’re not doing our absolute best, we shouldn’t try at all. There’s just no winning!
Maybe we can start letting go of perfect and give ourselves credit for simply doing our best.
I have learned that there is no FUN in perfection.
If you liked this post you might also enjoy…
- Motherhood Is a Beautiful Work of Art
- Stop Looking for Perfect and Embrace What Is
- Motherhood Simplified
- Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom