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Inside: You don’t need to be perfect! You need to stop killing yourself trying to live up to that fictitious vision you have in your head of what a perfect mom looks like. Here’s why…
Let me first start by saying this:
There are no perfect moms.
You know that vision you have in your head of the perfect mom (perhaps that vision is a real Facebook mom) who never has bad days, always has perfect hair, she is calm, patient, organized. She makes crafts, cooks healthy homemade meals every day, she’s popular, and makes time for yoga too.
Let me fill you in on a secret.
That person above, this fictitious perfect mom you’ve been killing yourself trying to be, she doesn’t exist.
So let’s all just relax for a minute, open the curtains and let a little honesty in.
Two words that don’t belong together are perfect and motherhood.
Two words that do belong together:
Motherhood and hot-mess.
Even though you are likely aware of all this, and chuckle at your own unrealistic expectations of yourself in the darkest crevices of your mind, perhaps you still hear that little, nagging voice whispering your greatest fear – that you aren’t a good enough mother to your kids.
I hear that voice almost every.single.day.
It’s like a movie reel playing all the mistakes I’ve made? That time I forgot my son’s mitts, or that time the “F” word slipped out at the park. How about that time, maybe even today, you lost your temper and yelled at your kids?
You know this negative self-talk isn’t doing any good, but still, you can’t seem to shake it.
Does this sound familiar?
Why You Feel the Need to Be Perfect
Maybe you browse Facebook and see all these other perfect moms and wonder how they keep it all together. When some days, you feel like you are walking on a tightrope, dangerously close to wobbling off and crashing to the ground below.
Within minutes of browsing social media, I see healthy freezer meals for every day of the week, cute little owl crafts, matching onesies at Christmas(?!), and Pinterest-worthy themed birthday parties. I feel overwhelmed. Where am I going wrong?
Because the truth is:
My child doesn’t look like a miniature runway model. I can barely get his hair brushed, and he often rocks the same pants three days in a row. And while it would be cool to have an Instagram-worthy living room, I can’t pretend there aren’t animal crackers stuffed between my cushions. And oh yes, I’d love to do yoga and drink spiced latte’s every day, but my only form of exercise right now is playing some elaborate game of tag my son invented.
But: You Don’t Need to Be Perfect
What if instead of pretending we have it all together (because everyone else is pretending too), we post a picture of our kids in the throes of a temper tantrum? Or post our sink full of dishes?
Okay, realistically, no one is going to do these things.
But remember, five minutes before the perfect Facebook family snapped that perfect family photo and posted it, this could have been their reality.
No mom has it all together, all of the time. What if we learn to accept our mistakes, accept the messiness and stop panicking at the realization that we aren’t perfect?
There is no handbook for this job; every mom was once a new mom and gradually learned as she went along. Some moms excel at crafts; that’s okay. Some moms are great cooks. That’s amazing. Some moms are great teachers. Fantastic.
What do you bring to the table?
You bring something wonderful, and we can’t all be perfect at everything.
So stand proud in front of the mirror, look at yourself, among the imperfect messiness of life (perhaps even embrace the mom bun), and say, “I’m not perfect, but I’m doing the best I can; my kids are loved and supported, and it’s time to tune into what matters most.”
The thing I’ve noticed is that when I don’t pretend, I find my people (the ones who don’t pretend either) real, genuine connections. And to me, that is everything.
You Don’t Need to Be Perfect – 7 Reasons Why…
1. Mounting pressures are facing women everywhere
Beth Bridges wrote in her wildly popular article on modern women’s struggles, “In a world where we have more opportunities than ever before, modern women seem to be drowning under the weight of everything we have on our ‘life plates’ – landing us in a space of pain, hormonal disharmony, exhaustion, and disconnection.”
Beth admits that she finds it “beyond ridiculous” how many women are juggling a full-time job, childcare, and housework. Women are shouldering for everything.
And to keep up the façade, we are presenting a façade that we are “doing really well.” When people say, how are you, we often hear, “busy but good.”
I know I’m tired of pretending to hold it all together. I’m not doing very well at all. I’m struggling under the weight of my responsibilities. I want to shout, “No, I’m not okay, I’m not sure what I’m doing, and I’m really tired.”
Beth continues to say, “At some point, something has to give … and for many of us, that’s our hormonal health, turning us into fiery (or weepy!) versions of ourselves, surviving on sugar, coffee, and wine, with chronic PMS and adrenal fatigue. Feeling like you are drowning is not normal – it’s a sign that you need more support. Reach out. Talk to friends. Find some practitioners. Let go of the mask, and just give yourself permission to be real!”
2. Jampacked calendars
On top of the full-time jobs, child-rearing, and household duties, we are also raising children in an era where we jam-pack every minute of our kid’s calendars, sometimes every night of the week, even forgoing sleep and homework.
When did how many, and at what level, of sports our kids play to determine the worth of our children? If your child plays rep sports, are they really any better than the next child? Where did this stigma originate?
What if we learned to slow down, let our kids be kids. Perhaps what’s really important will start to fall into place. Right now, our kids are drowning, and they desperately need a different way of being. I wrote a few articles on teaching mindfulness to kids. Check them out here and here.
Most mothers spend their free time judging themselves, their decisions, and actions; we worry we are repressing our kid’s potential, stifling or limiting them. When in fact, all this overstimulation and lack of time to be “just a kid” could be what’s truly harming them.
3. Forgetting to appreciate the little things
What’s really important?
The smile on our kid’s faces when they want to show us something, “Look, mom, look, I finished the puzzle.”
Their bright faces as they run to us at the end of the school day.
Their faces on Christmas morning.
Live in the moment. Get down on the floor. Stop worrying about small things and start focusing on the everyday moments.
4. Comparison is the thief of joy
We compare ourselves to others, which always steals our joy because we can’t be anyone else; we can only be ourselves.
You don’t have the same circumstances as anyone else; your life might be easier or harder, you might have more or less money, more or less time, more or less support networks.
Do you think everyone you see on social media really has a perfect husband, perfect job, perfect kids, perfect health?
I think not.
It’s not reality. Everyone’s kids drive them to the brink sometimes. Everyone has battled with their husband over who is doing more. Everyone feels lost, confused, and alone sometimes.
So stop comparing, and start being you. Even better, take a social media break.
5. We don’t have control over everything
You are not in control of everything that happens in your life.
Life changes, we change, other people change, our kids change. We have no control over the curve balls that life throws at us.
To be alive means that we will go through good times and bad. If you are in one of those bad swells, relish in the fact that it will pass, just like everything, and soon you’ll be riding high on a new wave, hopefully, a good one.
Life is a cycle. Take the good with the bad.
6. Accept that motherhood isn’t always rosy (and you don’t need to be perfect)
Likely when you envisioned having kids, you didn’t envision your three-year-old having a volcanic meltdown over the color of his socks, you’re pulling your hair out, trying to find the orange socks, he’s screaming so loud the neighbors are awake. Chances are, an hour later you’re sneaking in the back door late for work with jam on your shirt.
Do kids behave all the time? Ummmm, find me a set of kids that do, and I’ll give you a million bucks.
Does everyone has a spotless house every day? Absolutely not.
Does everyone spring out of bed to tackle the day? Ummm, okay, maybe a couple of times a month.
Does everyone look forward to every moment with their kids? No. It’s okay to say you need some time.
7. Are your expectations realistic? (Because you DON’T need to be perfect)
Motherhood is VERY different from what most people expect. It’s messy, it’s frustrating, it will pull your patience to the brink. But it’s also beautiful, rewarding and the most important job you will do in your entire life.
So accept that there are days that will be difficult, days where your kids will just wake up grouchy, and nothing you do will snap them out of that mood, and there will also be days where you will be grouchy too, and that’s okay.
Embrace your messy house; it’s the sign of a well-lived life, not something to be taken for granted.
Set a realistic schedule to keep things in check and passably functioning, but otherwise, let it go. Let the toys linger on the floor, let the crumbs sit on the counter. Spend a few extra minutes on the floor with your little one.
- We have our own unique stories.
- Stop doubting yourself.
- Trust in yourself.
- Stop listening to others and listen to your gut, you know what’s best for your child.
- Stop trying to be perfect, and start tuning in.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes without hanging yourself on a noose.
- Take time for you.
Be real, start a new movement, one where we are allowed to be imperfect. Show that life is filled with laundry, cooking, tantrums, and mom hair. Stop trying to be perfect; it’s an impossible goal that will leave you exhausted, anxious, and feeling like a failure.
And maybe, just maybe, our kids will see us not pretending, and they will learn not to pretend too. When they fail or make mistakes, they might come to us, share their struggles and tears, and we can all grow together.
All we can offer the world is ourselves. When we permit ourselves to be honest, our authentic, true, real version of ourselves allows others to do the same.
Tap into what makes you an extra special mom; pat yourself on the back. You’re doing great, momma. I am perfect as I am, and so are you.
As moms, we often worry endlessly, and that’s not helping us. Move away from your worries and anxiety with Mindfulmazing’s worry journal. It’s a 3-month guided journal that will leave you feeling balanced and relaxed.
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