When Picture Perfect Isn’t So Perfect After All

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 35 years on this earth, it’s that perfectionism is unhealthy. Perfectionism in parenting is impossible and, in fact, I would go so far as to say, it’s actually harmful for kids.  I’m speaking from my perspective as a totally Type A, recovering perfectionist!  The pursuit of unhealthy perfectionism causes stress, anxiety, and self-loathing. Perfectionism can also lead to isolation as perfectionists tend to feel stressed when having people over to their homes because they fear it’s not organized enough, clean enough, big enough or House Beautiful magazine photo shoot ready!

As busy, modern parents we can fall into the trap of feeling guilty for either not working hard enough at the office or for working too hard at the office and not spending enough time at home with our families.  We want to be the perfect boss or the perfect employee and the perfect parent.  This should not surprise you, but this person does not exist except in your imagination.  Many moms I’ve spoken with feel shame about their body size if they’re not a size 2 (remember I live in LA!)  This culture of not feeling “enough” has got to stop!  You are pretty enough, you are good enough, you are smart enough, you are kind enough, you are more than enough!  As a human being first and parent second, you deserve to feel good about who you are, what you look like, how you spend your time and energy at work, at play, and at home.

I am the first one to say that I wholeheartedly believe in setting high standards and creating goals for your life.  I think there is a way to lead a balanced life where you become less driven by maintaining a picture perfect image and more concerned with actually enjoying your life.  Let’s make a pact to pursue joy instead of perfectionism.

Want to live a less picture perfect life?  Here are a few tips:

1.  Focus on what’s really important–your own self-care, your family and your friends.  Cultivating and maintaining close relationships leads to happiness!

2.  Stop defining your life by a list of achievements.

3.  Be gentle with yourself!  Realize that letting go of perfectionism and perfectionist traits is a process.  You can still maintain your high achieving qualities and inner drive while letting go of that critical voice inside your head.  Get ready to welcome the new voice of love, acceptance and peace.  It’s a beautiful adventure and you can begin today!

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