There is no perfect way to be a mom. As a recovering perfectionist I can tell you that I’ve tried, like many moms before me, and I’ve failed. Miserably. Perfectionism in motherhood (or in life) is not something to aspire to–in fact, I’d argue that perfectionism leads to unhappiness, feelings of shame, guilt and isolation. Here’s a few tips I’ve learned from other moms and a few of my own that have helped me reclaim the joy in motherhood.
5 Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism in Motherhood:
1. Prioritize yourself first! When you fly on an airplane, the safety announcement reminds adults to put on their own oxygen masks first and then to assist children or others. As a mom, you need to prioritize your own health and wellness. When you prioritize your own self-care, you will feel happier and have more energy to devote your family, to your work (paid or volunteer), to your friends and your community.
2. Be Authentic! Moms are human beings, not superheroes. When we live authentically, we are able to feel positive emotions like love and happiness. Being real is the key. Yes, it’s easier to stay masked in perfectionism, but there is so much freedom in coming out as an authentic human being.
3. Stop comparing yourself to other moms. Right now! What good comes from comparing ourselves to others? We don’t walk in their shoes nor we will ever measure up to the pedestal we place other moms on. I’d also add that if you really spent time talking to a mom you truly admire, you would soon learn that she faces many challenges, that she has days that she struggles and times that she feels overwhelmed and pushed to her limit. Challenge yourself to turn off the negative self-talk radio station that exists in your head. Replace the channel with one that broadcasts kindness, love, empathy and compassion.
4. Relax a little and have some fun. Build fun into your weekly calendar. This is sacred time. I love to run and go on hikes–this is my “me time.” Sometimes I’ll invite a friend to join me and other times, I want to have time alone with my thoughts and my iPod. Other moms I know enjoy rock climbing, tennis, yoga, a cooking class, or a mom’s night out.
5. Accept yourself and others! Let go of your sky high personal expectations and try to accept yourself and other people just as they are. We are all unique and perfectly imperfect. Try not to judge your flaws or those of others. When you let go of perfectionism, amazing things will happen in your life. I promise. It’s a wonderful, joyful journey and I welcome you to it!
“There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross