The Pursuit of Perfection and Motherhood

We can often get caught up in the trap of striving to be the “perfect mother”, and many of us might already know how damaging this can be not only for our emotional wellbeing but relationships too.

These unrealistic expectations we set firmly in place for ourselves, can often leave us feeling as though we are not good enough. Working tirelessly towards the impossible-to-reach expectations only just reinforces the belief “i’m not good enough”. Before we even know it, we find ourselves trapped in a very nasty and vicious cycle that we can very easily get caught up in and stay in until we reconstruct our beliefs related to motherhood.

Perhaps its not just about finding the right work-life balance whilst juggling all the house chores that gets you worked up. Perhaps you have started projecting your expectations on your child when it comes to their performance at school, parent-teacher meetings that involved less than stellar reports crush you. Interestingly, you find yourself not competing with other mums, but participating in your own internal competition. Am I good enough? Am I doing this right? Am I being the best mum that my kids deserve? Is my husband proud of me? Is my house clean enough? Are my kids clean enough? Are my kids happy/well-adjusted/well-balanced/in enough activities/in the right activities/learning the right character qualities? 

Truth is, will we ever know if we are doing it right? Through receiving validation perhaps? Which is fairly easy to receive at work or at school in the form of evaluations, having concrete proof that you are doing it right. However as a mum, there is no grading system, no clear-cut system to affirm that, yes, you’re doing a good job — especially on those days when it crashes and burns. You know, the days when the kids are late to school because you can’t find a shoe, or school bag, or whatever it is. The days that you find toddler graffiti, in marker, on a freshly cleaned wall. The days when dinner is late, or when dinner is frites, again, because you just don’t have it in you. The days when you scream in total overreaction not because the child deserved it, but because you’re just so tired. The days when you weep because the house is an absolute mess and you’re convinced any mom would do it better than you.

Yup, those days are so not perfect. And shouldn’t have to be. But in all this it can take a a very long time before we  realise that there’s no such thing as a perfect mother. And attempting to reach it, is, in the words of the great Phyllis Diller, “like shovelling the walk before it stops snowing.” In other words, it’s pointless. You might still be in the process of this realisation, but you’ll get there eventually, and once you’re there, yes you will sweep less and hug more, scrub less and laugh more.  Because ultimately, your kids won’t remember how clean the floor was, but they will remember how you loved them and made them feel. Your love, attunement and empathy are all very very magical to your child. So yes go ahead and allow yourself to learn through mistakes, be yourself, and practice self-compassion on the days you feel as though you’ve been a mediocre mum. If you are having one of those days today, i want you to repeat after me….

”Today I will find peace in being good enough because perfection is impossible”

Let’s embrace and affirm that we are all doing GOOD ENOUGH. 

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