Where did this myth of Mom perfection come from?
The comparison of baby sleeping habits in antenatal classes, or maybe the beautifully styled images we see on Instagram of gorgeous playrooms, healthy homemade snacks and happy and smiling children?
Or maybe it’s the sudden shock that this parenting stuff is not exactly what we had pictured.
So we are trying hard to get back some control. I am not sure we will ever know.
One thing I know is this simple fact.
The perfect Mom does not exist.
We will all have some areas we excel in more and some we really struggle in.
Feeling the intense need to be a success and perfect as a Mom only makes us more unhappy and really isolates us from one another.
So let’s say goodbye to that today.
As someone who has felt this strongly since my first child was born seven years ago, I have needed to work through these feelings.
Try out my ten Simple Ways to Ditch the Need to be Perfect.
1. Stop Comparing Yourself
I will admit, this is the first thing I say to another mom, but the hardest advice to take myself. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others.
It does not matter how much improvement you might make, you will always find someone doing more (if you go looking for it).
I have to make a big effort with this one, especially since becoming a homeschooling mom, but the effort is paying off.
I know there are some areas I am doing great in and others that need work and that is exactly how it should be. The quickest way I have found to stop comparing myself? Keep a daily gratitude or mini wins journal and switch off social media for a while.
2. Use Social Media With Intention
Social media is a double-edged sword. It has the power to connect like-minded people and can make us less isolated. It also allows you to build and market your own business or brand from your kitchen table, something a lot of moms are doing.
BUT on the negative side, it can cause a lot of suffering, feeling as if you are failing or missing out. When you use social media, be intentional. Be mindful of who you connect with, scroll with purpose, limit the time you are on there. Look out for warning signs. If it’s having a negative impact on your mental health and take steps to have a break or cut it out if you need.
3. Do Something You Know You Will Be Bad At
Let me explain this one. I have a friend, let’s call her Sally.
She can take to anything with minor difficulty. This has always been her way. So when she eventually came upon something she was not so good at, it hit her hard.
If you have the courage to try something you know you will be bad at, it exposes you to that feeling. Then when you are working on something really important (helping a non-compliant child learn to read?)and you hit a hard patch, you understand that emotion of struggle. Not such a shock then?
I try things I know I will be rubbish at a lot now. Rock climbing, knitting, painting. It helps when I have to find creative ways to deal with my highly emotional child. Fewer feelings of failing and more feelings of just constant learning. Makes sense?
4. Accept Perfection Does Not Exist
Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal.
Sorry to be blunt. You will never be a perfect mom (or human being). It took me a while to accept that I am good enough, and that is enough. Instead, aim for constant growth.
Learn from everything, then you have no mistakes, not really. Just growth. I make mistakes as a mom every day. I say goodbye to them at night and learn from them what I can. Ever growing and ever forgiving.
5. Stop All or Nothing Thinking
It is really hard to fit everything in 24 hours when you are a mom. Homeschool, run, meditate, cook, read to the kids, build your business, study, sleep…. you get the picture?
Work with what you have. If you have limited time, you can still make progress on your goals.
Just break it down into small steps. 5 minutes a day meditating or sitting at your piano.
Or maybe you are learning a new skill (like myself….blogging). It’s the direction that counts.
Forward is still forward, no matter the speed.
6. Have a Look at Your Environment
What magazines you read, the T.V shows you watch, the people you follow and interact with.
Do they make you feel good or bad about yourself? Are they realistic to your life?
I love Pinterest for ideas and inspiration but I also accept it’s not authentic life, well not for any other human being I have ever met, anyway.
Read books that make you feel good about yourself, magazines that make your soul happy, find shows to inspire you.
I recently watched Running for Good, taping up your shoes halfway across the world’s hardest ultra run?
No perfectionism there, just an inspiring woman.
7. Accept and Expect Mistakes
“I failed my way to success” Thomas Edison.
Mistakes are part of being human and not only that, you need mistakes to change, learn and grow.
Accept mistakes, expect more of them and keep moving forward. As a mom, we are constantly changing and making mistakes, become comfortable with that.
8. Stand up to Your Inner Critic
Do you know your inner critic?
I have named mine and I can see her in my mind’s eye. A powerful tip I can give you?
You can stand up to her and you should. You don’t have to listen to her. If she raises an eyebrow at your messy house, then just smile and turn away.
You have rocked being a mum to an emotional and volatile child today who simply needed lots of hugs. Stand up to bullies, including the one who lives in your head.
9. Make Self-Care a Priority
I talk a lot about self-care. It’s a necessity, not a luxury, and this is especially true for moms.
We cannot care from an empty inner cup. Once your self-care slips, your overall health will decline and with it, patience, sleep, precious mindful moments with your children.
Prioritise yourself daily if possible.
Invest in yourself, take on a mentor or commit to a yoga class. It does not need to be hours a day. Simply doing a little exercise, reading a book, being in your garden for 15 minutes still counts.
10. Surround Yourself With Happy (not outwardly perfect) People
Your environment is not only the physical world around you, it is the people you keep in your inner circle.
You can choose to surround yourself with people who inspire you, make you happy, make you content. People living real, raw, growing lives.
It’s not always easy finding your mom “tribe” especially if you homeschool like me, but they are there. You can search for them through online groups or local meet ups. I have surrounded myself with people and moms who make me feel good.
Sometimes that has meant certain friendships have finished, but I believe that’s just part of the cycle of life.
Learning to let go, that’s a whole different lesson. Just start by looking at who you are currently surrounding yourself with and how they make you feel.
That’s your ten. Can you get to work on one of them today?
A good practice to help with this is using affirmations every day to help you let go of the guilt and perfectionism idea.
The sooner you can accept there is no such thing as perfection, the sooner you can get on to living the best version of your life and creating more of the good days. Go out and be a perfectly imperfect mom today.
Today and every day you are exactly enough. Never forget that.