Curing Perfect Mom Syndrome July 12, 2016 08:37
There is a lot of pressure in today's world to be perfect in all areas of our life, and motherhood is no exception. We're bombarded with ideas and norms about how we should raise our kids and live our lives. Today's mom should prepare delicious healthy meals, look great, make a career, be patient and calm, be the perfect wife, and have an organized and clean house, just to name a few.
I've heard many moms saying they feel the demands on them are too high. They don't have help, or they're not used to asking for help, so it feels wrong. They're putting themselves last in order to make everyone else happy.
Does this sound familiar? How is it working out for you? I guess it isn't. I'm sure you've dropped the ball already in many of these areas since you became a mom. Well, you're not alone, as we all have.
Perfectionism will make us suffer. Think of a mom who looks like she has it all. She's achieved perfection on the surface. Would you like her? Would you want to be her friend? Probably not! You couldn't relate since we know that nobody is perfect. Research shows by aiming at 80% we can save a lot of time and stress, and most people will never notice the difference.
Don't try to be perfect because it sends the wrong message and presents the wrong image. Your kids are watching and modeling what you do. Girls are modeling you and getting the messages about how a woman, wife, and mother should be. Boys are learning the kind of girlfriend or wife they'd prefer to have.
Top performance and productivity all the time is unrealistic; everything goes in cycles... seasons, days, your body. Oftentimes we try pushing too hard until nature forces us to slow down.
Here are my tips to regain inner peace and to feel great about yourself and motherhood again:
Embrace Your Femininity
Creating a career for ourselves is new to women; we didn't even have the right to vote not so long ago. Our old models of a housewife and of making a career cannot fit together seamlessly, since we still have only 24 hours in a day. We're still learning and experimenting with new ways of finding and expressing ourselves.
Feminism, being equal to men, does not mean we're the same and have the same expectations of ourselves.
Masculine energy is focused, controlled, logical, efficient, measurable, and seeking authority. Feminine energy needs attention and reassurance. We are vulnerable, flowing, changing, and emotional. Embrace it, work with it, and don't try to push it down.
I see women picking up too many masculine traits in order to navigate this world of men, and they try to compensate for this inner state by appearing very feminine on the surface.
You have to practice putting yourself first. Self-care is a must because "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others. This isn't easy because our nature is to give and care for others.
Find one thing a day that you can do for yourself for 30 minutes. It can be taking a walk, a bath, meditating, reading, or watching an episode of your favorite series. This might not seem like much, but it does add up if you do it every day. If you can do something for yourself first thing in the morning before your kids are up, that helps to fill you up to handle the day.
Don't beat yourself up for your mistakes. We all make them. This is a hard one for me as a mother and as a parenting coach. When I'm impatient and react in a way that I'm not happy with, I feel I should know better with all the knowledge and experience I have. I have to remind myself that I'm human with natural emotions and not a robot. The goal is to move through the emotions and not to suppress them.
When you do mess up, do damage control and then let it go. It takes practice, but I promise it gets easier.
Ask for Help
Many moms believe that being a good mother or wife should come naturally, that it's all something we're born with, so it is hard to admit when we can't handle it. We're afraid that we will be judged or rejected. We question how much help we can ask for.
Don't be afraid to admit that there is a problem. Hardly anyone grew up in families with a good relationship model, or with clear parenting ideas. Most parents were reactive and not proactive because they didn't know any better. We've learned by picking up bits and pieces about motherhood, and now we're trying to put them all together.
What does it mean to you to be a good mother?
What are your standards?
What is acceptable, and what isn't?
Are all those standards yours, or could some have come from your mother, culture, husband, neighbor, or friends? I mean, did your family tell you this is what they want, or have you just assumed that this is what they want?
Often we put false expectations on ourselves to avoid criticism or an argument that probably would never happen.
Ask people in your life what they really expect from you if you're not sure. Maybe your husband doesn't want you to cook a Pinterest-worthy recipe every night, but since you're doing it he isn't going to complain. Your mother might not care whether you have a messy house and maybe she was just having a bad day when she mentioned it two years ago. And your kids probably did not ask for you to set up play dates and activities for every day of the week.
Get clear on what your "musts" are and what your "maybes" might be.
Motherhood is messy but a lot of fun at the same time. You're perfect for your kids. They will remember the times you spent together and the games you all played. They won't remember the dirty house.
Julianna Tremblay is a conscious parenting coach for mothers with young children. Personal growth and spirituality were always part of her life, but it really accelerated after the birth of her son. Her mission is to help moms create a calm and understanding home and to raise conscious, responsible, happy, resilient children. She strongly believes "It is easier to build strong children, than to repair broken adults." (F.Douglas). Visit her website at www.juliannakovacs.com, and connect by Facebook in her group, Empowering Mothers.
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