The unconditional love you have for your child makes you want to be the best mom in the world.
But here’s a fun fact: there are no perfect parents.
The obligation to be the “perfect mom” can take its toll on you and leave you frustrated, disappointed, and feeling like a failure. Parents go above and beyond to make their dreams of perfection come true, which in the end just makes them all the more demanding, controlling, and overworked.
When you invest all your time and energy to be the perfect mom, you might eventually end up neglecting and loathing the good parent that you already are. Have you considered that obsessing over flaws may actually stand in the way of your growth as a parent or even a person? Because I have considered it, and now I’m happy to say that I’m glad with the way things are.
So, here I am, with five ways that helped me let go of that desire for perfection and love the mom I am:
1. Let go of your unrealistic expectations.
My dreams as a youngster did not involve two kids and a job. My life is not like I imagined it would be, but once I accepted that fact, the chaos around me slowly began to fall into place. You too may have imagined a life that is entirely different from the one you are living right now. That is absolutely fine.
But here you are, a mom and a career woman (or maybe not), trying to juggle a lot of things at once. It can be difficult coming to terms with the fact that you have so many things to do at the same time. Amidst all the chaos, trying to be the perfect, saint-like mom who always has things under control is simply not practical. Aim to be a good mom who messes up once in a while instead. It will make your life a lot less stressful.
2. Do not believe society’s conventional portrayal of a perfect life.
In our fast-growing world of technology, social media continually feeds us with picture-perfect ideas of living. These pictures can make you aware what you lack, instead of appreciating what you already have. You might fixate on the unreal when a close-to-perfect reality is right in front of you.
When I see images of an almighty mother who handles everything perfectly—marriage, household management, parenting—I want to be her so badly. She is dedicated, loving, always attentive to her children, and a romantically wonderful wife to her husband.
It did not take me long to realize that she does not exist. So I settled with being happy with the mom I was.
Take a moment to reflect on what you have right now and appreciate it. Otherwise, you might waste your whole life chasing an impossible dream without enjoying your blessings.
3. Stop trying to please others—and trust yourself.
One of the many things I’m glad to leave behind is trying to please others. Trust me, I tried to impress my colleagues, my neighbors, and my in-laws—well, basically anyone who’d ask for it. It did me no good. Whether you are trying to live up to others’ or your own expectations, you should stop trying to put up a perfect image of you as a mother.
You are raising human beings vulnerable to flaws, not robots that you can program as you please. Use your intuition and make decisions that you think will benefit you and your children. Forget the rest. Stop putting up pretenses and trying to please others, and act according to your choices. It will free you from the unnecessary thoughts of the overthinking mind.
4. Listen to your child with understanding before you react.
I received this advice from a friend, and it really helped me with my kids. As much as I love my children, I admit that there are times when they just drive me mad. So, I started to observe my kids calmly every time they do something I disagree with, and I found amazing improvements.
Instead of berating your child for doing something you disapprove of, hear them out patiently. As a part of the development process, children commit several mistakes, and they have their own opinions about it. Even if you do not agree with these views, help your child to build up confidence when they voice their thoughts. Allow your child to be who they are with your support and gentle guidance.
Cutting your child off immediately or scolding them for the sake of perfection will not make you a better parent. In most cases, this controlling behavior will negatively impact your children later on in life. Even if you lose your temper, apologize to your child and talk to them about what happened and try to find a better resolution.
5. Learn to manage your time.
As a parent, time is your most valuable currency to let your child know he or she is loved and cared for.
It is equally essential to carve out some time for yourself. But how do you spend more time with your family and also have some time off to nurture yourself?
Create a separate time in your lifestyle when your child is not the center of attention. Your child also needs space away from you as he/she grows up to be truly independent. As you become the focus of your attention, you will find contentment and relief instead of stress that nags you when you are trying to be the overthinking and controlling parent.
Remember that there is no such thing as a “perfect parent.” All you can be is a loving, caring, and smart mom who does the best she can for the welfare of her children. And that is enough. You can follow these tips or find other ways to be a good parent to your children.
I understand that it is undeniably hard to let go of old habits, but we can if we give it time.
Just let go of your obsession with perfection, and you will get to love yourself for the awesome mom you already are.