The fastest way to break the cycle of perfectionism and become a fearless mother is to give up the idea of doing it perfectly—indeed to embrace uncertainty and imperfection.
I like to say that I’m a “recovering perfectionist” and that becoming a mom has helped me let go of some of my perfectionistic tendencies. It’s definitely been a process (a long one at that) to get to this point. It still is a process in that perfectionism likes to rear it’s not so pretty head at times, usually inopportune times. Often, it shows up when I have unmet needs as a mom such as when there’s a lack of sleep, not eating well, not staying hydrated, not moving enough/lack of exercise, needing some alone time, needing adult conversations, needing more mental stimulation, feeling lonely or disconnected from others, not scheduling time for self-care, needing quiet, needing a neat and clean environment, etc. Do any of these resonate for you?
One of hardest parts of becoming a mom can be embracing the chaos of it all. Some of us transition more easily into this role than others. So much of the work is around letting go of perfection, control and the image of how you wanted/expected motherhood to be (and I’m talking about every stage of motherhood here!), and instead leaning into the messiness of it all. I know, it sounds counterintuitive and even a bit scary. However, what often happens when we embrace the discomfort that comes up for us instead of resisting it is that it allows us to be more present moms to our children. You get to see, hear and understand what’s really going on all around you, and feel the feelings and emotions as they show up. The joy. The excitement. The humor. And yes, the hurt and pain too. All of which can help you create deeper, more connected relationships with your loved ones.
It can also feel so very freeing to not have to carry with you the stress and burden of trying to be a perfect mom. Moving to a place of accepting what is can help you navigate the messiness of motherhood in a more calm and collected way. Moving to a place of self-compassion can help you to not be so hard on yourself when you do or say something you may later regret.
What’s great about learning to lean into the chaos of motherhood is that you get to model this new behavior for your children as well. Instead of your kids feeling like they must always be perfect, and beat themselves up when imperfection shows up in their lives, our kids learn that there’s another way to “do life.” That together you can all create a new way to live your lives that’s filled with more grace. More kindness. More empathy. More compassion. More patience. More understanding. More connection. More laughter. More joy. In starting this journey, you can break unhelpful patterns that you learned or were taught, and create new, healthier, more fulfilling patterns for yourself and your family members. What’s not to love about all that, right? So, when the messiness of motherhood shows up in your life, make a conscious effort to lean in and fully embrace it!