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Perfectionism and parenting

Perfectionism is often triggered for women when we become moms. And it makes a world of sense that that is the case. For many of us, we have looked forward to being a mom for so long, and we have dreamed about the beautiful family and home we’ll build. For others of us, being a mom feels very high-stakes: like something we can mess up in a big way. And still for others of us, we are drowning in comparison to other moms. It seems like everyone else has figured out this whole “mom thing” in a way we have not.

And so it’s only natural that we start to fall back on some of the perfectionist approaches that worked for us in the past: We read all of the recommended books, we scour parenting blogs and Facebook groups for answers, we study what our friends share on Instagram, we make big goals for the changes we’ll make, and then we lie in bed late at night beating ourselves up for still not getting it right. In the process, we may find ourselves controlling every experience and emotion for our children, ensuring every moment is a learning moment, and compensating in ways we never expected – with activities, stuff, or attention.

I want to repeat this: It makes SO much sense that we react this way. This approach worked with grades, with getting jobs, maybe even with making friends. But when we default to perfectionism in parenting, it takes a massive toll on us as moms. We set impossible standards for ourselves (and for our kids) that we can’t meet: We expect every interaction, every activity, every family outing to go as we plan, for our kids to react the ways we expect, for our family to be perfect in the ways we imagined. But it doesn’t go this way. And so we eventually give up on the idea of enjoying parenting, we beat ourselves up, find ourselves acting in ways that don’t feel authentic to us, or we start asking the question, “Is this really it? All that I’ve been working toward my whole life?”

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose to parent from a place of authenticity – leaning on our unique strengths and doing things with our kids that we actually enjoy, instead of checking things off the list we “should” be doing. We can listen to our own instincts instead of trying to perfectly follow what IG influencers preach. We can let go, give our kids some space, trusting that they are resilient enough to handle difficult situations.

And bit by bit, we’ll regain that love for parenting. It won’t be perfect: we’ll still have plenty of hard, imperfect moments along the way. But we CAN enjoy it. Even have fun with it. Remember how to laugh with our kids. Remember who we were before we had kids. And let our kids get to know that person, be proud of that person, love that person.

Join our group of inspiring, supportive women and discover what it feels like to parent from a place of compassion, playfulness and trust.

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