While grocery shopping recently, I spotted the book Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff For Moms. It immediately caught my eye. Sweating the small stuff is something I seem to get caught up in all the time. Can you relate? Sometimes I feel so busy with the small stuff that I lose sight of the big picture of parenting.
When I opened the book, the very first chapter was called “There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Perfect’ Mom.” That’s another message I can get on board with. I know I’m not perfect, and I’m often the first to admit it. But just because I’m willing to admit imperfection, doesn’t mean that I don’t fall into the trap of wishing I could achieve it in my day to day life.
Surely I’m not alone here. We’re bombarded with models of perfect parents in magazines, on tv, and online. On Facebook we only post about the great things that go on, not the actual day to day behind the scenes difficulties that we all face. Add Pinterest to the mix and we might as well give up on ever being able to throw a birthday party or decorate a house to satisfaction.
Recently Parenting.com and Today.com conducted a survey of 26,000 moms where they asked moms to reveal their secrets. You know what they found? The most common secret that moms kept was that they felt overwhelmed. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why.
Moms today have more on our plates than ever before. But when you add the drive for perfection to that equation, we end up feeling pretty overwhelmed most of the time. Why? Because perfection isn’t possible in parenting. It’s just not. And the sooner we come to terms with that the faster we can get on with being the amazing moms we were meant to be. Ones who are more focused on enjoying time coloring with our kids than on making a craft project worthy of a Pinterest post.
How do we move away from the burden of perfection to a more realistic approach to parenting? Try these tips and you’ll be well on your way . . .
- Don’t compare yourself to others. I know it’s hard to avoid, but that’s where our troubles begin. Remember that others are only showing you their best. The pictures they post on Facebook are only a snapshot of their life. In fact, it probably took them all day to get that perfect shot! You are only seeing what they are willing to share publicly, which is almost always much better than reality!
- Do your best, but learn from your mistakes. Just because we’re not aiming for perfection, doesn’t mean that we can slack off and lay around on the couch all day! We should always try our best in whatever we do. But if we fall short or make mistakes, use it as an opportunity to learn for next time.
- Embrace the perfectly imperfect. Remind yourself that your goal is not perfection! You might have to give yourself some pep talks so you don’t fall back into your old perfectionistic tendencies. Share your new goal of being perfectly imperfect with those around you, even your kids. Teach them from a young age that although you always expect their best, you don’t require perfection. From the Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff For Moms book, “It’s a great feeling to know that we are all perfectly imperfect, just as we are.”
For more ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ parenting solutions from Dr. Polly Dunn, visit her at ChildPsychMom.com.