Confessions of a (former) perfectionist mom
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No one really talks about how challenging the transition from perfectionist to parent can be. Or how parenting as a perfectionist can consume so much of the energy you don’t have.
Before motherhood, I was a perfectionist in many aspects of my life. I am slowly transitioning out of it, but I will likely always carry some of the traits.
This adds a layer of difficulty to the already, at times, difficult season which is early motherhood. And it’s not surprising really is it?
Perfectionism demands us to be perfect; parenting requires us to embrace imperfect. The two are not meant to work together.
But knowing this doesn’t always make it easier does it? It’s hard when you are triggered easily.
Triggered by mess, noise, and the unfinished. Triggered by the imperfect parenting moments. Triggered by the guilt that comes from loving your children so much you want to embrace every part of the imperfect, but still find yourself struggling by things not being perfect.
And I know how it goes. You want to let it go. You want to be more present with them, rather than listening to your perfectionist urges. You want to just not care about what everyone says “doesn’t really matter.”
Because you know they’re right. Perfect doesn’t matter to your children. And you know it shouldn’t really matter to you, because your messy, chaotic, imperfect life is the most important thing right now and you wouldn’t change it for the world.
But it still feels like it does matter some days. The perfectionist in you holds on tight, even when the little hearts that hold onto yours grip tighter.
And it’s hard.
So if this resonates with you, please know you are not alone. I’m here, trying my best to embrace all of the imperfect too.
Perhaps I always have been. But motherhood has been the catalyst I never knew I needed to start me walking in the right direction.”
Emma Heaphy is a former lawyer and stay-at-home mom of three. She is the author of Dear Motherhood, the book that has stolen the hearts of mothers around the world for its real and raw musing of early motherhood. She recently published her second book, Mother On, your very own manual on the continuation of early motherhood.
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