I’m a perfectionist. The idea of putting things out into the world that aren’t my best effort makes me cringe! It doesn’t mean that I believe what I do is perfect, but it does mean I always want to do my best. This has carried over into motherhood. When my daughter first came home, we were a cloth diapering, organic-eating, all-natural family. She didn’t eat sugar, no chemical (that I could control) touched her skin, and I felt like I was nailing parenting. We read books every night, I taught her sign language, she was stylishly dressed and life felt good and controlled.
But then my son came along and rocked our world. Suddenly cloth diapering went out the window, chicken nuggets became a staple in our home, and chemicals entered our home at an alarming rate. I couldn’t get it together! What was wrong with me?
I spent many nights feeling guilty. Why don’t I make homemade baby food anymore? Why did I give up cloth diapers? Will my kids grow up to be sugar addicts? These thoughts seem silly now, but they were very much real at the time.
I thought I was failing.
The sad thing was that I hadn’t stopped trying. In fact, I was trying harder than ever but just couldn’t keep up with two as I had with one child. My efforts increased but the results were less than impressive. I knew I had to either change my actions, perspective, or both. So, as a life coach, I deeply dove into my mindset. What was the root of what I was feeling and what’s the TRUTH about my kids’ wellbeing?
My past mindset: My worth as a mom is dependent on following all the “rules” that determine what’s best for my family.
The truth about my kids’ wellbeing: They just want to be loved exactly as they are.
I realized my perfectionist mentality was actually hindering their growth. If I was down on myself for making “mistakes” that weren’t actually “mistakes,” then how could I teach my children about grace? So I stopped measuring my worth in organic ingredients and a chemical-free home and started pursuing a life that was full of love and grace!
My perfectionist mentality didn’t just disappear, but I’m more intentional about setting boundaries for myself now. For example, I still cringe when my daughter puts on an entirely mismatched outfit when she has an adorable wardrobe, but in my head, I weigh the cost. Which is better: for her to love herself and feel GREAT no matter what she wears or for her to try to seek the approval of others at such a young age? The answer is obvious.
Did I ever think I could become a better mom by trying LESS? No. But it’s true! Untying myself to the demands of perfectionism has made me more present, joyful, and overall a better mom! I believe trying less would do the same for you!
Tell us in the comments: what are your thoughts on trying less and loving more?