Relax! Move over the perfect mum – why trying to be perfect is no good for anybody

In today’s world, we have very high expectations of ourselves. We’re always shooting for the stars, obsessing about this, that or the other in that everything-has-to-be-just-so kinda way. Yet how many of us have uttered the words “there’s no such thing as perfect” time and time again?

It’s no wonder that when embarking on motherhood, so many women put such great amounts of pressure on themselves from the very outset, and as a result become a walking neurotic blob. After all, it’s probably the greatest challenge of our life so far, and we want to do it 100% right…right?

From breastfeeding, to trying to fend off that seemingly constant explosion of crap everywhere, to nurturing your ickle one with only the best homemade food (only to have it thrown back in your face in utter disgust); trying to keep things running in a seemingly perfect fashion is a one-way ticket to nervous breakdown-ville in my book. Hey, I’ll see you there in a while – we can grab a coffee while we’re at it. Or maybe not…

Fuelled up by a conveyer belt of books, we worship at the alter of those gurus whose schedules, advice, meal plans and other regimes you lap up every detail of, leaving you whipped up into a strung-up tizzy, as your better half does for once – look better in comparison to your neurotic self. Until slowly but surely, it all gives way to a lot more shoulder shrugging, as the knocks and challenges of motherhood gently beat us into submission, exhaustion and boredom of trying to be….well, perfect.

Yup, screw the toothbrush, stock up on the ready meals and switch on that Sesame Street for an hour – ah now doesn’t that feel better? First time mums can get so het up over “doing the right thing” or “what’s best” that we can become a bit deranged in our motherly mission. I blame perfect mum angst on today’s information and product overload – you can thank the Internet and all those lovely product marketing people for that! If in doubt, just remember our own mother’s knew diddly-squat and we turned out just fine…didn’t we? They say ignorance is bliss, after all.

Shaking off the shackles of perfect motherhood comes with time, experience and a lot of mind-boggling“why do I bother?” moments, but when you get there, it feels damn good – liberating even – making everything so much more enjoyable, and giving you time to focus on the important things, like enjoying your little one.

Yup, submission is so sweet and corner cutting never felt so good. So move over “perfect” mum – everyone will be much happier, including you!

And now, 10 signs you are on path to enlightenment as an imperfect mum:

  1. You find mouldy bits of snacks glued to the inside of your bag – you have no idea what they are or how long they have been there for
  2. You’re little one wants to bounce around like a bunny while eating dinner – you don’t give a crap so long as they are actually eating for once
  3. While they nap, you’d take a mummy nap hands down over prepping tonight’s dinner
  4. You can’t remember the last time you bothered to have a power struggle over…teeth brushing, sitting down for dinner, wearing socks, hats…or pretty much anything for that matter, and life is happier for it
  5. This is the third night in the row they’ve had a Heinz ready meal..but that’s ok because it’s Mum’s Own Recipe anyway!
  6. CBeebies and more specifically, that God awful programme In the Night Garden, is your new best friend
  7. In your attempt to be organized, you bring out a packed lunch but open it at lunchtime only to discover it’s contents are…solely olives
  8. You appear to have developed a compulsive lying habit – everything is always chicken, has closed or has gone to sleep. It’s amazing what a bit of a white lie does to keep the peace these days
  9. You don’t wait anymore until they’ve gone to bed to have that much deserved glass of wine. Who can wait til 7pm anyway?! That feels like a lifetime away…
  10. You lose your patience on a regular basis, and remind yourself that – hey, it’s ok…because nobody’s perfect

So are you on the road to being an imperfect mum?

The List
The Deliberate Mom

21 comments

  1. I like this article very much Jules! I was the worst ‘have to be perfect’ mum when my son was little and now I am much more relaxed about everything and you’re right it’s like a weight has been lifted. I think my son prefers it too and actually thrives with a bit more independence to work things out for himself. I’ll having making the brews soon. Oh and wine always comes out before 6pm in my house! xx

  2. Oh my gosh I love this! I was so this way; wanting to do everything perfectly for my daughter.
    We learn quickly that it’s not always going to be perfect and relax a bit.

  3. I am so there! It is so true. Our parents and grandparents managed with us didn’t they? We just know too much now and it is all over social media. I find bits of food in my bag and the new fave show Meg and Mog is my best friend. It doesn’t matter. They are happy and so are we! Thanks so much for all the support and linking up with #bestandworst xx

    • I agree we know TOO much – I would like to be a bit stupid for a bit, I’d quite like not knowing everything I know! But agree, so long are happy that’s all that counts. Well done on the first #bestandworst hun! xx

  4. Haha I’ve got numbers 1-3 sorted, waiting for the rest of the signs to appear as baby gets older! I’ve spent far too long stressing over routine without actually getting anywhere, I’m now accepting that babies don’t stick to a schedule and an much happier! #bestandworst

  5. Hehe, I’m certainly on the right path to being an imperfect mum at times! What a great post. Thanks for sharing in the first best and worst linky and hope to see you again next week!

    Helen – #bestandworst

  6. I was never a prefect mother, I couldn’t be bothered! But I have watched pepple tie themselves in knots trying to live up to some impossible ideal … Madness #bestandworst

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