Sunday, 9 August 2015

The fear of imperfection - It's ok to want to be the perfect mother.

My life was planned, organised. I was always on time. I always knew what I was doing. I suppose you could say I am a bit of a perfectionist. I work hard and always try to do everything the 'right way'. I feared imperfection.

I did everything in the right order in life. I worked hard at school and did well. So I went straight on to university where I studies two degrees with honours. Again, I did well. So unsuprisingly I got a job (not without more work). I worked hard so I thought it was time I studied more. So I did a Masters degree and worked hard. My life was planned, organised. I met my husband. We got married, bought a house and decided to have a baby. I was a perfectionist.

Then, our little koala arrived. All of that went out the window. Motherhood is the natural enemy of perfection and order.

For those that read my blog regularly, you may be aware that my little koala is far from the easy baby (although what is an easy baby really?). She isn't great at sleeping, she's on the clingy side, she likes a lot of attention and she was on the move early.  All that planning and organisation slowly disappeared. My baby clearly didn't want to have a bar of it. It didn't take long for me to feeling that I was failure.At 10 months, it isn't getting much easier. To be honest some times it feels harder than when she was a newborn. I'd like to say I'm slowing embracing the imperfection that is motherhood, but let's be honest. I'm not.

The perfectionist in me expected that there'd be tough times in motherhood those early days but these would even themselves out and it would get easier and we'd end up on a great routine. Advertising for mother and baby products tells me I should always be smiling and glowing as my happy little baby snuggles up in my arms and drifts peacefully off to sleep in their cot. The perfect mother is always put together, clean hair, fresh clothes, looking fit and healthy. Meanwhile, I sit here with my filthy hair I haven't washed in days, wearing my super daggy pajamas and feeling like an oaf because I haven't had time for spin class this week.. or ever. So I can't help but feel like I'm failing in motherhood some way.
That illusive motherhood dream. Image under creative commons.

I have always been a sensitive soul. I'm easily hurt by the nasty ones of the world and take negativity to heart a little too much. So it probably isn't surprising that I've suffered hard under the weight of mummy judging and feel like a failure in the face of those mum's who seem to have it all together. The fear of failure, the anxiety that maybe I'm just not cut out for motherhood has gripped me at times. And I'm not going to lie, I turn to others to try to validate that what I'm feeling doesn't make me a bad mother.

I know a lot of mum bloggers are the strong and independent type. The 'I don't take crap from anyone' or 'I don't care what others think' type mothers. They are the type of mothers I admire and would love to be like. That isn't me though and I'm not going to pretend that it is. I'll tell it how it how, but how it is for me and mum's like me. I don't have my shit together. I feel out of my depth most days. I'm not styled by Lorna Jane or even are lucky enough to own any Lorna Jane. I don't go running in my bikini (check out The Thud's wrap up on that in case you missed it!), heck I don't even go running anymore.

I will admit it. I have a severe fear of imperfection. Unfortunately for me, motherhood is a great big series of imperfections.

But it's ok that I feel this way.

It's ok that I want to be the best mother.

It's ok that I worry I'm not perfect.

And its ok that you are afraid of imperfection too.

This isn't a post with a happy ending, you know what I mean... something like 'I've realised I don't care what everyone thinks about me' or 'I decided to let negatively slide off me'. I'm not going to talk about how to overcome the fear of imperfection, because quite frankly I dont know and I'm still afraid. I can't tell you I'm going to stop trying so hard. It's in my nature to work hard, to take care of everyone else and to worry about whether I'm doing the right thing. I like to please. Yes. We are often told we we shouldn't care what others think and we should be ourselves and so on. But what if its inherent in our nature to care about what other's think? Isn't this ok? I'm going to say its ok to want to be perfect. Yes, I shouldn't let it consume me, but I think sometimes it makes me improve myself. To be a better person and a better mother.

What I am going to say, is that I've realised it's ok to want to be the perfect mother, but to be honest you are the perfect mother for your child.

You are the exact mother your child wants and needs. They don't care that you don't own fancy clothes. They you aren't always running like clockwork.

They love you. Perfectionist and all.

xo

Linking with:
My home truths
Essentially Jess
With Some Grace
Honest Mum
Ultimate Rabbit Hole

17 comments:

  1. I think in your sentence "mum's who seem to have it all together" the key word is SEEM. No one does all the time, especially with little ones. I can definitely agree with striving to be the perfect mother, but ultimately, like you said at the end, I think imperfections are part of what makes a person who they are and also makes them the perfect mother for their children. Loved the post–thanks for sharing.

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    1. thanks for reading :) I think if I stopped striving to be better then there is something wrong but the imperfections are what makes us human and makes us the great mothers we are!

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  2. I prescribe to good enough parenting this allows me the continuum to be perfect one day and shithouse the next! But ask my kids any day of the week and they will tell you all about how much they love me and all that I do for them. Love those little rugrats! Mel xx #IMustConfess

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    1. Haha I have my shit days too but our love makes up for it :) thanks for reading

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  3. I don' think there are mum's who have it all together all the time. I just think that some are better at faking it than others. Plus what is perfect for one family isn't for another. Some swear by co-sleeping, others wouldn't dream of it etc. I'm sorry you're struggling with this and hope that you are getting some help and have some one to talk to about it. .

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  4. None of us are perfect. I'm certainly not but I'm doing my damnedest to be the best mother I can be for my kids and that's all that matters. Your Koala loves you whether you are the perfect mother or not. Keep giving her all your love and hugs and devotion - it doesn't matter that you are imperfect x

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    1. I think its the imperfections our kids love really, it means they can laugh at us and have stories to tell :)

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  5. No one is perfect and that's a good thing- or we'd stop trying!

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    1. absolutely! Trying makes us better people and better mothers :)

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  6. "Motherhood is the natural enemy of perfection and order" ain't that the truth. But so worth it!

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    1. definitely worth it! I love being a mum, mess and all!

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  7. Your post is awesome, raw and honest. There's not a single parent who truly has it all together in the way they portray, it's a well worked image but behind closed doors, around that hidden corner they too wear daggy PJ's, have unwashed hair days and worse still have the pressure of not being able to relax in the midst of it because of the image they've built, sometimes unintentionally. You're so right, it's totally okay to want to be the perfect parent, that's what keeps you working at learning, improving and stepping up for your child but want to be for your sake and your child's sake, not for the sake of what outsiders may think. :-)

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    1. Thanks Jules! I think you're right, a lot of people do put on a facade to everyone else that doesn't reflect what's going on behind it. I hope I'm trying to improve for my baby and myself not for everyone else :)

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  8. This was a great post. I think everyone has an opinion on motherhood, even if they aren't a mother themselves. I don't think we can ever have it all as a mother - but as long as we are doing the best that we can, then our children are lucky.

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    1. thanks Shari :) Yep, as long as we are trying, that's what counts, and our children will love us no matter what.

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  9. I think you just have to be the best mum that you can be. I don't think anyone's perfect, and even if they were, where's the fun in that?1

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  10. This is really interesting, I was talking about this with a friend yesterday. I was so anxious/neurotic in the early days, and I'm sure I seemed bat shit crazy to a few of my child-free friends, but I don't regret it. In fact, I think feeling that worry actually helped me to be a better mother. It made me question decisions, research everything and think carefully about all the little details. I wouldn't have it any other way, exhausting as it was lying awake worrying at night! x

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