Becoming a mother is an extremely rewarding experience, but it can sometimes be exhausting. Parenting comes with good times and bad times, with various trials and tribulations. And all of this is further exacerbated by the pressure mothers are under to be the perfect mother who never fails!
Not only is this pressure unreasonable, but it is also detrimental to your health and the happiness of your children. In fact, children do not need a perfect mother, they need a positive mother. Here’s why:
1. Why mothers feel the pressure to be perfect
The myth of the perfect mother is oppressive and pervasive in our society. This myth puts a lot of pressure on mothers, who are often ashamed to make mistakes. Why is this happening? The concept of the perfect mother has its roots in the following complex and nuanced topics:
Parental responsibility is not exercised in the same way
Mothers are expected to bear the bulk of all parental responsibility, even in families where both parents work full time. Studies reveal that fathers often think they are doing an equal job at home, even when they are not, and this extends to parenthood.
Mothers, of course, face more pressure and have to do more than fathers before they are even seen as doing their part. It also means that their mistakes and missteps are more likely to be considered a major problem, even when fathers make similar mistakes that are ignored.
Children are always seen as a reflection of their parents
In fact, children are often a reflection of the education they receive. But at the same time they are children! They experience limitations, make mistakes and sometimes make bad decisions due to their limited ability to think critically. That’s what kids do, and it’s normal! A good parent is there to correct and guide their children when they make these mistakes, not to prevent any potential offense.
black and white thinking
We have a very binary way of looking at many things and people. This black and white mindset is a harmful mindset that dictates that you are either a good mother or a bad mother, and any imperfection places you in the category of “bad mother”. This is of course completely wrong, most parents do their best and get along well with their children despite the mistakes they can make!
2. Why it is bad for parents to strive to be a perfect mother
The pursuit of perfection is almost universally wrong in many contexts. Many people see perfectionism as a positive trait, but it is not. The concept of perfection in itself is totally unrealistic as there is nothing that is truly 100% perfect. Humans are inherently imperfect, and even the most caring mothers will make mistakes.
Even worse, many people base their perfection goals on the perfection they perceive from others. You see someone doing a visibly perfect job and you want to do the same. But you can not see what these people are going through on a daily basis, how they overcame their mistakes by using their strengths and all the obstacles they have to overcome before reaching their goals.
You know all your insecurities and are aware of every single mistake you think you have taken in your daily activities. You know every moment of weakness and exhaustion and become your own worst critic.
But why is it so bad to strive to be a perfect mother? This is due to the fact that:
You focus more on other people than on your child
Perfectionism often leads to comparison. This may not be the case for you, but it is common among most people who strive for perfection. If this is the case for you, you are much more attentive to the thoughts and comments of others than to your child.
The opinions of others can prevent you from focusing on your child’s unique needs. Your child may have different needs or function differently than other children. After all, every child is special.
Striving to be a perfect mother prevents learning from mistakes
When you strive to be a perfect mother, you perceive new knowledge from mistakes and lessons as proof of your failure. This can make it difficult to accept these lessons, and you may resist them or become defensive instead of taking them as an opportunity to improve yourself.
Trying to be a perfect mother destroys your self-confidence
The pursuit of becoming the perfect mother is doomed to fail, and so every time you “fail” in these attempts, you lose confidence in yourself. The less confident you feel as a mother, the more difficult parenting can become, and the more your mental health deteriorates.
When you try to be a perfect mother, you spend time and effort on an impossible task. It can leave you completely exhausted and very stressed. This fatigue and stress can make you give up specific parenting tasks in favor of the easier solution, even if it is ultimately not the right choice for your children.
The pursuit of being a perfect mother causes anger
Have you ever seen parents who were upset with their children? They say things like “I fed and dressed you!” or “I have, after all, done to give you the best childhood” when they are angry at their children. These statements are harsh and unfair, and they can significantly damage your relationship with your child if left unchecked.
The tasks you have performed as part of your parenting role are your responsibility, but once you have overworked yourself in your quest for perfection, these tasks can cause anger and certain unintentional behaviors can harm children’s development. It has also been shown in studies that perfectionism makes parenting much less comfortable for parents.
Your child will emulate you
Children learn by example. If they see you blaming yourself for being an “imperfect” mother, they will copy the same behavior. They will see their mistakes as shameful things to correct and will not forgive themselves for making mistakes, hurting their self-esteem.
3. Why children need a positive mother
Thus, children do not need a perfect mother, and it is actually bad for them to want to achieve perfection. They actually need a positive mother who accepts them, who is kind to herself and others, and who is firm but reasonable. Positive parenting has the following benefits:
It creates an environment of acceptance
A positive mother does not blame herself for her mistakes and mistakes. She accepts her weaknesses and strives to improve while being kind to herself. She teaches her children that it’s okay to be wrong and that they do not have to do everything perfectly to be lovable. In other words, she teaches them that what matters is growth and kindness, not perfection.
It gives them space to be independent and grow
Positive mothers do not feel the need to control every situation excessively. They are confident that their children are making mistakes and growing up because of them. They do not feel the need to constantly hold their hand and teach them the abilities to be independent, depending on their age.
Children raised in this way will be better able to make their own decisions and control their lives as they grow. Research shows that they will be more resilient with positive parenting.
A positive mother creates a growth mindset
A mother with a positive mindset will look after her children without judging and focus on helping her children grow. When a child makes a mistake or is upset, a positive mother allows him to process that feeling and self-regulate because she is not trying to impose perfection on him. She turns mistakes into learning moments. And when she makes mistakes, she apologizes and is a model for growth and learning for her children.
She makes sure that her children’s needs are met
A positive mother does not focus on what others think of her and her children. She only focuses on the needs of her children, even if they are different from the needs of others.
A positive mother creates memories and bonds
A positive mother does not try to control everything to achieve perfection. She takes full advantage of the moment, which increases the quality time she spends with her children, and she appreciates the memories they create together.