What is your pursuit of perfection costing you?

Moms pursuit of perfection

Ask any of my kids, one of my pet peeves is when people blame referees for the loss of a game.  I always tell them that your team should be up by enough points that one call by a referee doesn’t determine the outcome.  So, imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when we were sitting at our son’s lacrosse game and I realized that I was the one yelling from the stands at what I thought was a poorly refereed game.  I was so frustrated that I couldn’t influence the calls that I became my own pet peeve.  After a bit of reflection at my behavior I began to realize that my desire to win the game prevented me from taking the opportunity to help my son (and myself) learn how to lose gracefully.

Since then, I have thought a lot about how perfectionism can feel productive but it actually hinders our relationships and our ability to love in our own perfectly imperfect way.  So let's dive into why letting go of perfectionism can lead to more meaningful connections with our children.

The Illusion of Control: When we fall into the trap of perfectionism, we often try to control and manipulate everything around us, including our kids (or the referee). We want them to fit into our ideal image of the perfect child, behaving in a certain way and achieving specific milestones. But here's the truth: our children are unique individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, and desires.

Love Beyond Expectations: Now, don't get me wrong—I'm not saying we shouldn't have goals, hopes, and expectations for ourselves and our children. It's essential to have a vision for our family and instill values that matter to us. However, when we become fixated on perfection, we may unintentionally create an environment that discourages vulnerability and stifles our children's growth.

Embracing Imperfect Moments: Life is messy, and parenting is no exception. It's in those imperfect moments, the ones where things don't go according to plan, that we have an incredible opportunity to connect with our children on a deeper level. How we respond during those challenging times—when our kids are in a bind—can shape their willingness to seek help or retreat into shame and guilt.

Shifting Perspectives: Instead of aiming for perfect outcomes, let's focus on the process—the journey we take with our children. Embrace their imperfections and teach them how to navigate through difficulties with grace and resilience. By doing so, we create an environment where they feel safe to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow into confident individuals.

The Power of Connection: When we let go of perfectionism, we can open ourselves up to more authentic and loving connections with our kids. They will feel accepted and valued for who they are, not just for their achievements. Our love becomes unconditional, allowing them to explore their passions, take risks, and develop their unique identities.

Practical Strategies: Here are a few strategies to help you embrace imperfection and love your kids more perfectly:

  1. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and let go of the pressure to be a flawless mom. Remember, you're doing the best you can with the resources and knowledge you have.
  2. Cultivate open communication: Create a safe space for your children to express themselves without fear of judgment. Listen attentively and validate their feelings, even when they differ from your own.
  3. Encourage growth mindset: Teach your kids the value of effort, perseverance, and learning from mistakes. Help them understand that failure is an essential part of growth and that it doesn't define their worth.
  4. Lead by example: Show your children that it's okay to make mistakes by acknowledging and learning from your own. Demonstrate resilience and adaptability, and they'll learn to do the same.

Dear moms, let's release the grip of perfectionism and embrace the imperfect beauty of parenting. By shifting our perspective, nurturing our children through their struggles, and fostering authentic connections, we can love them more perfectly. Remember, it's not about achieving perfection; it's about being present, loving unconditionally, and guiding them on their unique experience.

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