Are you the type of mother who has taken every type of personality test, from Myers-Briggs (old-school) to the Enneagram, in an effort to understand aspects of yourself? Put reason behind the need to have your work, looks, environment, and even Motherhood, look a certain way in order to feel good about your daily effort?
A recent poll via our show’s Instagram page revealed that 100% of voters struggle with perfectionism. And the belief that they deserve rest.
Perfectionism, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection (free from flaw or defect).” GoodTherapy.org defines it as “the need to be or appear perfect.” Living in a society that puts pressure on people to constantly be on display via social media feeds only heightens fears of inadequacy leading them to set goals or desires that are not realistic. While I am not an advocate for living a life without moral standards or values, it’s important we as mothers learn to establish realistic beliefs. That we stop grinding at our gifts to the point where we’re worn out, void of good health, and completely miserable- especially because life is happening (global pandemic?) or results don’t look like the next person’s social media feed.
As mother’s navigating the millennial gen experience, the need to feel like we’ve “got it all together-” whether it’s rushing to “snapback” to our pre-pregnancy bodies or constantly picking at the good things we’ve cultivated, getting stuck in the loop of perfectionism can keep us from experiencing personal growth and development.
Trying to live under the weight of fear and the unrealistic expectations perfectionism drives, especially amidst a global pandemic, will only serve to strain your coping self.
As a 6th house Capricorn, I know firsthand the inner pull to constantly work, sometimes to the point of heavy self-neglect, and in December of 2019, a major toothache set the stage for reevaluation. During 2020, I accepted the spiritual task of practicing rest- of accepting play and leisure as rewards for balance.
If you are struggling to integrate satisfaction for your efforts and make more progress, here are five ways you can keep perfectionism from stealing your peace.
- Operate within your given boundaries: Evaluate your daily structure and environment. Accept that what you see on someone else’s social media feed might be drastically different from what you have to work with, and remember, that’s okay! Don’t have the latest camera or a certain number of hours to give to social media? Treasure what you do have and make it work.
- Celebrate the small, tactile wins: What is it that you’ve already done? How did the experience of creating make you feel? What obstacles did you overcome? What aspects of your motherhood have you mastered that were tripping you up before? Acknowledge the above by first practicing gratitude- especially during moments when you’re railing against energies of doubt and self-sabotage. Then celebrate with some extra sleep, 30-60 mins a week of your favorite Netflix binge or a new book.
- Don’t base productivity on applause : I know we live in virtual worlds where feedback via likes and engagement can translate into real-life judgment on whether or not you’re productive enough. However, try your best to remember whether those outward applauds come in or not, your growth and ability to try new things is what matters at the end of the day. And, that you don’t burnout trying to go “ham.”
- Remember your Motherhood: Where you are on your post partum journey matters and you have to give yourself grace. Are you recovering from trauma? Are you working through a challenging stage of parenting? Are the dynamics of your family life changing, period? Everything you do beyond taking care of your family is a bonus. Whether it’s working full-time or creating side hustles or a combination of both to chase those God-given dreams, everything outside of grounding your family is a bonus. Don’t let anyone or any systemic structures rob you of the beauty behind that purpose.
- Update your to-do lists/vision boards: When we create plans, the vision can seem impeccably clear until we begin to hammer out the details; until we begin to get to work. Needing to change aspects of the vision doesn’t mean you’re a loser/failure/uncommitted. It means you are realizing that as hard as you’re trying, something isn’t working for your highest and greatest good. Instead of pushing in the name of being “strong,” take a step back and re-evaluate the plan, and the steps you’re taking. You are entitled to lighten your personal load. To pivot. To release and discard. Don’t wait until you suffer massive physical symptoms as permission to recalibrate. Trust me, toothaches are no fun!