Myth of the Perfect Mother

Is there really such thing as a "perfect mom"?

Klimet Mother and Child Painting, 1905

Many mothers strive to become the perfect parent, but in truth, there is no such thing as a perfect mother, or a perfect child.

Every mother wants to raise happy, well-adjusted problem-free children. But kids will not always be happy, and problems are a natural part of life. This is a normal part of growing up, and not a reflection of your parenting effectiveness.

Expect Mistakes During Motherhood

All mothers feel worried, confused, angry, guilty, overwhelmed and inadequate because of their child’s behavior. Those feelings are a normal part of parenthood.

How did your mother deal with your behavior when you misbehaved as a child, and how did you feel about her disciplinary choices? Your mother was not perfect, and you cannot overcompensate for her shortcomings by trying to be perfect yourself. Avoid making judgmental statements like “I’m not going to make the same mistakes my mother made.” You will inevitably make your own, and that’s ok.

Acknowledging imperfection is actually a vital learning opportunity for both mother and child.

All mothers and children will make mistakes as they learn to communicate and interact with one another. Rather than being afraid of mistakes, these are opportunities to teach children how to deal with the set-backs in life. Mothers must trust their instincts. They tend to have good intuition and the best knowledge of their own children.

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Be Flexible

Mothers who expect perfection are setting themselves up for possible disappointment, frustration and resentment. They are also being unfair to their family. Mothers should not expect to receive their entire personal fulfillment from their children or from the parenting role.

As a mother, you need to develop your own parenting philosophy. Take into account your own expectations, parenting style, and temperament, and how they fit with each of your children and your partner. Adapt your philosophy to the needs of your individual children, tailoring your approach to their own particular uniqueness.

Rather than focusing on a rigid vision of what is right or ‘perfect’, be flexible and open to understanding the particular needs for both yourself and your child. Abolish the myth of the perfect mom, and you’ll open yourself up a more rewarding and enjoyable connection with your child.
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