Motherhood and letting go of perfection

motherhood and perfection

Before I was a mother my house was more organised. This is even though we moved house ten times with my husband’s job. In a few months of moving to a new location, order would have been restored. The paperwork was never completely up to date, but apart from that things were run smoothly and with finer attention to detail. I remember once listening to a Radio 2 comedy programme while polishing copper pans in the kitchen, having complained that the white kitchen floor always needed work,  even though it was mopped daily.

To be honest my copper pans have not been polished for some time. The surfaces in the house as never quite as clear as they were. As I write this there’s a bunch of tulips beside me on the kitchen table, which were a coming home present from my daughter after my return from Scotland, a card crown to be worn at school on Friday for the Queen’s birthday celebrations, a few pieces of paperwork and the book ‘Change Your Brain Change Your Life’ by Daniel Amen, as I never know when I might get a minute to read a little!

There’s a handwritten note from my daughter welcoming me back from Scotland, with a multitude of hearts and kisses.

I am past the early days of motherhood with the hugely limited sleep, but things have never returned to the order there once was. Instead we live in a family environment with the marks of the love in the house and the memories made there.

Motherhood caused me to alter my ideals and to do what might be considered as lowering my standards of order.

Here are twenty things I’ve learnt about letting go of perfection as a mother.

  1. Some days your child will be grumpy. This is mostly not about you.
  2. Some days your child will be sick. This is mostly not your fault.
  3. Some days your home will not be the way you wish it were, and this is o.k.
  4. Some days you will find saying no difficult, and yet you know you still need to say no.
  5. Some days you will find saying yes difficult, and yet you know you still need to say yes.
  6. Some days you will get it wrong and it’s o.k. to admit that and be human.
  7. Some days there isn’t a right answer.
  8. Some days you won’t be there for them just when they need you.
  9. Some days they need to make mistakes to learn from them.
  10. Some days you need to make mistakes to learn from them.
  11. Often broken things can be fixed more easily than broken trust.
  12. Don’t cry over spilt milk.
  13. Sometimes you will need to change the boundaries.
  14. Your child can teach you how to be more happy with imperfection.
  15. Your child doesn’t need a perfect mother, they need you as you are.
  16. Some days you will be the mother with the child who is having a tantrum. It’s possible to let go to fear of being judged for this.
  17. Creativity is not always a tidy pursuit.
  18. Mothering consciously involves being really aware of where you become overly attached to your child’s outcomes.
  19. The awards and accolades your child receives are better separated from your own sense of worth.
  20. Loving presence is more important than perfection.

I’d love to hear from you. How have your attitudes to perfectionism changed since becoming a mother?

Also if you are interested in working with me as your coach and tackling the ways that your perfectionism impacts your life in the day to day, email me at for a free 30 minute call to see if we are a good match for coaching.