Parents, perfection is killing us

I came across an article on dailymail.co.uk a while back about mums who worry about being the perfect parent and that reminded me a lot of myself. It refers to a study of 113 women, conducted by the University of Michigan and leads to the conclusion that mums preoccupied with being the perfect parent, are more likely to suffer from depression.

Most parents, including me tend to over scrutinise their every decision, step, action when it comes to running the home and raising kids. What I’ve come to learn is this doesn’t have to be the case. We are only human, so learn to let go of some of the things that drive you round the bend that are definitely unnecessary.

Let me elaborate:

THE OLD ME

The old me was very particular and set in my ways, I could not comprehend the thought of letting anyone into my home without it being immaculate. I wanted to prepare meals for my babies with the freshest ingredients that at times I couldn’t even afford. I’d feel stressed if I didn’t pass the vacuum through the house for a day or I felt I was too tired to cook from scratch the odd day and got a frozen meal such as fish and chips, I’d feel inadequate as a mother. There are endless other things which I could use as examples but you get the jist of it.

I started noticing a pattern with all my ways, this was may be over a year ago. All the things that drove me mad like the ones above, the things that made me feel I wasn’t good enough, these were the things that kept me from being truly happy, that took time away from family. The root cause of this was needing social acceptance and wanting the absolute best for our children among other things.

THE NEW ME, THE HAPPIER ME

I must say, the trigger to my thought changing process was my better half, Karl. He challenges my thoughts in a way that no one else has. He was the one that made me look at myself without make-up and see beauty, I never thought I would see the day after not being able to leave my flat to check the mail box without make-up on. I don’t mean to say it’s wrong to wear it everyday, it’s whatever makes you happy, I mean I feel better publishing a picture or video with make-up on rather than without. That’s one example of how I stopped really caring about what others think of me.

Make-up alone meant getting up earlier so missing precious sleep time that all parents need to refuel. I stopped thinking I need to have my home super clean in case of an unexpected visitor. I mean for goodness sake, this a home with children, and there is always something happening, if I’m not cooking a meal, it’s the laundry, or vacuuming or moping or the ironing or the dusting.

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Peter Dutton on Flickr

There are always going to be toys around so why are we always trying to get rid of the evidence of the house being lived in?  There are certain things that need attention everyday but I found a way that works for me that’s a lot less stressful and one that doesn’t mean my place looks like a dump site either. One of the things I do is get the kids to help with the hoovering and tidying up whenever I can. I’ve come up with other ways to make meal preparation easier and it’s part of my usual week to have one or 2 pre-prepared meals. These changes among many others in the way I run my home has made life much less stressful and we as a family are happier for it. We all get to spend more time together to do other things and enjoy each-others’ company.

SO GO AHEAD AND BE HAPPY, DON’T EVER LET PEOPLE JUDGE YOU

That’s right, we live in a very judgmental society and it is very bad for our health. NHS UK also recognises that one of the causes of clinical depression is being overly self critical. In the past year or so, I’ve definitely stopped being this overly self critical person in a lot of aspects of my life, it’s happening slowly but I’m getting there and anyone who feels like the old me should try it, it feels so good.

Please let me know your experiences as I am well aware this subject is a massive part of a lot of peoples’ lives.

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