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The Effects of Trying to Be a ‘perfect’ Mum on Mental Health in an Imperfect World

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There is nothing wrong with trying your best so that your child gets to be the best version of themselves. But when you are obsessive about your kid and want to be a ‘perfect mom’ at every turn, this becomes problematic. The world is an imperfect place and full of nooks and crannies.

The journey of motherhood is also filled with imperfect bumps and slips. Your role as a mom is also bound to be on rocky terrain. But the bumps increase tenfold if you are trying to be a ‘perfect mom’ who does not commit a mistake, is always right, and juggles her difficulties with the ease of a pro.

While they sound great in theory, in practice, that puts a lead-like burden on your shoulder, and your mental health is jeopardized from this practice.

In this article, we shall discuss how the moms aspiring perfection at all costs may be vulnerable to poor mental health.

You face an identity crisis.

Motherhood is a journey. You cannot define it in a single moment. When you look into the mirror and see only a mom and no one else, it becomes your sole identity. Your identities as a woman, a human being, a competent professional, a friend, a wife if you are married, a girlfriend if you are in a relationship get obscured, and you face an identity crisis. When motherhood shrouds your other identities, it also causes you to overlook your other roles and responsibilities.

Your personal life becomes non-existent.

Mother-Daughter Books

You are allowed to take breaks, step out of your motherhood robe and enjoy your life. But if your mind constantly nags on the grade your kid received last week or their aversion to studying, even when you are sipping a latte with a friend, or you are on a date in a romantic place. The mental voice nattering on about your kid never seems to stop, and as a result, you stop making plans, socializing with friends, going on romantic dates. In short, your thoughts made you cancel the plans that do not involve your kid. Eventually, you lose sight of your personal life and private time.  

Also Read: 10 Self-care tips for Working Mothers

You set up high, often unrealistic standards. 

Every mom wants her kids to excel in study, sports, quizzes, debate, and every competition under the sky. It is not a bad thing if you want your kid to be a better version of themselves. But if you want them to excel in every subject in school and every sport they play, you are setting up unrealistic standards for them. They can’t meet those. If you obsess on every single mistake they commit, every time they fail to meet your standards, you feel disappointed and annoyed at your child and blame them as well as yourself for the setbacks.

You drown in toxic emotions.

Mother

Your unrealistic expectations go unmet in most instances. Your child becomes irritated at you and turns recalcitrant. That puts an added burden on your shoulder and an extra emotion to deal with. Being a perfectionist comes with its own set of frustration, disappointment, anger, irritation, anxiety, and annoyance. When you are a perfectionist mom, those emotions double up since you feel that both you and your child are failing in your journey. Most of the time, your toxic thoughts get the better of you and leach your productivity and mental well-being. You feel tired, overwhelmed, and frustrated.

Also Read: 15 Top Career Options for Staying at Home Mothers

You feel like you are never enough. 

Your pedestal of perfection is so high that achieving it becomes impossible. Even if you know it is logically impossible to reach your aspiration; you feel guilt and anger at yourself for not being enough for your kid. Your frustration at yourself also leaks into your mind and activities. You compare yourself to those picture-perfect moms from social media, youtube, films, web series, magazines and feel lacking in comparison. It hampers your self-esteem and confidence.  

You lose energy and productivity.

When your head feels buzzing with negative talk, anxiety, and disappointment regarding your role as a mother, your body also suffers from burnout. You feel fatigued and down. Your energy level rushes down, and your normal productivity takes a timeout. The daily chores also feel burdensome, and you lose interest in performing at your optimal level. The stress and tension siphon your energy and cheerfulness entirely.

You might face clinical issues.

When your perfectionism as a mom becomes an obsession, it might be an issue of grave concern. It may result in social anxiety, mild or moderate cases of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and so on. The early signs and symptoms might be hard to recognize, and you might think your stress as a mom is overpowering you. But if it becomes permanent, it may result in clinical mental health issues.

So do not try to be a ‘perfect mom,’ rather try to be a ‘great mom’ who is not afraid to hit the bumps on her motherhood journey and own her mistakes. You are a human being, not a machine.

Set your expectations like one. No one is going to pat your back and dole out compliments for how far you have come as a mom, so be your cheerleader and do what seems ‘good’ for your child.  

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Babli
Evia is pursuing her PhD and is trying to connect with people through her writing.
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