If you’ve ever felt you fell short of your own expectations as a mother, you are not alone. My journey from being a perfectionist parent to finding my true self, and allowing myself to be imperfect, is one I would like to share with first-time mothers.
Excitement about my first pregnancy was the beginning of a big change, which started with setting high standards around motherhood. Nine years later, I admit it was the worst decision I’ve ever made.
It may be clear to experienced mothers, but was certainly not clear for me, that the perfect routine, the clean house and the super-healthy menu were not the most important aspects of parenting.
The lesson I’ve learned is that the most important gift I can give as a mother is living life that reflects my true self, my interests and my circumstances. It is about taking care of myself in the first place, to be able to nurture my resource as a person and share it with my children in the most positive way.
This realization came after I caught myself doing all the right things as per the recommendations of the child and maternal health nurse, picking up all the advice from mom blogs, listening to friends’ best practice tips… Fresh and varied diet, regular walks outside and developmental activities for kids were my obsession and a priority over having a cup of tea while my child had a nap.
Deep inside, I felt that this “right doing” was never enough, as there were always new recommendations, fresh ideas and the latest expert advice to follow. The fear of my child missing out on important developmental milestones was so strong that for a very long time, I ignored my inner callings to just be myself.
Divorce came as a wake-up call, which brought a lot of reflection and change into my life. Today, I know that it was my perfectionism, and my need to be loved, which made me act the way I did. By accepting my mistakes and forgiving myself, I embarked on a new journey where the focus is on finding my purpose in life, realizing my dreams and setting the right example for my children.
I decided to be true to myself and follow my heart. I quit a well-paid corporate job to start a project I am passionate about, which allows me to combine my teaching degree and long-standing marketing experience. It is such as pleasure to be able to nurture children’s curiosity about entrepreneurship, marketing and critical thinking, and to help them become financially resourceful and confident enough to find innovative ideas that will benefit the future world.
While the new income is yet to match my corporate salary, I know I’ve made the right decision, because the level of energy, and the pleasure of doing what feels right and true for me are unbelievable.
And my children feel that, too! We’ve noticed that the house is full of smiles, laughs, great talks and fun ideas we all enjoy.
It became a much happier place since I re-worked my mindset into becoming the best person I can be, rather than “a perfect parent”. And my mothering role naturally turned into a guiding role, which kids just love!
I now know that anyone can start all over again. Yes, I made mistakes. Many of them. But I am proud of being an example my kids want to follow. Being a role model is the best way to parent my children. Much better than following checklists.
And yes, they love healthy food, because they love cooking and experimenting with flavors, not because of the long menus I used to make when they were little.
If you feel motherhood overwhelming you, my advice is to pause and fine-tune your own personality by living the life that is true for you. At the end of the day, it is the happiness inside your heart and in the heart of your child that is the most accurate indicator of being a good mother.