Tips To Let Go Of Perfectionism And Find Balance In Your Parenting Style
Burnout is a state of emotional exhaustion. A mom feels burnout when she has been out of balance for too long. With so much energy draining out of her, she reaches a point where she feels she has nothing left to give, yet her baby still needs her, and she must go on. She becomes unhappy, angry, and tired; she may start to question her ability to take care of her baby and blame herself for not enjoying motherhood. Women who find high value in being great mothers are at the greatest risk for burnout. A number of factors can tip the balance toward burnout, such as having a high-needs baby, being in an unsupportive environment, navigating challenges within the marriage, having a sensitive soul, dealing with outside pressures, and fostering unrealistic expectations for parenting. Thinking you must “do it all” and not prioritizing your own well-being is a sure road to burnout.
Perfectionism also sets new mommies up for failure. This is true even if outside appearances would suggest that “she has it all together,” or others say, “I don’t know how she does it.” In our culture, being constantly busy equals succeeding, but at what cost? For most of us, this is an area that will need frequent attention and recalibration.
Turning perfection-ism into “good-enough-ism”
“I am not _____ enough.” What words or phrases came to mind? Chances are good that whatever it was is not serving you. Getting stuck in negativity and “not enough-ism” can make it extremely difficult to be productive and focused. Here are some examples of ways to live in a spirit of “good enough” and let go of all-or-nothing thinking. Think of these as mom hacks for getting through the day until you have more energy to give.
7 Tips to Stay Optimistic During a Stressful Parenting Day
- Think of any exercise as a victory, even if it’s “just” five minutes.
- Let a clean-enough house be good enough. Let go of the need for a perfectly tidy environment.
- Maybe you only ate one vegetable today. That’s good enough.
- Buy a store-bought meal (like rotisserie chicken).
- No time to shower? At least wash your face and put on some mascara or lip gloss, or one thing that helps you feel pretty.
- Baby won’t sleep? Put her in a carrier and walk/rock. Maybe you can get a nap out of it also!
- Use a simple way to keep track of milestones or memories, like an app or an email address where you send quick messages to yourself. The fancy baby book can wait.
This may all seem like common sense, but most moms will agree that finding balance and letting go of perfectionism is much easier said than done! Give yourself space and grace to find what works for you and your family. This “mom gig” is not easy, and there will undoubtedly be hard days no matter what you do. Love yourself, love and serve your family, breathe, and accept help whenever possible.
Martha Sears, Healthy Motherhood Journal
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”