My Desire to be the Perfect Mom

I have strived for perfection my entire life. 

In elementary school, there was a rule that an erasure on any word during written spelling tests would result in that word being marked "incorrect." So, I memorized my words and I tried my best to not make any mistakes.

In junior high school, I was in between two accelerated math programs, one slightly more ahead, and I pushed myself to be in the more accelerated program. (By freshman year in high school, I was taking senior year math.)

In high school, I took many AP classes, and cried one day after school while looking at my junior AP English class homework--it seemed never-ending and I was stressed.

In college, I cried when I thought I might not make the Dean's List one semester and I cried when I thought I might not get accepted into law school (an advisor even told me I should wait to apply because I probably wouldn't get into any good schools). Lo and behold, I made the Dean's List every semester in college and I got into a good law school.

That being said, there have been two times when I have felt as though I have fallen very short of perfection. The first was law school. I even had a brief thought about dropping out after my first semester. Instead, I decided to try harder and do better, which I did. Ultimately, the very act of getting accepted into and graduating from a good law school helped ease my feelings of inferiority.

Recently, my desire for perfection has come up again... in motherhood. Isolated experiences and incidents truly knock me off balance, and suddenly, those nagging thoughts and feelings of inferiority sneak in. 

Why did I yell? Why aren't I a better mom?

How can I be a better mom?

She makes motherhood seem so easy... I wish I could be like her. 

Is it really that hard, or am I making it hard? 

How can my husband sleep after that event when I can't get my mind off of it?

Am I the mom my kids deserve?

I know, I know. Perfection is unattainable. Time and time again, I acknowledge that I am imperfect. I think I hope to make myself feel better by making those admissions--to myself and to others. But the truth is that it doesn't really. While my mom guilt has been at all-time low, I sometimes still get pangs of heavy guilt and wonder if I'm messing up my kids. It sounds and seems so irrational (even to me) but the feelings and thoughts are very real.

When trying to figure out why I am so hard on myself as a mom, I think back to younger me being hard of myself at nearly every juncture in my life. Here I am, a mom, the most important juncture of my life. What better time than now to uphold myself to a standard of perfection? Who more deserving than my kids to drive me to uphold myself to a standard of perfection?

Simply put, my kids are my world and I think they deserve a perfect mom. 

At times, the fact that I am incapable of being that perfect mom to them feels like a big, fat FAIL. So, when I am feeling that way, I intentionally divert my attention away from my (perfectly normal) shortcomings and redirect it instead to the real facts:

Perfection is unattainable. 

Dealing with imperfection, mistakes, and flaws builds character.

I am imperfect but I try my best.

I love my kids with everything I have. 

I am a good great mom. 

*I am a great mom.*

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