I used to think that a “good” mom focused on her children’s needs first, was always happy, cooked every night, always looked good, and never made mistakes. Being the perfectionist that I was, I wanted to put a check mark on each of the things that according to me made a “good mom.” I don’t really know where I got these ideas; all I know is that I felt being a mom was exhausting. My heart was in the right place, I was happy to share life with my two beautiful children, but my perception was definitely based on something unattainable.
Perception is how we see and react to our environment. It’s not a simple gathering of information through our senses; it includes our past, our beliefs, and our experiences. Perception can be based on reality or it can come from an idea that we have created in our minds. It’s real for us and it affects our daily actions.
Illusion is a false perception. In my case I had the illusion of the perfect mom and I had set up all these expectations that couldn’t be met and made me feel like a failure. I wonder why we do that to ourselves. Why do we define unattainable goals to “motivate” us when at the end they only make us feel insufficient? Why do we hurt ourselves this way? We are affecting not only us, but the people around us that we love.
Take a moment to carefully look at yourself, at your life. What do you see? Be honest. Do you see good things? Are you being positive about yourself? Or do negative comments keep coming up? Many times we don’t stop to analyze why we think the way we think. What is defining your perception of life? Could it also be the illusion of the perfect mom?
Your perception is not going to change overnight, but paying closer attention to what is shaping your thoughts and decisions is a great place to start. Many of those beliefs may have been with you since childhood and you may have heard them over and over through the years, so it will be a process. Be persistent and enjoy the journey, take the time to search within and define your values, your priorities, and what matters to you and your family.
As for me and my illusion of the perfect mom… A lot of things had to happen to shake me hard enough to realize what I was doing to myself. It may not have been pretty, but it was so worth it and now I know that a great mom doesn’t have to follow a certain set of rules. When my perception changed I found freedom to be the best mom I could be, imperfections and all.
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