Breaking the Myth of the Perfect Mom

Breaking the Myth of the Perfect Mom

When it comes to motherhood, there is no such thing as perfection.


If you think there’s a mother out there who manages to work out every day and get a gourmet meal on the table every night in spite of her full-time job — and do it all with perfect hair and perfectly behaved children — you’re dreaming. And probably making yourself feel pretty inadequate, too.

The fact is that motherhood is no small task for anyone. Every mom’s got flaws — and that's a good thing. Accepting our flaws and even embracing them is what allows us to be empathetic with our children and everyone else in the world. So let’s start debunking the myth of the perfect mom right now by letting go of the following ideas:

Myth #1: Your Kids Always Come First
If your little ones are in danger or have health issues, of course that’s your first priority. But if the choice is missing a make-or-break meeting at work or canceling an impossible-to-schedule doctor’s appointment, it’s OK to put yourself first. The world won’t end if your mate or a friend fills in for you at this week’s little league game. Your kids will survive and learn that other people’s needs — in this case, yours — are just as important as theirs.

Myth #2: Never Let Them See You Sweat
Motherhood is no walk in the park, which means there will undoubtedly be tough days. In fact, there may be days when you’ll feel weepy or crabby — or both. Don’t think you must hide your emotions. It’s important for kids to see that you get upset just like they do. And don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself in front of your brood, too. If you burn the potatoes, finding humor in the situation may lighten a stressful moment for everyone.

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Myth #3: Your Children Are an Extension of You
When your kids act less than perfectly, don’t feel their behavior is a reflection of you. Making mistakes and testing limits is how children learn. A failed math quiz, messy room or meltdown at the diner doesn’t mean your little ones are bad kids — or that you’re a bad mom. Embrace your children's imperfections and celebrate what they do well, just as you hope they will do for you. Our suggestion for a family mantra: perfection is boring.

Myth #4: Your Kids Must Always be Busy
Ballet classes, soccer leagues and computer clubs are great for kids, but that doesn’t mean you should schedule organized activities every day of the week. Like you, your kids need downtime. It’s just as important to give them freedom to romp outside with neighbors, do pretend play in their room or just plain hang out and watch the clouds go by.

Myth #5: You Must Manage Your Child’s Life
Would you like someone telling you what to do all the time? Your kids don’t like it either, so take a step back and stop micromanaging. Give them room to try stuff on their own — and fail sometimes. Learn to respect their choices and their privacy. If they’re playing in their rooms, don’t check in every five minutes. Let them choose their outfit for school (even if you hate it) or decide how to spend a Saturday afternoon. This way, you foster independent thinking — a truly valuable life skill.

Remember your own upbringing — odds are, your fondest memories were unscripted moments of real emotion. Give your children the opportunity to look back and think that while you might not have been “perfect,” you were the best mom ever.

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