How to Stop Being Paralyzed by Perfectionism

Is there a perfectionistic critic hanging around in your head?

If you feel overwhelmed & too pooped to parent, it's time to silence your inner-critic.

I was bleary eyed, sleep deprived, hormonal, and groping for balance after our newborn arrived.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed to reach out to other moms who were further ahead of me on the mom path.

The tips these older women shared with me had little to do with managing externals.  They were more about making internal shifts - inside secrets - ways to view the world that brought stability and greater joy. 

In my previous article, Inside Secrets of Happy Moms, we considered how people-pleasing leaves us feeling too pooped-out to parent; this included thinking through ideas about how to shift away from people-pleasing towards more balance and joy.

There’s another approach to parenting that can leave you feeling incessantly pressured, overwhelmed, and like you never measure up; it’s called perfectionism.

Article Continues Below Advertisement

Perfectionism cracks a mean whip with driving force.  It’s a never-ending nag that commands you to be everything to everyone.  It says, "Do the things on your list with a full-on 200% commitment, or don’t do them at all."

It views your role as a mom through a pair of “all or nothing” lenses.  The results? Your emotions bounce wildly between heroic highs and dangerous lows. 

Picture a horizontal line across the page divided evenly in small sections, numbered from 0 to 10.  Perfectionism pressures you to live in the far extremes of the line – in the 0 and 10 zones.

Like a frenzied teeter totter ride, you’re flying high or crashing to the ground.  You feel like the best mom in the world or a hot mess.  You’re Wonder Woman or a train wreck, on top of cloud nine, or in the bottom of a black hole.  Get my drift? It’s not fun. 

Article Continues Below Advertisement

Fulfillment as a mom isn’t discovered in the extremes.  Happy balance is found in living somewhere towards the middle.

I’ll say it plain and simple: Perfection is an illusion. 

The allure of being seen as “having it all together” (whatever that means) is a frustrating fantasy. 

God is a 10.  The rest of us are phenomenal 5’s.  By phenomenal I mean what the famous Mr. Webster says the word means: remarkable, exceptional, extraordinary, amazing, marvelous, wondrous, magnificent, unprecedented, terrific, and awesome.

Article Continues Below Advertisement

You are a unique one-of-a-kind woman who is designed for purpose and significance. You were born into this world with priceless intrinsic worth, just like your baby.   

Your incredible value comes from within, from who you are, not from what you do. You are a human being not a human doing, even though your to-do lists never seem to end! 

Being a mom is one of the greatest privileges bestowed on women.  It’s an honor to bear life, to love our babies, and to play a part in shaping their destinies. 

Loving well and building strong healthy relationships takes time, attention, and energy. Happiness is a byproduct of making wise choices that serve us and our babies well.   Ones that allow us to focus on what really matters.

Article Continues Below Advertisement

Great moms have sticky floors. Strong women who move mountains carry extra weight and stretch marks after giving birth.  Oh well.  Do we really want to make a huge deal out of these things?

Ladies who change the world wear bags and dark circles under their eyes when they don’t sleep.  No one cares.  Why?  Because when it comes to nurturing loving relationships and living a life of purpose, those things don’t matter.

Here’s a thought.  Why not fire the never-good-enough inner critic that continually lies to you?  How about forbidding perfectionistic performance reviews that leave you feeling ashamed? Why not treat yourself with a little more kindness and compassion? 

I invite you to join me and hundreds of other moms in a thirty-day challenge during August.  What’s the goal? To practice the two inside secrets that lead to a higher quality of life. To shift away from people-pleasing and perfectionism towards greater joy and fulfillment. 

I challenge you to stop hurting yourself with unreasonable demands. To honor your inherent worth.   To drop the perfectionism and people-pleasing that drives you to exhaustion, traps you in shame, and promotes procrastination.

I challenge you to silence that ‘never good enough’ nag in your head that steals your joy, pushes you to apologize for everything, and saps the energy you need to love your family well.  

Will you accept my challenge? 

How will you take action today? I’d love to hear about the specific ways you intend to shift away from people pleasing and perfectionism. Why not share a win so that we can learn and celebrate with you? 

Pam Vredevelt

Pam Vredevelt

Pam Vredevelt is a Professional Counselor and Coach, Best-selling author of Empty Arms, and the Empty Arms Journal. Jessie Vredevelt Schultz is a business consultant and transformation coach. They co-lead Healing Your Empty Arms: A transformation experience after the loss of your baby or child, for emotional healing, personal growth, and spiritual renewal.

Follow Pam Vredevelt:

Facebook Comments