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Perfectionism

(9 Posts)
BertieBotts Mon 12-Jan-15 23:45:46

Just interested in opinions generally.

I've realised lately I'm quite perfectionist in my idea of how I should be as a parent and tend to beat myself up when I don't live up to this. Of course, I never live up to this.

I didn't identify with the perfectionist/unrealistic standards thing until recently because I kept reading blog posts from America where they seem to take everything to extremes and their idea of "perfectionist" parenting is to make every thing that was ever posted on pinterest and serve special nutritional diets and have children achieving every extracurricular activity at once and never taking time for yourself, to me all of that is extra and a bit mad really, nice enough if you enjoy crafts/cooking/whatever the activity is but certainly not something to strive for as a kind of "best practice but normal".

Instead my perfectionism is more stuff like, I should always react in exactly the right way to every behaviour issue, I shouldn't lose my cool/temper unless it's a really serious/rare/surprising issue, I should always try my hardest to understand my child and not fob him off or distract him or take the short term fix (blush), I should always give him strong and not conflicting messages, I should never snap at him or talk down to him, etc. I mean I suppose that if I think about it I know it's not possible to do all of that all the time, so how do you let go of the perfectionism?

Do you feel like you "should" be perfect all the time as a parent or do you have lower standards? If you feel like you should be perfect how do you cope with not being able to be? (Or maybe you are and I'm just shit at it grin - it would totally confirm my paranoia so feel free to say so!)

I don't even think that getting it wrong messes them up unless you get it really wrong so I don't even know what I'm doing with this. I don't know, I suppose I'm just wondering if anyone can relate or if you can (hopefully!) tell me I'm being mad and I should just worry less about it.

IsawJimmykissingSantaClaus Tue 13-Jan-15 09:51:01

I can't help you but I feel the same. I also feel that I should be doing all the crafty shit too! So you are not alone. I console myself with the fact that if I am able to see where I wasn't perfect I am pretty okay at this because a 'bad' parent wouldn't be self aware. I reacted (by my standards) incorrectly to a friendship issue my DD1 had at school yesterday. But if I'm being positive it means that if the situation occurs again I will now deal with it differently.

Be kind to yourself flowers

NickyEds Wed 14-Jan-15 12:34:35

My ds is only 1 so I think possibly a bit younger than yours but I can relate to the perfectionism side. I imagined myself being way better at this than I am. I had visions of a perfectly clean, organised house, all homemade, organic food and (for some bloody reason!) handmade clothes (????). I was silly and didn't understand how hard it was/is. I haven't let the perfectionism go as such but have come to understand that it comes at a price. Sometimes the price is small,for instance I couldn't be sat messing on mn now if I were tidying my house up but sometimes it's high, before Christmas I was just doing too much and it over whelmed me (early days of pregnancy/morning sickness don't mix with perfectionism). Ds is very happy, I'm (generally) very happy, OH is very happy. That'll do. That just has to do.

You're being mad and should just worry about it lesssmile

lulufairygodmother Wed 14-Jan-15 13:23:24

I work with so many parents who hire me for advice regarding their children and after a quick chat the reality is they have hired me to reassure them of exactly this issue! Women today have it so hard, we are constantly battling a juggling act and it doesn't help that when you read blogs or go on social networking sites everyone else seems to have the 'perfect' life with 'perfect' children and 'perfect' parenting which basically makes us all fell a bit crap. You really are not alone, you just had the courage to talk about the 'unmentionable'. You are going to question yourself a million times a day as a parent. All of these 'perfect' parents feel exactly the same but put on a front to hide their own insecurities, its almost like passive bullying!
What I will say is perfect is completely unachievable and unrealistic - there really is no such thing. It is also completely subjective and what is 'perfect' to you isn't necessarily someone else's idea of perfect. As Salvador Dali said "Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it".
As long as your child is healthy, happy and reaching milestones and you are also healthy and happy then try not to worry. The fact that you even are worried suggests to me that you are a fantastic parent with the best interest's of your child at heart.xx

Givemecaffeine21 Wed 14-Jan-15 14:05:52

I did a thread like this yesterday about guilt - same thing really, trying to be perfect and beating myself up for not acheiving it. The crafty blogs really get to me but I reassure myself that by the time they are actually capable of sitting for more than four minutes and engaging with an activity without destroying it, I'll be all over it. I enjoy craft but it's pointless with my two; they are 1.5 and 2.5 and my eldest gets it now but never used to, and it extends to colouring and playdough and stickers. When DD first arrived I was obsessed with 'maintaining standards' and obsessively cleaned every day....til I got real! In terms of emotional stuff I have beat myself up hugely over not being this serene, ever-listening mum who always responds correctly and never shouts, but seriously, I'm a human being....they push my buttons ALL day, DD even smirks at me now when she's doing it. I think the most important thing is to be fair, and if you get it wrong, admit it and say sorry and move on. I'm not afraid to tell my kids I'm sorry when I get it wrong as its teaching them that we all make mistakes but we can all forgive and move on. But to be honest, I'm my own harshest critic and I bet if I watched you and you watched me, we'd tell the other they were doing great and over-analysing stuff :-)

BertieBotts Wed 14-Jan-15 16:15:40

Oh link me to your guilt one too please smile

Yes I totally hate the way I am not serene - which is stupid really because I know really if I was always serene that wouldn't be very emotionally healthy or real for DS to learn from either would it?!

Yes you're right about saying sorry and moving on. Actually I used to always do that on principle when DS was little and then like you say he started pushing my buttons - around 3 or so - and I felt so angry with him at times that I didn't feel like apologising (wow how mature do I sound hmm) and somehow got out of the habit of it and now even though I'm much more in control and he's not so horrendous I think I have forgotten to apologise when I mess up.

attheendoftheday Sun 18-Jan-15 11:37:55

I have this very much! I have this mental picture of the life I want for my dds (and the fact that I can see how driven it is by my feelings about my own shitty childhood doesn't take it away). I actually get pretty close, and I don't think I'm a bad parent per se, but I feel so bad if a miss something I feel I should have done. I also work incredibly hard (full time work in compressed hours plus meeting the dds needs) that I tend to exhaust myself and then become unable to cope, it would be better if I could relax a bit and not cry in the kitchen while pretending to cook!

squizita Sun 18-Jan-15 11:41:54

My dd is 6 months and I'm JUST like this.

I had miscarriages before so I kind of think I don't deserve her unless I'm "the best". I also had a bit of an odd childhood in some respects ... caught between 2 cultures/parenting styles (one being quite draconian and tiger, the other hippy/Irish mammy style).

DH is far more balanced about things.

attheendoftheday Sun 18-Jan-15 12:16:30

Squitzita, my dp is also more balanced. Thank god for that!

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