Today’s words of wisdom come from Kerin Monaco.
Kerin and I have lots of things in common: yoga, social work, and a bad case of perfectionism. So I was thrilled when I began to read Kerin’s post and saw this line “I had visions of me writing this spectacular post on what I call ‘mommy maintenance’…here is a reality check”
So if you have struggled with the expectations (whether they are personal or of others’) of what you SHOULD be doing, do yourself the enormous favor of reading and sharing Kerin’s message: you are the perfect mother for your baby.
Then come join us in the Facebook group where the rest of us recovering perfectionism addicts will be hanging out : )
To sign up for the entire series of Mama Stories, click here.
I spent the 9 months of my pregnancy dreaming up the perfect baby and life.
I had collected the most perfect outfits for my darling girl and created a perfect nursery.
Hours were spent meditating on how I would be the perfect mother.
I had thought long and hard about the perfect upbringing I would provide for my daughter mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Life was going to be PERFECT.
I’m sure you guessed it. I’m Kerin. And I’m a PERFECTION ADDICT.
Throughout my pregnancy my mantra was “I am the perfect mother for my baby.”
It was a mantra I would say when feeling nervous or anxious as so many women do prior to their baby’s birth.
Somewhere in the process, I lost the idea that I am the best match for my daughter.
The mantra transitioned into “I am the perfect mother.”
Taking out those final three words and that gave me an insurmountable title to achieve.
“The Perfect Mother”
I have struggled this past year and really my whole life to have things “just so.”
When first asked to guest post for you all, I had visions of me writing this spectacular post on what I call “mommy maintenance”.
My tried and true methods of self- care were going to go something like this:
1. Carve out at least 15 minutes a day to clear your head.
2. Schedule a routine time where you can go out and do something you enjoy once a week.
3. Find a work-out or fitness group that allows you to bring your baby such as Stroller Strides or a Mommy and Baby Yoga class like the one I teach at Green Locus in Tampa.
4. Eat a filling, healthy, energy boosting breakfast.
5. Accept help when it is offered and ask for it when it is needed.
The first four of those are things that saved me this first year of motherhood.
The final one is advice I was given and needed to take, but didn’t.
I had said to a mom friend on more than one occasion “You don’t need to be supermom. You are doing the best you can,” and had never thought to offer myself those kind words.
My perfectionism flared up this afternoon while my daughter napped and I was agonizing over making the dreamy “Thank You” cards for her birthday.
I used a recommended website only to be disappointed by the overall look and price of the card.
Still I hit purchase on those “less than” Thank-you cards and said “Done is better than perfect.”
In that single moment, I recalled all those times where my perfectionism had prevented me from being as happy as possible.
I took note of all the nights I lay awake thinking about all that wasn’t finished because of a project I couldn’t get right.
I remembered those feelings of “mom guilt” that followed giving my child a non-organic snack or turning on a cartoon to occupy her while I cooked dinner.
It was in that exact thought of “Done is better than perfect” that I realized just how high my expectations were.
That all is going to change right now.
Here is a reality check: There is no other mother that could nurture and provide for my daughter the way I do.
There is no one else that provides your child what you do.
The fabulous thing is that no one else has too.
Moving forward, my expectation of perfection is being abandoned.
Moving forward, my intention will be to enjoy motherhood by enjoying what I can do and accepting what I cannot.
I hope with all my heart you begin to go easier on yourself too.
Do it not just for yourself but for the gorgeous little one you brought into this world.
As I started to practice my own advice today, there was so much ease and joy that filled my heart and home.
I was able to blow bubbles for my daughter without silently rattling off the laundry list of “to-do” items.
My husband and I heard our daughter babbling over dinner rather than trying to divide and conquer the rest of the night’s chores.
I was able to rest when she slept.
Wherever you are when you read this I encourage you to think of at least 2 ways you can be gentler on yourself right now.
If you are addicted to perfection like me, start small.
Go for a walk instead of rushing into cleaning up after dinner.
Treat yourself to a yoga class rather than running errands.
Whatever you do, know that it may be a struggle at first.
Eventually though you will see a shift into the idea that you are the most perfect mother for your child… whether the dishes are done or not.
Let us know in the comments below or the Facebook group where in your life you are going easier on yourself and please share this post with a mom or two that may need it!
Kerin Monaco is a yoga teacher, social worker, and new mom. She received her 500 RYT through Purple Lotus in Frisco, TX and holds her Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.
She specializes in teaching her yoga students how their physical practice translates to life off the mat. Kerin currently teaches at Green Locus Yoga in Tampa, Florida. You can work with her through Off the Mat Chat; an online community of yogis committed to discussing yoga, living in the present, and supporting one another in achieving balance. You can join this free community here. To find out more about Kerin and her philosophy visit www.KerinMonaco.com.