I have sat down to write this piece 6 times over the last few months, and I couldn’t find the words to express myself. Every time I felt I had captured in words how I felt, something would happen (delayed flights, broken laptop, sick child) and I would be catapulted back into reality and the words no longer seemed relevant.
So let’s try this….
You wake up at 8am to a clean house and the coffee machine running, a sleeping child who gently arises when his clock turns green to greet you with a morning kiss. To then be cooked breakfast by your partner, then your child eats breakfast quietly whilst you shower (shave, defrizz and beautify). Your child then picks out his clothes and dresses himself for daycare, and you leave promptly at 8:40am to arrive early enough to get a parking spot, without a fuss.
Are you still with me?
Does this sound like an episode of perfection or perfect parenting?
Well perhaps this is an ideal, a pedestal expectation that we hold in our minds as Mothers, that perfection and life running smoothly is what we ascertain.
But let me float this idea by you, what if the perfection is actually the imperfection in life.
Now I am not saying that things going wrong or awry is great all the time, but sometimes it is nice to rock the boat a little. In fact there are parts I love about things not being “perfect.”i.e my sons ability to spot a piece of clothing with a tag on it a mile away, or his refusal of any fabric other than cotton. It may be frustrating at the time that he wont wear the green sweater, but he is asserting his independence and likes/dislikes.
So what if all those moments and times where we feel tested are what we are meant to feel? What if perfection is simply “letting ourselves find grace.”
Because anything, even perfectly run systems done the same way everyday without any change would start to feel like groundhog day, and wouldn’t that become mundane?
Now don’t get me wrong, there are moments I am scrolling through Instagram and seeing people in their lives and I think “their life looks perfect.” But I know some of these women, I have been this woman and our life is not perfect and that is okay because we are finding grace.
So with the play on words and the preconceived notions of “perfection” addressed, I wanted to thank Lizzie O’Halloran for her new book called ‘Perfect Mum’.
It has been written to support mothers to cope with the emotional, physical and psychological sides of motherhood. There are a wide array of feelings that we can feel as a Mother, from loneliness to stress and exhaustion. But I loved that Lizzie spoke about the grittier topics of depression and anxiety and not in a way that makes you reluctant to seek help but one that envelopes you in a warm hug of acknowledgement, that your feelings are true to you.
The reason I prefer this book when it comes to my parenting style, is because when I became a Mother it was wide spreading phenomenon to join an online Facebook help group run by other Mums. Now don’t get me wrong these can be extremely beneficial, especially if you are feeling isolated and the positives outweigh the negative comments. But… a Facebook and “Google” Search that we are all guilty of, can render comments that aren’t actually professional or educated comments and support.
Perfect mum has been my search base for parenting that sat on the nightstand. The practical resources are fantastic for implementing into your lives, but it was the feeling I had when I would sit down at night in tears feeling the enormous weight of guilt, I know we all feel as parents some times. The feeling that IT WILL ALL BE OK. There is something so reassuring about reading those words in context with situations and ways to help relieve those stresses, that is immeasurable in my eyes.
I have been passing this gospel around my mothers group, and I feel it may be held onto a lot longer. And that’s okay because I have a few more stashed away for baby showers.
I received a lot of books along with advice when I was pregnant and I can tell you exactly where they are right this minute. “Propping up the coffee table I have been meaning to replace for longer than I care to say.”
So on that note….
Perfect Mum is available in hardcover and download form via both Happy Life and Help For Mums (see links below).
Lizzie O’Halloran is the Founder of
Happy Life (www.happylife.net.au)
Help For Mums (www.helpformums.com).
She is therapist, presenter and author who works tirelessly with countless Mothers to assist with the journey and emotional struggles of motherhood.
as a Mum to one who actually has a parenting book that isn’t collecting dust with the baby contraptions that i never used (now in the garage my partner still hasn’t cleaned in three years, but that’s a story for another time.)