Motherhood Perfectionism

Motherhood Perfectionism


By: Dr. Shaila Callaghan


Hi, I’m Shaila, and I’m a recovering perfectionist.


Oh, you too?!

Perfectionism is pervasive in motherhood. Our society’s idea of the “supermom” is leading to increased pressure and self-criticism for Mom’s old and new. But, here’s the thing I’ve learned about Motherhood: It is inherently unpredictable and imperfect. I know this because I have been working with Mom’s for over a decade – and I am one.

Perfectionism is about fear. Fear of rejection, criticism, and failure. As humans, we are physiologically unable to be in fear and growth at the same time. Perfectionism is all about control because it assumes the world is all or nothing. The pursuit of perfection can impede connection and love. This can negatively affect the relationships you have with your partner and children. Perfectionism can ruin Motherhood for you. This time will fly by one way or another and if we are hyper focused on making Instagram worthy bento box lunches, we risk missing out on the most special moments!

Chasing the high of perfectionism can be all consuming. I know because I have been there and I have learned a lot from my experience. I probably say this more times in a day than most things: ‘The most important thing for a child is a sane parent’. When my daughter was younger, I struggled with this a lot.

I struggled to bond with her for close to a year because I felt that I had to be a perfect, breastfeeding, working, babywearing, brain- and milestone-stimulating parent. I cannot get this time back and I regret where I placed my priorities. In my interactions with Mom’s on a daily basis, I know I am not alone and you may have been there too. Here are some things that I have found to be helpful on my journey of accepting the inevitability of imperfection.

  1. Adopt a mentality of “good enough” parenting. My kids are fed, dressed, and smiling = I’m killing it! Some is better than none in Motherhood. My socks may not match and their pants are on backwards, but we made it to school on time!
  2. Ask for help. If help is offered, accept it. There is nothing wrong with needing help. I wish I would have asked for it sooner. No one can do life all alone. Needing and accepting help just means you are human and alive – you are not failing.
  3. Accept that no one is perfect. We are all a work in progress. Every. Single. One of us. Develop an imperfection practice. Prove to yourself that being imperfect will not destroy you. I started doing this in February of this year and it has been one of the most helpful things I have done to date. 


I have learned that if I leave the house one day without making the beds, I will survive! COVID is a great time to develop this practice for yourself – no one is coming to my messy house for dinner! My kid is getting way too much screen time, and I have become just fine with that. Give yourself permission to be imperfect and celebrate those imperfections! My practice has shown me that my desire for perfectionism has made my life a lot more difficult than it needs to be.


It is important to model self-acceptance for your children. It is important for them to see us as we are – human and perfectly imperfect. What if we could all just let those little things go? Just surrender and flow – let go and just be love. My daughter could care less if my hair is perfectly blown out and I have evenly sliced her apples. She just wants to feel and be in my love. 


I am not perfect, and that is totally ok! I will continue to work on fully loving my imperfect self. 


Join me, won’t you?


By: Dr. Shaila Callaghan

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