Perfection Is The Enemy of the Good - Kimberly Thompson

It is possible to try too hard to get this motherhood thing “right.” A vegetable garden can’t grow if you keep digging up the plants to see how they’re doing, and your confidence as a mother can’t flourish if you keep turning every little incident over and over in your mind.

Cut yourself some slack. Engage in self-compassion rather than self-criticism. Mothering children is a marathon, not a sprint … and marathons require totally different strategies. Now that I’m a grandmother, I love the short sprints of loving on my grandkids when they come to visit.  I don’t do housework, I prepare their favorite foods (especially cookies), and I can play with them as long as they like. I couldn’t do that as a mother!

Motherhood means handling the housework, the food, the bills, the healthcare, the clothes, the playdates, the homework (or even the homeschool), the moral and spiritual training, and a million other important things. It means building a rich and stable relationship with your child, and setting and maintaining firm limits. It’s a huge job.  Let’s just admit that it’s not possible to do 100% in every area you are responsible for.  Rather, you are going to have to decide what’s important today.

Today, the most important item may be the house that has been turned topsy-turvy.  Or, it might be cooking something hot and nutritious because you have been eating sandwiches for 3 days straight.  The #1 thing on your list might be babying a child who’s down with the flu, emailing the teacher who is concerned about your child’s grade, or paying bills before they are overdue.

Your #1 priority can’t always be spending that cuddly quality time with your child … although I sincerely hope that makes the list quite frequently.  Even if you have a great spouse who shares the responsibility 50/50, motherhood is still a big job. Instead of trying to do everything “just right,” pick some touchstones that are important to you, and forgive yourself when you don’t get around to the rest.

What are touchstones? They are things like:

* Sitting down to a family meal at least 3 times a week

* Tucking a child into bed at night, complete with reading a story and getting them a glass of water

* Hot and hearty family breakfasts on the weekend

* A prayer before the bus comes in the mornings

* Puzzles or board game marathons on holidays


Provide lots of love, a listening ear, and a few touchstones, and kids can bounce back from the days when supper was take-out pizza and you let them watch TV far too much.  And so can you.



     I am Dr. Kimberly Thompson, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Lubbock, Texas. I work with mothers and their children to help them heal, grow, and live their most vibrant lives. My particular expertise is pregnant and postpartum women, and moms of “littles.” My book, Perfect Mothers Get Depressed, is available on Amazon and from Praeclarus Press. If you live within driving distance of Lubbock, you can work with me face-to-face; if you live anywhere else in the state of Texas, you can work with me via online therapy. Send me a message if you need more information, or call my office at (806) 224-0200 if you’re ready to book an appointment.