Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why Perfection is Poison

There is a great deal of danger in becoming a perfect mom.

Did you just choke on your coffee?  Ya I know, being too perfect is not high on my list of concerns either- but here's why it shouldn't even be on our list of goals.  Imperfection is a gift, it's where we meet grace AND each other.

For all you moms who aspire to the perfect body, home, parenting style or whatever, relax. You are closer to happiness than you think.  For the elite who have reached mommy nirvana- open your eyes.  You may be missing your perfect life by being a perfect mom. 

Perfection poisons Empathy

When something works for you, you may be tempted to assume that you are somehow skilled, gifted, smarter, or just plain better than other mom's who can't quite get it together.  If only they could do it your way.  

When nothing works for you, you learn the frustration, humility, and pain of motherhood.  If you look around and feel like you are having a harder time than most, keep looking.  I guarantee there are other mamas having a hard time too.  As a broken woman you have unique eyes to see hurt, loneliness, and shame. If you can step out of your own shadows, you will realize you have developed a unique voice to relate to a sisterhood who desperately needs to hear they are seen, understood, and loved.  

Perfect mamas, please remember that all of our situations, support systems and kids are different.  At the end of the day, we don't need advice the same way we need love.  Perfection doesn't have to succumb to pride.  Look around and see community instead of competition or incompetence.  True perfection is always marked by love, just ask God himself.

Perfection poisons Desire

There is something beautiful about need, desperation, and longing.  It's where we meet God.  It's where our hearts are softened and transformed by grace.  Jesus taught that those who feel deep need are blessed.  David proclaimed that God is near to the brokenhearted.  To feel true satisfaction we must sink into God and be surrounded by his grace.  

Counterfeit joy and peace are easy to come by in a "perfect life" when what you do, what you have, and what people think about you create a false sense of self that feels worth clinging on to.  Just.  let.  go.  Perfect mamas have to work hard to dive to the depths of grace.  Perfect or imperfect, we should all examine what we are using to define our identity and how we are satisfying our need for purpose and love.

Perfection poisons Friendship

Perfect moms make disingenuous friends. You may not realize, this, perfect mom, but that mama who came over for a play date this morning thought extra hard about what she and each of her kids were going to wear.  She chose the snack she was going to bring and the container she'd put it in carefully.  She didn't tell you what was truly on her heart or even her mind- she learned her lesson last time when you made her feel patronized and ashamed by your well meaning advice or story of how you have it all figured out.

Friendship is hospitality of the soul.  Being able to think aloud with another person.  Being able to truly be and become your true and best self.

Perfect mama, you may be accidentally achieving a sense of perfection that is closer to a J.Crew catalog than your own god given design.  You may unknowingly be distancing connection as you minimize or silence the messiness of humanity, failure, and motherhood.  Imperfect mama, you are not off the hook.  Ceaselessly striving for perfection in a way that your failures produce bitterness instead of humility is just as dangerous.

No matter where you fall on the perfection spectrum, we all have to choose to meet each other as each other, our true selves, and love one another in that grounded, messy reality.  It's the only way we can do life together, and motherhood is meant to be done together.

You have been warned.  The "perfect" home, body, parenting skills, or hobbies are more likely to poison your soul than satisfy you.  Accept humility.  Strive for love.


  1. this so much. I finished reading Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Burton Mains this year, and your post reminded me of it - the greatness of humility and bringing ease to relationships. Great post!

    1. Thank you for your kind response. Karen Burton Mains sounds like my kind of woman, I will have to check out her work. :)