Obsessing about being the perfect mum? 6 ways to stop the madness

Simple steps to saying “no” to mum guilt and “yes” to having more fun with the brood!

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When your children were babies, you tried to breastfeed, wean them to a balanced diet and took great pains to sleep-train them. Now that they are a little older, you try your best to juggle your job with being there for junior, while keeping the house in order.

You also limit your offspring’s screen time, continue to keep an eye on their diets, help them with their studies, plus, plan weekend activities for the family. You accomplish all this with as much patience and as little sleep as possible.

Even so, you can’t seem to shake off the guilt you feel for not being a good enough mother to your kids. If this describes your life — you need to chill out.

“As perfection is just not possible, striving to be a perfect mother can bring about unnecessary stress and severe guilt when a mum seemingly makes mistakes.”

Overdo it on your perfect-mother quest and it might not only cost you your health but your relationship with your spouse and family members, too.

REACH Community Service’s senior counsellor, Winnie Lu, points out that when you’re unable to reach the expectations you’ve set for yourself, you’ll likely be restless and disappointed with not just yourself but others, as well.

This, in turn, creates a downward spiral that may leave you battling with depression, anxiety and parental burnout. Adds Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist from Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, “As perfection is just not possible, striving to be a perfect mother can bring about unnecessary stress and severe guilt when a mum seemingly makes mistakes.”

Dr Lim and Lu have tips on how to avoid going down this slippery slope:

1. Spending time with your kids — quality is just as important as quantity

Dr Lim advises that you accept that certain responsibilities like your work, which is vital for your family’s continued well-being, will take you away from your kids. And because you need the income from your job, guilt over spending too much time at work is not warranted at all. That said, outside of your work, you should spend whatever time remains with your kids.

He adds, “Spending quality time playing or learning together with your kids is more important than just being just physically present, or worse, being grudgingly present.” Lu suggests starting with simple activities, such as reading books with your children or conversing about your day before bedtime.