22 June 2015

Motherhood Is Not For Perfectionists

Hello world, I'm still alive and kicking, in case you've been wondering. Today I want to write something memorable, empowering, because this is exactly what happened to me in the past year while I kept the blog quiet. For a year I almost forgot what photography was and wrote exactly 7 posts.

Because life happened.


My husband and I created new life.

Our baby DJ is now 4 months old and is the most amazing little boy.

For the first two months of his life I was so overwhelmed that I only grabbed my tablet or laptop to read more about increasing breastmilk supply, or how to deal with colics, irregular bowel movements, or to understand why he caughs after burping; I watched videos on proper latching, burping positions, baby massage and bathing.

Kissing perfectionism goodbye

If you have followed this blog long enough to remember The Simple Living Challenge I created in the beginning of 2012 you maybe recall my confession in perfectionism. Well, three years later I thought I had overcome it but then the baby came. I was so scared, insecure and genuinely disappointed by the fact that I was not the perfect mother. Was I even mother simply because of the fact that I had given birth? I didn't know it all, I didn't know why he cried, when he was hungry or when he had colics, I couldn't understand his language, I was terrified by the fact that I couldn't cope alone and there were those shameful moments when I wodered why, oh why...

Until I realized that motherhood is in clear conflict with perfection. Believing I could be perfect in my role as a mother was an utter deception. Perfection doesn't tolerate development. As a parent one is supposed to learn, grow and change with their child. The family is like a living organism that flourishes and adapts constantly so why would I want to constrain it into a stagnant perfection form?

I am yet in the very beginning of this new journey but I like it as it is already. No, actually I love it. Who needs perfection when there is the unconditional love to give and to receive.

Saying no to multitaskig

Not only was I a perfectionist but I was also a serial multitasker, something I considered a trait before I realized it lead me to nothing but burnout. Quite unconsciously I also tried multitasking with my baby: a definite no-no. There is no way to be present and alert for baby when carrying him and freshly boiled water at the same time regardless of how handy you think you are.Never ever multitask with baby around. It is doomed.

Keeping expectations low

Perfectionism is closely related to having high expectations towards yourself and the world around you. I needed about a month to get rid of my inadequate expectations.

Take something as simple as pooing. I have always sympathized with people with irregular bowel movements and considered it a very important blessing to not be one of them. Before I had a baby I remember stories about babies who had constipation or only pooed once a day and considered it a nighhtmare. Well, what can I say, after an extremely hard month I am now over the moon when my boy poops once a day, instead of the expect two - three times. Life is a good teacher.

Taking it slow

Perfectionism is the reason, which in the past pushed me beyond myself to achieve my intentions. I didn't spare neither time nor efforts in the name of goals, I could work forever on a project or I could literally bend time if that was needed. But you cannot rush a baby without that leading to terrifying results.

Taking it slow and going with the flow, learning to understand my boy is the only healthy way both for him and for me. Raising a human being is not a competiotion and hurrying never leads to anything but disaster. So, I chose to relax and take it slow.

Which leads me to the Slow and Simple slogan of the Kanelstrand blog. Let's snever forget that taking life slow and living it simply is the only way to fully appreciate all that happens and all that we make happen. Because in the end, the only thing that matters is the love we have given and what it has produced.

Now it's your turn: Say hello and let me know you're still around! What challenges did you have to overcome in the first months with your new baby? How were your expectations during pregnancy different from the reality that followed?