The pressure to do it “all” leads to feelings of mom guilt, overwhelm, and not enoughness. Yet, this is what we, as moms, experience every day, not knowing the real cause. It seems like it’s this season of life or an unusual circumstance that just needs to pass and then we’ll finally be able to slow down and be happy. But that day never comes. Seasons change, there are more challenges, and before you know it, years have gone by. The pressure to do it all remains.
What you need to know is that this doesn’t have to continue. You can change your life and your experience of motherhood. It all starts with your mindset. More specifically, there are practices you can start implementing in your life to help you embrace imperfection (overcome perfecionism), slow down, and release yourself from the pressure to do it all.
In this podcast, you’ll learn several ways to feel more peace, calm, and freedom while raising a family. If you want to feel more empowered in motherhood, this episode is for you.
Hi there. Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. My name is Natalie Bacon and I’m an Advanced Certified Mindfulness Life Coach as well as a wife and mom, if you’re here to do the inner work and grow, I can help. Let’s get started.
Hello my beautiful friend. I’m so happy to talk with you today about embracing imperfection, overcoming the pressure to do it all. I don’t know about you, but for someone like me who really likes to do a good job and has a history with the type A overachieving go-getter tendencies that have served me so well in my career and with my goals, they can really get me into trouble when it comes to home life and family life and motherhood because it turns into perfectionism. And I have done a lot of work on overcoming this and it’s made a huge impact on my life.
So I wanna talk with you about how you can experience that and really get out of feeling like you’re not good enough or you’re failing like as a mom or feeling like you need to do more or be more than you already are. And that’s what we’re gonna dive into before we dive into all of that, goodness, I just wanna give you a life update middle of July, which means baby boy number two is coming in a month. I can hardly believe it. We are so excited. I feel so blessed and grateful and a little bit reflective on how this pregnancy has been very similar and also at the same time very different than my first, the circumstances are so different. We are in Chicago, we are not in Charleston. I have a toddler and um, I think my mindset is baby boy, you can stay in there and hang tight for a while versus with my first born son, I was so eager and wanting him to come really quickly.
So it’s just been a little bit fun and interesting to kind of compare and, and notice the differences and notice how fast this pregnancy has gone. Oh my goodness, do not recommend being pregnant over the summertime. And yet I’m so grateful and appreciative of it. I noticed myself having a little bit of the grass is greener syndrome when I’m not pregnant, I want to be pregnant. And then when I am pregnant I, you know, am acutely aware of all of those pregnancy symptoms and side effects and I think, oh gosh, I don’t wanna be pregnant. So trying to soak up and just enjoy, um, to the extent that I can, the kind of last bit of of pregnancy and then we’ll dive into that fourth trimester and adjust and expect that there will be some resistance in that transition. And I think that whether it’s adding a child to your family or any other type of transition, it might just be the end of a school year or the start of a new school year or a something completely unrelated to kids at all.
Whenever there is a transition, the routines change and brains love routine. So bracing yourself for some challenges can actually be really helpful knowing that, oh yeah, when we’re all out of sorts, when we don’t have the routine yet, when we’re still adjusting, there’s a little bit of that discomfort and planning for that instead of kind of trying to control it can be so helpful. It’s definitely been helpful for me growing our family moving across the country a couple of times and any sort of job transitions my husband has has had. And um, it’s just something that I try to keep in mind. So just a little food for thought there. I am going to continue to do all of the work that I normally do on this podcast and in Grow You. So nothing will be different during my maternity leave because I use all of the planning and time management and productivity tools that I teach in my own business.
So I have prepared content for you and created a schedule where I can continue to coach even during the maternity leave that I’ve created for myself. Because coaching to me is the most important thing and it’s a way for me to have a little bit of that, that freedom and that space to myself. There’s nothing that I love more than coaching. So if you’re in Grow You, you will be seeing me and get all of those updates. And if you’re not, you can always kind of catch up personally with me over @NatalieBaconCoaching on Instagram as well with that so that the podcast can continue. I would absolutely love it if you would do me a favor, if you haven’t written a review yet on Apple iTunes app, will you please do that for me? It would be a huge help for the podcast because iTunes sort of needs that boost in reviews, say, oh yeah, this is still a good show.
I’m gonna show it to more people. And then this work gets out to more people and it impacts more people’s lives, which is my, my hope and my goal with this podcast and my intent to keep it going, um, as long as it keeps on, um, helping people. So that’s one way that I know that it is working. If you’ve already left a review, thank you so much. If you haven’t, I would greatly appreciate it if you would do that for me. There’s so much time, energy, money, effort that goes into podcast production and I obviously am happy to do it. Um, and with that, I guess sort of ask for this, this one ask to, to help spread the word so that these tools can continue to help people. I never think that I know the answer or I’m so wise. I think that I have tools and practices that I know work and I want other people to have them so that they can see the impact in their life and change their life as well.
So thank you, thank you, thank you. And with that, that’s a perfect transition into the tool of considering perfectionism and embracing imperfection and overcoming this pressure that we feel particularly as women and moms to do it all. And what does that even mean? I think that it comes down to the mindset that we are taught to do everything for everyone always. And that in doing so we are good. We derive our goodness from doing more. And this is a mindset. It’s kind of like the idea of the supermom. She is someone who defies time. She has no human needs or negative emotion. She is someone who manages to be at 100 places at once, is always happy. Her children are excelling and perfect. She has a clean house and it’s huge and she takes her kids on vacations and you know, money is no object.
And it seems like that is available and that should be the goal. And it’s interesting because in some ways we reward any sign of this in society. So if we see a mom doing a lot, we give her praise. And in doing that, we have no idea what’s going on with her and could very well be rewarding the mindset and encouraging the mindset. It’s really good that you do everything for everyone always. So notice if you have this mindset that I am better as a mom if I do more and that you should do more, and your goodness is tied to whether you say yes to doing things and that you have this subconscious mindset of I need to do everything for everyone always. I like to think of the supermom as being not human. She’s a robot, she is not reality. And when I think about her in this way, it’s so much easier for me to remind myself of my humanness and almost immediately drop the mindset.
Because the mindset that we need to do it all and do everything for everyone always, it just ends up creating this feeling of overwhelm and insecurity that not enoughness. And then from feeling overwhelm or insecurity, we end up constantly doing, always saying yes, always adding more to our to-do list, never feeling worthy of taking a break, not feeling comfortable, holding boundaries, feeling really bad about ourselves. If we say no, not knowing how to confidently say no and still stay connected to the other person because we think that by saying no, we are bad, which is going into shame. And then we disconnect.
We don’t prioritize self-care even if the resources are available to us. So partner, spouse, husband, childcare, all of that, even when they’re there and supportive. If you have the mindset I need to be with my kids 100% of the time and do everything for everyone always, you won’t prioritize self-care. I was just coaching someone on this inside Grow You and she said, I have the support and I don’t. I allow myself to practice self-care because I feel so guilty. And that guilt comes from a mindset that other people’s needs are the most important things and your needs are not important at all. So it makes you invisible. And it’s so important to see this because from that comes the idea, the mindset that no matter how much you do, it’s not gonna be good enough. So I think that all of this combined leads to having a performance based value system where achieving and doing more equals you are better as a woman, as a mom, this leads to busyness and people pleasing and being completely burned out, disconnecting from the people in your life, your kids, your spouse because you feel resentment.
And then on top of that, it’s thinking that you’re still not doing enough. The quality isn’t to a high enough standard and or the quantity isn’t high enough. You should be doing more and you should be doing a better job of what you are doing. There’s the enormous mom guilt and mom’s shame no matter how much you do. And I think because this is the societal norm, this mindset is made worse because of how we glorify it. That supermom is idolized, we think, how does she do it all? And we wanna know her secrets and her hacks because it seems like we can’t do that. And because she can, she must know something that we don’t.
Any kind of falling short of these unrealistic and unreasonable standards then often leads to connecting with our peers or commiserating with them about the mom guilt and continuing the narrative that we’re not good enough. This is just how it is, and kind of seeking solutions in all of the wrong places, looking for those hacks to save time and energy and money and have more support. When really even with all of that support, we still feel uncomfortable doing anything for ourselves because we don’t have the mindset that we matter, that we are human and worthy and valuable and we should be devoting as much time, energy, and money to ourselves as we do to everyone in our family.
So the solution to this, I think first and foremost is to normalize being human. This has worked so beautifully for me. I remind myself I’m a human mom and I’m supposed to be a human mom. I promise you my friend, you are the exact mom your kids are supposed to have. It is not a mistake that you are their mom. The mistakes that you make, the failures, the missing, the mark, the overwhelm, the frustration, the mom guilt, the anxiety, any other negative emotion that you experience that is all there because you are human. You absolutely can work on yourself and use the tools that I teach to help you feel better and have a more empowered mindset. But don’t do it because you’re trying to escape your humanness. I promise you, after you’ve been working with me for a while, you will still be human. I can guarantee that, which means you will still make mistakes. The difference will be in how you navigate those mistakes. You won’t beat yourself up as much, you won’t have as much mom guilt. You won’t feel like you’re constantly failing. Normalize the humanness, normalize that you are half mess and half amazing. That’s what I like to say. I’m a human mom. That to me is true self-confidence.
The second way that I think you can kind of embrace imperfection and overcome this pressure to do it all is to validate your goodness when you say no. So this is really specific. I teach this inside Grow You in the Navigating, Challenging Relationships class. When you say no, it feels uncomfortable or it feels hard not because saying the letters n o together are challenging. We all know how to say no. What’s challenging is how to be with ourselves after we say no. Because of what we make it mean about us.
We make it mean that we are bad or not good enough or doing something wrong. So for example, if your sister-in-law asks you for something, maybe it’s to help watch her kids and you want to say no. The reason it’s so challenging isn’t because saying no is challenging. The reason it’s so challenging is because you are worried about your relationship with sister-in-law. You are worried about what she’ll think about you. You are worried about your goodness as a sister-in-law, questioning whether you are still a good sister-in-law. If you say no. So validate your goodness when you say no, I’m saying no and I’m still a good sister-in-law and this is just inner self-talk that you’d have. I’m saying no and I’m still a good sister-in-law. This will be a game changer. I use this one all of the time when it comes to saying no because I can relate so much to thinking I should say yes to everything. So being able to say no without having it impact my goodness is so important.
The next kind of way to embrace imperfection is to commit to self-care. This is really how you can overcome that pressure to be everything to everyone. You carve out space for yourself, put it on your calendar. Tell yourself I matter. Taking time for me matters. I like to think of everyone in the family being worthy and deserving of self-care and at different ages and different seasons that looks different. But I love to think about how we love to encourage our kids to try different activities just for fun. Like I’m not thinking, oh my goodness, we need to put RJ into baseball so that one day he can make lots of money and be able to support us. I don’t think that right? I think he might like and enjoy baseball. But with ourselves, when we decide on investing in something, what I see most often is questioning whether it’s worth it based on the return.
It’s like, well, should I take that class? Will I be able to make more money in my business after it from it or should I really, um, spend the, you know, time and money at the gym? I don’t know if it’s worth it. And, and it’s so fascinating to me because we don’t do this with our kids. And so having that comparison can be really helpful to notice if you are questioning your self-care and needing some sort of justification that it’s worth it when just doing the thing makes it worth it, right? If my son enjoys baseball, or even if he doesn’t, he just tries it. That’s worth it. Can you adopt that same mindset for yourself?
The next way to embrace imperfection and overcome the pressure to do it all is to choose your identity on purpose. What kind of mom do you want to be? What’s most important to you in your family? What does it mean to succeed or fail? As a mom, you’ve probably heard me talk about this on the podcast and mentioned that it is something that I teach inside Grow You specifically. And it’s so important because if you go around thinking I’m just not a good enough mom, or I am failing at a mom, and that is your identity, you will only show up halfway. You will withdraw, you will hide, you will.
So not even come close to actualizing any of your potential because you will be living from the identity. I’m a failure, I can’t figure this out, I’m not good enough. And all it takes is a little bit more mindset management for you to create an intentional identity that you want to think about yourself and practice that. So if you have identified as a perfectionist, even just changing that to in the past I’ve had some perfectionist tendencies, but in the future I’m someone who embraces imperfection. Do you see how that kind of marries the two and enables you to still grow while acknowledging what your brain thinks is true, that you’ve been a perfectionist in the past, that such a different experience than if you go with what your default brain offers you, which is I am a perfectionist as if we have a blood test for that. So stop telling yourself things about yourself that you don’t want to be true. You have to manage your mind and that negative self-talk, it’s so important.
The next way for you to overcome the pressure to do it all is to drop the mom guilt. It is possible my friend. It’s so possible. No matter how much mom guilt you are experiencing, you can significantly reduce it. So much so that when it pops up, if ever it’s something you can acknowledge and work through so quickly and it will pop up less frequently. It takes awareness of mom, guilt of what you’re thinking. That’s creating the mom guilt. It takes intentionality by intentionally creating thoughts on purpose and then practicing those thoughts. But you can do this. You don’t have to feel guilty about every little thing. You can feel confident and happy and still make the decision that you want to make.
The next way for you to embrace imperfection is for you to change your mindset. Live more intentionally in motherhood, my friend. It is a lie. You do not need to do everything for everyone always. You’re not supposed to even try. You’re not supposed to do more to be good. This is the process of changing your mindset because until you change your mindset to know that the truth is you’re not supposed to do everything for everyone always, you will continue to take action as if you are supposed to do that. Intentionally create thoughts and practice them on purpose. This is called intentional thought creation. I promise you that when you tell yourself, I need to be doing more, I should be doing more. I’m not good enough. I have so much mom guilt, that is what your brain looks for and that is what it will create more of.
But when you come up with better feeling thoughts that help you live more intentionally as a mom, you understand how to process any mom guilt and make decisions that live into your values for you and your family. So if you haven’t been able to carve out time to rest or to just hang out or to just be present and connect with yourself and with your family, and you look at your calendar and it is full of saying yes, by changing your mindset, you will have more confidence saying no and still feeling good about yourself. Because you will remind yourself, I am a human mom. I’m not supposed to do everything for everyone. Always having go-to thoughts to practice ahead of time. I call that pre-coaching yourself and your mindset will give you such better self-talk to help you navigate challenges as they come up.
And the final way for you to overcome the pressure to do it all and embrace imperfection is to give yourself strong love and soft love. You’ll hear me talk about this on the podcast a little bit more. I’ve been applying it in my life a lot and talking about it inside Grow You as well. Oftentimes, I hear this referred to as fatherly love and motherly love. If that resonates with you and is a helpful framework, use it. Meaning the fatherly love is a little bit of the stronger love and the motherly love is a little bit of the softer love, also known as kind of hard love versus the gentle love. It’s kinda like the yin and yang. The strong love is push yourself, be willing to be honest with yourself and do hard things. The soft love is to be kind and gentle with yourself, and you need both. And only you know which you need and when most people are lacking in one area, because the other way of giving themselves love is easier.
So for a very long time, I was really good at giving myself the strong love. I was really good at pushing myself to do hard things and I was lacking in the soft love, the gentleness, the kindness, and being okay with my mistakes and my weaknesses. So for me to embrace imperfection, I needed more of that soft love towards myself. And I have to tell you that on the other side of applying this strategy and tool and practice in my life, my life is so much better. I really cannot tell you how different I am in internally because I went to the other side of the spectrum and gave myself so much softer love. I’m more grounded. I’m more content, I’m more connected. I’m less of a perfectionist. I don’t really look to kind of my goodness being determined by outcomes. And because of that and because of the awareness, I now can kind of ping pong back and forth between the strong love and the soft love in a way that’s really useful for me. So I always want you to consider these practices and tools and the work we do in Grow You as as offerings to you for you to use to the extent that they are useful. So for me, being someone who was a lawyer and really type A and really performance driven, which is useful, it helped me achieve so much and it still helps me get things done.
I knew though that I needed more of that slowness, that gentleness, that softness, that femininity. And through applying that to myself now I feel so much more comfortable going back and forth and noticing if I’m not achieving something I want to achieve, that I need to give myself a little bit more tough love. Here is not the time to let myself off the hook. It’s the time to push myself. But I also know how to check in with myself and see, oh, am I pushing myself too much here? Am I being too hard on myself? Do I need a little bit of that gentleness and that kindness? And that is self-management. That is mindset management. That is a gift that you can give to yourself. That is my hope for you, my friend. It will make your life so much better. Keep at it. You got this. I will talk with you next week. Take care.
If you loved this podcast, I invite you to check out Grow You my mindfulness community for moms where we do the inner work together. Head on over to nataliebacon.com/coaching to learn more.