“You Think You’re so Perfect”
You are just trying to be helpful and you say, "You aren’t going to learn anything if you are on facebook, texting, and watching You Tube videos while you are trying to study for your test." You go on to say, "If you want to ace this test you need to study hard for a couple of hours and not be distracted. Write down everything you need to know and I would be glad to help you review."
This is great advice and you know you are right.
But your daughter says, "You think you’re so perfect."
"What?????? Where did that come from?"
These kinds of statements feel like they come from Mars and leave mothers befuddled.
But there is a grain of truth in the "You think you’re so perfect" statement.
Perfectionism is insidious and greatly affects mothers and daughters.
"I am not a perfectionist and if you see my daughter’s room you will know she is not a perfectionist."
I know, ‘perfectionism’ is sneaky.
No one is perfect, but the pressure to be perfect affects us all.
Let’s start with you.
How do you feel when your daughter fails a test? She eats too much or too little. She lies to you. She loses it and screams at you. She is unhappy and hides in her room. No one calls her to go out on the weekends. She comes home from a party and you can tell she has been drinking. She skips school. You feel she takes you for granted and is not grateful.
Yes, you are concerned for her. You worry about her. You want to do the right things for her. You want to help her in any way that you can.
But let’s take it deeper. How does her behavior impact you and your heart? What does this say about you as a mom?
After working with hundreds of moms I can tell you where you go.
You feel like a failure because your daughter is not perfect. This is so deep in our bones.
I realized last week at a retreat one of my blocks to finishing my book. Here is the thought that was stopping me. If I write a book for mothers of teenage daughters then my daughter and I need to be perfect examples.
When I was able to name the thought, I was so relieved. It’s ridiculous. There is no way I am going to be a perfect example and my daughter who is 18 is definitely not going to be a perfect example. And you wouldn’t want to read my book if I was perfect because it would make you feel worse about you and your daughter.
You lose your power and your authenticity when you feel like you have to be perfect. You start hiding because you don’t want anyone else to find out. Perfectionism robs you of joy and will take you directly to shame. I have seen such beautiful mothers break down in tears and tell me that they are terrible mothers. This is such a lie.
This pressure to be perfect plays mean. You or your daughter can get everything 99% right but if one percent is off perfectionism disqualifies you and the mean voice rides in.
Your daughter feels this too.
She feels the pressure to be perfect. Why do you think she stares at herself in the mirror all day long? She wants her hair to be perfect and to wear the right thing because a lot is at stake. She feels that if she doesn’t look perfect she will be excluded and end up one of the losers.
She may act like she doesn’t care about her grades but she does. She knows who the smart kids are. She is aware of where she ranks in class. And if she is less than perfect, your daughter will feel terrible about herself. Just like you, in the dark of night she is haunted by shame.
This insidious pressure to be perfect robs you and your daughter of enjoying your life together. It kills motivation because you feel it’s hopeless. It sets you up for drama and hurts your relationship. Both of you end up feeling like a failure.
There is another way. Thank God.
You and I are human. Our daughters are definitely human. The goal was never to be perfect.
The goal is to love our daughters and believe in them in their imperfections.
If you are looking for another way, I would love to help.
If you are interested in my 7 week program Power Your Parenting: How to Reconnect with Your Teenage Daughter and Reclaim Your Life hit reply.
This program is a roadmap a blueprint to navigating the teenage years and enjoying your daughter. It is designed to give you the information you need plus support from other moms and some individual support from me.