kids

I used to want to be a “perfect mom.”

Before the 3 you see up top, I’d fantasize about life with kids. I could smell the fresh baked cookies as I pulled them out of the oven, my hair perfectly coiffed. Somehow, I managed to look motherly yet sexy wearing a ruffly apron and high heels (red).

Sort of like her (except picture her with a tray of cookies):

1940s vintage illustration of a woman in an apron carring a dish of food, homemaker_thumb[3]

My children would be well groomed, always. They’d have impeccable manners saying things like “may I be excused,” so that other adults would look upon me with admiration. “Why your children have such good manners,” they’d praise. At home, my adorable children would sit quietly for hours entertaining themselves, paging through Little Golden books.

See how these children play? Kind of like that…  (Except omit the dog. We don’t have a dog):

doctor-dan-cover

7 years, one set of twins and another surprise later, let’s just say things didn’t turn exaaaaactly how I imagined.

Perfectionism.

We compare ourselves to an idea of “perfect” in our heads – perfect mother, perfect child, perfect husband, perfect ass.

Then we set ourselves (and the other people in our lives) up for failure over and over again because (duh!) it’s impossible to EVER measure up to this idea of perfect in our heads.

Straight out of the gate, I was confronted by the fact that I didn’t measure up to my image of “perfect mother.” Nor did my babies for that matter.

After the twins were born…

Home from the hospital, sleep deprived and surrounded by breast pump equipment, bottles, feeding schedules, diapers, formula, nursing pads, pacifiers and books titled things like What to Expect the First Year, I sat there staring at these two flawless beings.

And it hit me.

A “perfect” mother would be happy gazing upon these babies. But the truth is I didn’t feel happy.

I felt tired, overwhelmed and ashamed. Plus, nobody told me these little people would cry SO much!

So for the first few years, I tried like hell to measure up to this happy, sexy, motherly, cookie baking, lipstick wearing idol in my mind, constantly falling short — silently resentful when those babies didn’t sit quietly with their Little Golden Books.

Until I realized that this “perfect mother” in my head, along with those “perfect children” of my imagination, were a product of too much talk radio, too much “Brady Bunch” and “Leave it to Beaver” combined with an unsolicited subscription to Victoria’s Secret magazine.

Once I realized that the “perfect mother” of my imagination was just one person’s arbitrary blend of cultural memes , I felt liberated to throw her away and just be me. Once I released my attachment to the idea that my children should look and behave like Doctor Dan, I gave them the space to just be them.

Perfectionism is based on the assumption that YOU don’t cut the mustard, as is. But when you allow an arbitrary blend of cultural, political, religious and family standards to define what matters, you run the risk of always being disappointed — in yourself, in you kids, in your body, in your life.

The truth is you do cut the mustard. You came out of the womb cutting the mustard (well, not literally).

Nowadays, I’m fully aware that I’m not much like the “perfect mother” in my head. Some days it’s fun to wear red high heels anyway. Some days I rock the mom thing by being the opposite of my “perfect mother” fantasy, other days I could stand to channel a little more Carol Brady when interacting with my kids.

The bottom line is it’s all good because I don’t have to fit any mold. And my kids don’t have to either. Nor does my ass for that matter.

Which ends up being kind of perfect, doesn’t it?

amyandkids

Today’s post on perfectionism is part of an awesome blog tour headed up by my friend and colleague, Andrea Owen of Your Kick-Ass Life. Starting February 1st she’s hosting something amazing: The Kick-Ass Courage Project: 7 Day Challenge. She’s challenging women just like you to do two Very Important Things. 1) Start cultivating self kindness and self compassion (aka stop being such a bitch to yourself) and 2) Start practicing “being enough”. The Challenge is totally free and Andrea’s hope is that she can shift two very important aspects of your life in 7 days. Click here to sign up! 

KickassCourageBlogTour-InPage1

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Why Good Things Terrify Normal People

by Amy on January 14, 2015

Photo on 1-9-15 at 1.16 PM

I remember the first time I filled a group-coaching program. My first ever five figure launch! I‘d been dreaming of it for years but when it actually happened…

I was thrilled for like a day and then terror set in.

Has this ever happened to you? That thing you’ve worked so hard for, that thing you’ve dreamed about, visualized, pray rain journaled about… finally happens and before you can finish that glass of champagne… TERROR.

And then you start wishing you could go back to the old days when everything was quiet, predictable, and most of all, comfortable.

The terror you feel comes courtesy of “The Voice.” (Queue sound effects: da da daaaaaaaa.)

When good things happen, “The Voice” will stop at nothing to offer any combination of the following 3 Big Buts…

“Yeah but…”

(Insert excuse.)

Yeah but you’re too old, too fat, too thin, too poor, too brown. Yeah but it’s already been done, yeah but you have nothing new to say, yeah but you don’t have the right credentials….

Then there’s “But what if…?”

(Insert anything that could possibly go wrong.)

What if people laugh?

What if nobody comes?

What if they hate it?

What if there’s a typo?

And the last Big But … this is the one “The Voice” likes to use to close the deal:

“But. You. Will. Fail.”

When I filled my program, THIS is what was going through my head:

Yeah but…

… who are you to be leading this group?

… what makes you so special?

What if…

… they don’t see the value in this program?

… they hate it?

… they hate you?

… they want their money back?

And of course but…

You. Amy Pearson. Will. Fail.

So here’s the thing you need to know about “The Voice:”

It never goes away.

There will always be fear. It will always be uncomfortable. There is never a point when you will have your shit totally together.

I don’t care how much coaching, talk therapy, meditation or yoga you do; the idea that you can eliminate fear from your life is a dangerous expectation that will keep you forever on the sidelines. [Tweet that!]

The obstacle is the way.” That’s Ryan Holiday. “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.” That’s Joseph Campbell.

So I acknowledged the discomfort. Said hello to it. And I thanked “The Voice” for its input. Then I ran my program anyway. Because avoiding the fear would have been the REAL failure.

Nobody asked for their money back.

Nobody told me they hated it.

Nobody told me they hated me.

And I SO did NOT fail.

So stop letting The Voice keep you from really living “your one wild and precious life,” get out there and feel it all, the good, the bad and the terrifying.

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Social proof sucks until you have it

January 5, 2015

I’m a student of marketing so I know about “social proof”… / Social Proof / The positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something. The fact is people find you more believable and trustworthy when other people say nice things about you. Doh! (This sends me right down the Approval bunny […]

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3 Things to Do When Your Soul Demands Inconvenient Change

December 31, 2014

Work — my passion, my calling, one of my greatest joys — hasn’t been feeling so joyful for a while. Months. Logically this makes no sense. I have the most incredible clients on the planet. I absolutely love my team. I actually help people and get paid for it. What is off? What is wrong?? […]

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The Yoga of Doing Hard Shit

December 17, 2014

I just got back from a yoga retreat where I did some of the hardest yoga of my life. Sure reverse triangle is a challenging pose… But Kundalini Yoga is a whole different kind of hard. It’s the oldest kind of yoga. The idea is to get energy lying around the base of your spine […]

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And Now Yoga…

December 3, 2014

I just got back from a week in Costa Rica doing yoga with a bunch of people in recovery from addiction. Yep. Addiction. Tommy Rosen, in his new book, “Recovery 2.0,” defines addiction as the habit of doing the same thing over and over again despite negative consequences. So before you write yourself off… ask […]

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How Amy Got Her Groove Back

November 19, 2014

A few weeks ago I disclosed something that a lot of life coaches don’t admit… Depression. Some people say this “label” is unhelpful. I actually disagree. Call it what you want, telling the truth about how I was feeling instead of denying it or hiding it helped me to figure out what I needed to […]

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don’t let this wait too long [interview]

November 10, 2014

Ever worried about a client asking for her money back? Wonder if you need to trademark your biz name? LLC, sole proprietorship or is it better to incorporate? These are all questions I wish I would have worried about a lot earlier in my biz. I want to introduce you to my legal gal, Genavieve […]

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13 Things to Try When You’re Depressed (HINT: It’s NOT Gratitude)

October 29, 2014

Lately I’ve been sad for no reason. Sometimes so sad I don’t even want to move. My kids are healthy and happy. My husband loves me. Business is thriving. It’s easy to feel like a fraud when you’re a life coach who gets depressed. What with all the perky proclamations of gratitude, blissed out yoginis […]

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Chronic Self Doubt, Why It’s a Chick Thing

October 15, 2014

At the Vancouver Peace Summit in 2009 the Dalai Lama, speaking to a panel of female peace prize laureates, said, “the world will be saved by western women.” Western Women? I’m a master certified life coach with a very full practice in my 7th year of business — I talk to “western women” every day– […]

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