Perfectionist Traits In Motherhood

by Ann deBruyn

If you’re like most moms, you feel a lot of pressure to be a “good mom.”

From the memes on Instagram to the Facebook groups to the news articles to the books—there’s no shortage of opinions on how to parent your kids. And while most are well-intended, they often have the negative secondary effect of creating perfectionist moms.

What is a perfectionist mom, you ask? I’m so glad you want to know…

What Is A Perfectionist Mom?

Perfectionism in motherhood is the idea that you need to DO more in order to BE good enough. It’s the notion that how you are now is simply not good enough. You need to improve in order to be worthy of the mom that you are.

For example, you might think that you need to stop yelling at your kids in order to be a good mom.

While the goal to stop yelling is a valid aim, if you have your worth as a mom wrapped up in it, it’s a losing game.

The truth is that there’s nothing you need to DO in order to BE good enough. You already are 100% worthy of your life and the mom that you are.

But perfectionists don’t know this. They believe that if they could just get to the next best thing, they would be better.

If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll likely have some of the following traits.


  • Perfectionism In Motherhood (podcast)
  • 3 Steps To Reduce Anxiety For Moms (free class)

Signs You Might Be A Perfectionist Mom

The most common traits in moms who have perfectionist tendencies are:

  1. You never think you’re good enough.
  2. You’re always living in the future.
  3. You struggle to enjoy the present season.
  4. You think you need to change a few things about yourself to be a “good mom.”
  5. You don’t leave any room for mistakes.
  6. You judge yourself harshly.
  7. You compare yourself to other moms who are “better.”
  8. You constantly second guess your parenting decisions.
  9. You overreact and lose your cool often (because nothing is ever good enough).
  10. You try to control your kids because you think their behavior is a reflection of you as a mom.

Can you relate to this list? If so, it’s COMPLETELY understandable! In fact, it’s normal.

Click here to download my FREE 75 Journal Prompts For Moms.

The Cause Of Perfectionism

The reason why you have perfectionist tendencies is because your brain believes you’ll be better off “over there.” This is a survival mechanism.

Your brain scans your environment to assess the best way to go about living so that you have the best chances of surviving. This was really helpful when your survival was actually at risk. But now, as a modern mom in your suburban home, it’s not helpful. And instead causes anxiety and worry.

When your brain thinks that someone else’s way is better than the way you’re doing it now, it will try to “do better” so that you can “improve.”

I’m all for self improvement. The difference here, though, is that with perfectionists, you’re not improving from wholeness. You’re improving from lack. You think you’re wrong, broken, or need to do things better in order to be enough.

The biggest problem with this (aside from the fact it feels terrible) is that there’s no end to it. Because it’s a construct of your brain, your mind always finds something else to move toward. Once you stop yelling, it’s on to the next thing you need to do to be good enough.

And so you see, while perfectionism has its roots in a very worthy aim (wanting to keep you alive), it’s actually not useful in the world we live in now.


  • How To Cope With Negative Thoughts As A Mom (free class)
  • What Is Default Thinking? (podcast)

How To Let Go Of Perfectionism

The way you overcome perfectionist tendencies in motherhood is to become more mindful. You do this by changing your mindset and managing your emotions (I call it doing the inner work).

Here are my best resources for how to become a more mindful mom:

  1. Take my free class—How To Become A More Mindful Mom
  2. Listen to my podcast—Design Your Dream Life With Natalie Bacon (click here for Apple and here for Spotify)
  3. Join my community for moms—Grow You (a monthly membership where we do the inner work)
  4. Get my weekly mindfulness email—Thursday Inspo

When you solve perfectionism from the inside out, you solve it for good.

A Final Note

No one is ever perfect. And there is no one right way to be or parent.

When you can see that you’re a human being who will get it right a lot of the time and also mess up just as much and love yourself through all of it, then perfectionism fades away.

This is where you can start enjoying your life for what it is, as it is, right now. From there, you can grow—just for fun. Because that is what life’s all about.