Trying to be the perfect mother or perfect girlfriend is an elusive goal that will give you undue and unnecessary stress. In other words; there is no such thing as the perfect mother or girlfriend. Truth is, humans are imperfect, and there's lots that we can learn from the foibles we make in life. As opposed to striving for perfection in motherhood or romantic relationships, strive to be a "good enough" mother and girlfriend, recommends psychotherapist and parent educator, Dr. Elaine Heffner.
1. Invest in Your Relationships
Being a “good enough” mother and girlfriend, as Heffner recommends, means taking the time to invest in these relationships. Investing in a relationship with your child means asking how her day went after school and spending quality time with her to learn of her personal interests. Investing in your romantic relationship means setting aside time for just you and your significant other to bond and share intimacy. While the responsibilities of motherhood – coupled with the duty of keeping the romance alive in a relationship – can be stressful, it’s important to make time to nurture these relationships that are important to you in your life.
Communicating with your child and your significant other in a healthy manner can make you a good – better yet – more effective mother and girlfriend. As your child’s first teacher, Mom, you are the most significant contributor to your little one’s worldview. As your child learns how to navigate in this world and makes plenty of mistakes in the process, it’s important for you to use effective communication to teach him the correct way of doing things, as opposed to using language that’s hurtful and punishes your little one. The same is true regarding communication between you and your significant other. If your goal is to strive to become a better girlfriend, be open and direct in your communication, and when conflicts arise, use techniques such as active listening and refraining from interrupting your partner when he’s speaking in order to effectively communicate.
3. Take Care of Home
Taking care of your home indicates that you’re a good enough mother and girlfriend. Your child deserves to live in a clean, orderly environment where she can feel safe and loved. Having a cleaning regimen will keep your home tidy and teach your child to maintain clean living spaces as well. Family routines, such having meals together or enjoying family fun night, are ways for you to ensure that you’re caring for and nurturing your family. Your partner will appreciate it when he enters a clean environment, too. He’ll also appreciate having a warm, loving person with a nice meal waiting for him when he’s had a miserable day. Taking care of home means doing your best to meet your family’s physical and emotional needs.
With all of the work you’re doing caring for others, it’s important for you to take the time to care for yourself in order to continue to be a good mother and girlfriend. Speaker and author Mia Redrick says, “Your self-care isn't negotiable, it is necessary to be the best mom possible,” which is the very thing you’re striving to be. Self-care means engaging in healthful activities that help you relieve stress and allow you to continue to grow as an individual. Exercise, spa treatments, hanging out with friends and taking yourself out on dates are helpful ways for you to care for yourself.
Accepting the fact that you're bound to make mistakes as a mother and in your romantic relationship can actually help you become a better mother and girlfriend. Author and speaker Ocean Robbins says that when you're overly critical of your performance -- in anything -- it leads to less confidence in yourself. Instead of being critical of your mistakes, Robbins suggests, it's more effective to use mistakes you've made as learning experiences that will adequately prepare you for future experiences. If you cooked a meal for your child and significant other that left something to be desired, don't beat yourself up and conclude that you're a bad cook. Grab a few cookbooks, practice some patience and keep practicing in the kitchen until your family can't live without your delicious meals.
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