Updated: Feb 3, 2021
Everyone else is holding it together in their Insta-perfect homes; they’re all up and dressed before breakfast, hair neatly coiffed, make up on, kids busily engaged in home-learning whilst their perfectly manicured mumbots spin all the plates with grace and ease. All is calm, effortless - picture perfect.
Meanwhile, I look at myself. It’s 10:30 and I’m still in my pyjamas (when did I last wash my hair?), the kids are half naked, their toys are e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e…. Lego, puzzles, dolls, cars, the entire contents of the play kitchen strewn across the floor. It looks as if the place has been ransacked by burglars!
It’s all too much.
God it’s a mess! Look at the state of this place! Look at the state of me. I can’t do this. I’m failing. I’m letting my kids down. They deserve better than this. Why is it all so hard?
Sound familiar? Breathe mama, breathe. Close your eyes and take a long, slow, deep inhale through your nose - fill your lungs and then, slowly exhale through softly parted lips. Drop your shoulders. Relax your forehead. Smile. You’ve got this. Trust me.
Reality check: these images of supposed perfection are simply snapshots in time; staged to capture a seemingly perfect moment. An ideal that we mere mortals cannot possibly live up to. They make us question why our homes are so chaotic, why our own children have the attention span of a gnat and can’t even focus on their dinner - and how on earth other families seem to manage, yet here we are, drowning in a sea of miserable mum guilt and failure.
It’s time for an alternative perspective - one that reflects reality. You are not alone. It’s time to drop perfection and reset your expectations: this is lockdown!
Here are my top 5 tips to help you do just this:
1) Use this affirmation: ”I ask for help. I drop perfection.” Write it in your journal, stick it on your fridge, save it as your screen saver... We're not meant to do this on our own. What do you need help with? Who could you call on for support?
2) Could your partner do a bit more to help you out? Share the load a bit more equally, if you don't already. Make sure you get a break during the day ~ even if it’s just five minutes’ peace ~ this can be a total game changer.
3) Encourage your children to take age-appropriate responsibility for a few jobs around the house, e.g. tidying their toys, loading/unloading the washing machine, laying the table, putting away their clothes, watering the house plants... Make it fun/turn it into a game ~ could there be a reward at the end of the day/week to keep them motivated?
4) Where could you lower your standards a little? May you know that your home does not have to be Insta-perfect! I really doubt that anyone's truly is right now... Sometimes, the only person judging you is.... you.
5) Find your tribe. Find a safe online space to have a rant, vent your frustrations, share your woes - and be honest! They say that a problem shared is a problem halved. Check out Five Minutes’ Peace: a private, safe and supportive community designed to encourage you to take regular mindful breaks, catch your breath and reconnect to you.
Here, you’ll be supported to develop practices which encourage you to: feel fully present and connected to yourself and your loved ones; identify your priorities; set specific intentions and action steps to keep you motivated and making progress on your goals and dreams - yes, even in the middle of a national lockdown; free up time and space to rest, relax and have fun in the process and discover daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal rituals and practices to help you reflect and reset as you flow through life with more ease, peace and joy.
I really hope you find these tips helpful! Why not help others to feel less isolated by sharing photos of your perfectly imperfect reality on social media, using the hashtag #lockdownreset - remember to tag me: @iamhelenwright so I can share in my IG Stories. Let’s lift each other up and remind ourselves that we are not alone.