Parenting Stress and the Pressure to be a Perfect Parent

I know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.  I know that every parent has bad days when things go wrong.  But still, that doesn’t help me feel any better.  I feel like I need to be the perfect parent in order to be good enough.

This pressure results in more parenting stress than I need.  And no one in my life is putting this pressure on me.  I do it to myself.

I came home from Strong Start earlier today feeling like a completely inadequate and overwhelmed mom.  In fact, I paused while writing my blog post yesterday to just cry for a while… and spent the rest of the day feeling like a terrible mother.  If I were a better mom, I’d be able to handle Strong Start like a super star.  I wouldn’t have felt like an overwhelmed mom who just wanted to go curl up in a ball and hide in a corner.  If I were a better mom, I’d have been able to do something as simple as toddler time at the library without taking my kid to the hospital.

Those just feel like massive fails, like I’m somehow unfit.

Every single time I do these things, I feel like Norton deserves better than what I can give him.  I feel like maybe if I were a better mom, he’d be talking and none of these things would be an issue.

It hurts.  It hurts to know that what I’m doing isn’t good enough.

I should be able to do those things.  I should be able to sit down with Norton and do some kind of amazing arts and crafts project using finger paints, a glue stick, and a tube of toilet paper.  I should be making cookies and cooking in the kitchen with him.  And I should do these things without ever feeling frazzled.  And have an immaculate house.  And make dinner every night from scratch with nothing coming from the freezer or a box.  I should be able to do these things.

Isn’t that what a stay at home mom is supposed to do?

Instead, I find that it’s a struggle to do even half of those things.  Doing things like the library and Strong Start are important if I want to help Norton get past his toddler language delay.  I should read with him more.  I should sit on the floor and play with him more.

And I realize that I’m being unreasonable in what I expect of myself.  I know that I cannot be a perfect parent.  I know that if I could let go of my perfectionism, I wouldn’t feel so much parenting stress.  Maybe I could be a better mom then.  Right now, though, I just feel like a huge failure.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. The fact you feel such is proof what a great mom you are. He’s lucky to have a momma that feels he deserves more.



  1. […] needed to get all of that worry and frustration out.  I know that it’s not possible to be a perfect parent.  Instead of focusing on all the things that I can’t do, I just need to suck it up and focus […]

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