Who is the perfect mum?


After 32 hours, she arrives!

After 32 hours, she arrives!

Mothering in the modern day is not easy. The pressure to be perfect is enormous. Every mother I know is trying to do the best by her children. Every mother I know is under pressure. Every mother I know feels at times that she is failing in a certain area. And every mother I know suffers from guilt from time to time. No mother I know thinks she is perfect.

So, who is the perfect mum and what does she do? Let’s have a look at the “profile” of a perfect mum. You may also know her as “Supermum.”

The perfect mum starts off doing everything perfectly, of course. She:

Gives birth naturally, calmly refusing pain relief and you never hear her complain about childbirth scars.

Takes time off from work in the early years to dedicate herself entirely to the needs of her family, sacrificing her career  without resentment.

Is a calm and confident mother and makes parenting look easy.

Breastfeeds her children until they are two and supplements with organic, home-made food.

Never misses kinder duty, gymnastics, Aus kick or music lessons, and attends every school concert and ballet performance.

Sits on the school and kinder committees and attends every fundraising event. In fact she is probably so good at it she’s President.

Enjoys reading the same book over and over and over to her children and never skips a reader. Ever.

Manages to look effortlessly good and maintains an impeccably organised home.

Is the queen of crafts, baking and creative-play with her children. She limits screen time to educational shows and never uses it as a babysitter.

Spends endless hours on the floor with her pre-schoolers without complaint. She doesn’t get bored of puzzles or blocks.

Gives equal time to each child, ensuring she has ‘one-on-one’ time with each child.

Devotes energy into exploring their unique talents; exposing them to wide range extra curricular activities, but not over-doing it.

Never shouts or raises her voice at the kids. She sees defiance as “exuberance” and tantrums as “frustration”.

Never bribes her children or resorts to threats or punishment.

Greets her husband warmly and affectionately when he arrives home from work. She’s never angry, tired or resentful.

Can bake, kick a footy and teaches her kids a musical instrument and a second language.

Never complains that half the sandpit is in her house; that the laundry pile is exploding; that she’s covered in milk and vomit; that she has to change ANOTHER nappy; that she’s only had 3 hours sleep; and she certainly never threats that if she doesn’t get a minute to herself she’s going to walk out….

Can you tick all these boxes? No? Good, because on a good day I’d be happy if I ticked two.

The ‘perfect’ mum does not exist. She is a myth. She is a figment of our imaginations and the messages and pressures we receive from the media.

The ‘wonderful’ mum does one thing, and one thing well.

She loves her family.

It’s that simple.

And I bet you all tick that box.

Do you feel under pressure to be the perfect mum? Do  you ever feel like parenting/mothering has become a competitive sport?


  1. says

    I feel the pressure immensly and my baby is only 9 weeks old. I already failed though cos I had an emergency c-section. I ended up with pnd because I was so stressed out and depressed that I wasnt able to do it all. Im a lot less worried about being perfect now.

  2. hannah says

    Great article!
    I wish the word “perfect” was removed from our vocabulary all together. Perfection is a myth and it is most certainly unattainable. There is no such thing and parents could do with this reminder often.

  3. says

    bahahahah so funny. I bet there’s a woman out there somewhere managing to hold all that together…and then one day she just spontaneously combusts from all the pressure!!! I like Hannah’s comment above. I think perfect, rather than be removed, should not be applied to things people do or who people are. There can be a perfect storm and certain things can be perfect at a moment in time but people certainly aren’t perfect. And by striving to be we are killing ourselves oh so nice and slowly.

  4. Lindy says

    Hehe! Yes, I remind myself daily of (and am ever grateful for) Winnicott’s idea of the “good enough” mother! That’ll do me :)

    • says

      Good enough suits me just fine too, Lindy! In fact I am just striving for survival at the moment in our sick household. And you’re a pretty darn good “good enough” mother x

  5. says

    You are exactly right. It’s an unhealthy pursuit and will only lead to misery. No one is perfect but yes, there are perfect combinations in life, like tea and tim tams, or brie and baguette….. :-)

  6. Anna says

    Mothering in this day and age is certainly different to being a mother in the past. I speak to some mothers of grown-up children and they talk about how everyone was a mum with everyone else. All the mums were on the committees together and met together so that children could play together. Working mothers were rare and there was a community of mothers for mothers. Everyone watched their own and each others’ children grow. Today, it is very hard to pay a mortgage on one income and many mothers are lucky to have any family to help them, let alone a community. I think this day and age, mothers can be very lonely indeed; all striving to achieve something that they think other mothers are achieving and only promoting their successes, thereby accuentuating the myth that all mothers are striving to. If that makes sense. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a breath of fresh air to read your blog for its frankness and openness.

  7. says

    Yes, it makes, “perfect” sense…! You have articulated so clearly the differences between then and now. My mum often comments about how much harder it seems today. I think things were simpler then and they all belonged to a community, lending a hand and focussing on connection as opposed to competition (as it can sometimes appear today). Anna, I am reading a fascinating book at the moment which I think you would love. It’s called UNDER PRESSURE by Carl Honore. I’ll be writing a review on it soon but don’t wait – go out and get it. It’s not so much a parenting guide but a parenting philosophy – a new way of thinking. Inspiring. And thank you for your lovely comments about my blog. I aim to be open if nothing else….

  8. says

    To my 4 year old, the perfect mum is someone who gives him cuddles when he wakes up in the morning, puts on a special superhero bandage whenever he scrapes his knee, lets him have a piece of chocolate if he finishes his lunch without complaining about the vegies, reads to him his favourite book 5 times in a row without sighing, takes an active part his imaginary games and gives him a kiss + one last cuddle before he drifts off to sleep at night :)

    P/S : I wish that us mums should stop comparing ourselves with each other. We know that there is no such thing as supermum. She may look like she has it altogether on the outside but no one truly knows what goes on behind closed doors.

    P/P/S : I love your humour in this post

    • says

      He is a lucky boy! And yes, we are perfect in the eyes of our children, except when we make them eat cold peas! I too wish we would stop comparing. It’s so unhelpful and, as you point out, there’s a big difference between perception and reality.

      PS. Glad you enjoy my humour. Sometimes my kids just don’t get it :-)
      PPS. I love imaginary games too.

    • says

      Superhuman that’s for sure. Imagine how tired you’d be? Oh that’s right, she doesn’t complain about being tired even if she is! My hubby wouldn’t mind if I took a leaf out of her book and greeted him with affection instead of instruction when he walks through the door!! :-)

  9. jill says

    “Scandavanian countries have the right idea about schooling. ” I agree but are not a Scandinavian country and if you have a Scandinavian philosophy in the uk when everyone else’s doesn’t, surely your child will get left behind academically?