“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.” Ann Lamot
When I was pregnant with K, I started spending lots of time on instagram and pinterest. Eventually, I started down the proverbial rabbit hole of the braid world. Tousled blond bombshells with braids tumbling down their backs, crowns of twists sans bumps or imperfections–and to top it all off–moms that made beautiful locks look effortless and unintentionally stunning.
Naturally I dreamt that I would be able to recreate this flawless creations and began experimenting to keep my nesting habits at bay in the last few months of pregnancy. I watched videos, I bought products, I craned my neck in awkward positions in an effort to look like the images I devoured on my screen.
In some ways, I think was an effort to take control of one aspect of my looks while I was pregnant and everything around me was changing on a daily basis, especially my expanding waistline. This gave me the opportunity to feel some sense of control when my body was not my own. But no matter how many videos I watched and how many times I tried to imitate the perfect waterfall braid, mine just weren’t perfect.
Pieces would fall out, bumps would creep out of an otherwise decent braid, my hair wasn’t down to my butt (as I soon realized extensions were to blame for the Rapunzel effect) and all this added up to yet another mark against my vanity. But, I stuck with it. I decided that my braids would just be an external version of the me I was carrying inside, one that has flaws and isn’t retouched and makes mistakes.
In some silly way, I feel like my exploration through the braid world has taught me a lot about letting go of my perfectionism–a lesson that I have learned HARD as a mother. I make a lot of mistakes as a mom. Everyday. But I’m doing the best I can and I’m learning not to take every misstep to heart, even though this motherhood business is the most personal venture of my entire life. It breaks me down daily. But in learning to be okay with the imperfections, I’ve started to find my own way. I’ve stopped looking at social media and the image of motherhood it portrays as the expectation. And in letting go of my own expectations, about my braids, about motherhood, about what parenting looks like, I’ve become supremely happy with my own little version of perfect.
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