Have you ever asked yourself what really makes you unique? Is it your personality? Your looks? Your thoughts? Your habits?
I believe that as people we all have a unique blend of features that include all the above and we’re all beautiful in our own way. I think most people would agree with this.
But it feels like we live in a culture where being a certain way is deemed better: being extrovert, being organized, being dynamic, being active, the list could go on.
There’s this culture of perfectionism, comparison, and categorization. This seems to be especially true in the mum culture.
I see this perfectionism in the pursuit for perfect pictures to portray the perfect life on Instagram. I see it in the culture of “the perfect mummy does x, y and z”.
And I see it in this idea that as a mum you have to be in a certain camp: breastfeeding versus bottle feeding; baby wearing versus buggy using; working parents versus full-time homemaker; tiger mum versus zen mum; helicopter mum versus free-range mum.
Why Unique Mums?
I think it’s important to understand that there isn’t an ideal personality or parenting approach and that perfection is not attainable this side of heaven.
I also think it’s true that we don’t fit into perfectly arranged boxes, wrapped up with labels, but that we’re all deeply complex in our uniqueness.
I, for one, have never liked it when I’ve felt other people label me or put me in a box. When I was a young mum people might have defined me as: Anna is a baby-wearing, pro-breastfeeding, stay-at-home mum. Because I did those things and I believed in the benefits of my own choices.
But what about all the complexities of that?
Yes, I breastfed my kids exclusively, but I wouldn’t deem bottle-feeding as bad. Yes, I was a stay-at-home mum for almost seven years, but I also worked part-time at home as a freelancer, for at least half of that time.
Yes, I did babywearing, but I also used the buggy. In fact, I used it more!
Of course, that’s not to say that as people and as mums, we don’t have general features that are obvious to those around us.
I just mean that putting labels on ourselves and others is not beneficial in being open to the complexities of who we are.
On that note, have you ever done a personality quiz and felt frustrated because you didn’t resonate with any of the options? Or have you felt like answering “well it depends!”? This has happened to me more times than I can count.
That’s not to say that I think these personality quizzes are useless! I do think they’re beneficial in giving an idea of a person’s general characteristics. And I have also benefited from doing them.
I just think they fail to go deeper and that we’re not limited by them.
How about you? What’s your experience with this? Do you agree with my position on “uniqueness”?
Let me know, please! 🙂
Want more content about the mother culture of perfectionism? Check out Does the Perfect Mother exist?