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To the perfectionist mom feeling like a failure—you are more amazing than you think

If you could only see yourself through the eyes of these people who love you most, you would understand.

To the perfectionist mom feeling like a failure—you are more amazing than you think

It was only when I started having panic attacks that I realized my efforts to order my life with exacting precision were an attempt to make me feel safe in a world that felt threatening. No amount of organizing, planning, or sacrificing sleep for productivity could keep people I loved from dying or help me learn to love myself.


All the volunteering and detailed homeschool plans, the freshly baked muffins and constant cleaning could not shelter me from the reality that I was imperfect and so afraid. That I didn't believe I had what it takes.

It took a trip to the emergency room and a thoughtful doctor for me to admit that I was not truly in control at all. That my efforts to hold on tight, to control or even manipulate, to suppress all my feelings, were stopping me from truly living.

Perfectionism was simply one of the ways, among many, that I self-medicated. It robbed me of joy. It held me back from even dreaming about the work I longed to do. It kept me hidden and ashamed. And yes, it did hurt the people I loved most in the world.

And once that self-protection opened up, the pain hit fierce and fast. But it was only then that I began to truly live.

Because here is the truth: I am imperfect and I am beautiful.

Life is scary and sometimes painful but it is also dripping in breathtaking beauty and possibility. And we cannot have one without the other.

To the perfectionist mom feeling like a failure today: you are more amazing than you think.

It is not perfection that makes you lovable.

It is not your ability to perform or keep up that determines your worth.

And all the times you have yelled or panicked or prioritized appearance over relationship— they do not diminish the truth that you are also a wonderful mom. Imperfect and beautiful.

If you could only see yourself through the eyes of these people who love and need you most, you would understand. They don't judge you for your flaws or need you to be perfect.

They are ready to forgive and offer you the same grace you pour out for them when they fall. They see what you don't see: You are amazing.

There is no magic pill for learning to walk free of perfectionism. It requires showing up each day and practicing. But there are a few shifts that have helped me along the way.

I made the decision to love myself: all the beautiful and the broken bits. To treat myself, speak to myself, with kindness and compassion. I want my kids to see that I delight in them for who they are not what they achieve, but this must begin with me.

I began to get honest about my addictions and my fears and to ask for what I need. This has been hard work and I am still learning vulnerability, embracing my limitations, and practicing healthy ways to calm anxiety.

I (tentatively) learned to trust the journey. Looking back, I can see how far I have come and how so many of the most amazing gifts in my life are far more beautiful than I could have ever planned for myself. I begin and end each ordinary day with gratitude and show up each day with joyful curiosity.

Landing in the emergency room that day, hooked up to heart monitors, was not a failure on my part. All the times since then, that perfectionism had me hiding under the covers, freaking out over messes, or doubting my ability—I am not a failure in these moments either.

I am in the game. Showing up each day. Choosing to fight for life even though I am afraid.

I am modeling to my children what it looks like to be an imperfect but beautiful human being who tries and fails, who risks and soars. A mom who forgives and asks forgiveness as many times as is necessary; who grieves and wrestles but does not give up.

You are not a failure either. And you are far more amazing than you think.

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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