Wabi Sabi: Embracing Imperfect Motherhood

We live in a time where we're bombarded by images of perfection: glossy magazine covers, Facebook mommy groups, TV commercials, even the bright Instagram feeds we scroll through as we feed our babies in the wee hours of the morning. Smiling moms and their impeccably dressed babies, spotless living rooms with white furniture, arts and crafts projects for every holiday, you get the point. As much as I try not to let it permeate into my subconscious, it seeps in and the insecurity shows up when I least expect it.

Recently, I read a great article on the Japanese concept of wabi sabi. I wish I had bookmarked it, I would've linked to it here. For those not familiar, you can read Wikipedia's definition. It focuses on finding beauty and peace in the challenges of life, in our own imperfections, and in embracing the natural cycles of growth and change. Basically, wabi sabi is the opposite of everything I feel like I need to be: busy, stimulated, and perfect.

Photo by  Tim Wright  on  Unsplash

Photo by Tim Wright on Unsplash

It gives me the freedom to acknowledge my shortcomings as a mother, a wife, and human. With that freedom, I can (in theory) let go of the guilt that often comes with my shortcomings. To clarify: trying to embrace imperfections does not mean that I don't want to strive for excellence. Instead, I believe that it forces me to accept what's true. By acknowledging my shortcomings, I feel I'm better able to work towards my goals. Knowing my strengths and weaknesses is empowering, and it helps me come up with a plan 

So what can you do to accept yourself, quirks and all?

Shift your perspective

Photo by  Aperture Vintage  on  Unsplash

Reframing your circumstances can offer you another viewpoint that may not have been in your immediate thoughts. It can also help you let go of what you are holding on to. Didn't get a chance to finish folding that mountain of laundry? You did get to spend your time sleeping/destressing/playing with your children. Ordered out again? Less dishes to do!

Take a deep breath

If the guilt is particularly bad, focusing on your breathing forces you to focus on yourself. Intentional breathing can work wonders during many situations in a woman's life: labor, if anxiety gets very bad, or even calming yourself down before accomplishing something you are afraid of.

Let go of perfection

This is a big one to practice and it's definitely easier said than done. It's especially hard for me to let go of wanting to please everyone. It can be very helpful for me to focus on making progress - little improvements add up to a significant change. Seek balance over perfection. 

Figure out what is important to you

I'm a list maker. Writing things down helps me prioritize tasks and focus my energies on what is truly important to me. Motherhood is no exception. A daily list of chores and things that need to get done make me more efficient. Making sure the kids are content and safe is always number 1, and everything else comes afterwards. 


Do you embrace imperfect motherhood? Share what helps you in the comments.