Job Title: Perfect Mom
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
(This blog was created to be a tongue-in-cheek accompaniment to a talk we are giving on "Using Internal Family Systems to Heal Perfectionism". We hope it brings a smile to your face, even as you recognize yourself in these harsh descriptions of manager parts.)
Job Title: Perfect Mom (PM). Alternative titles: Overproducer, Overperfector, Overprotector.
Job description: PM contributes to the inner system by continuously and constantly scanning for danger. They must always be on the lookout for reasons that they might be abandoned, neglected, rejected or shamed. The PM must contribute daily to the mission of keeping shame out of awareness at all times. If the PM fails at their job, all hell will break loose!
PM has the following responsibilities and duties:
To please everyone around you, all the time. If anyone is unhappy, it’s on you.
Make sure whatever you say is articulate and coherent, at all times, even if you are talking to your one month old baby.
Writings should always be academic, in APA format, with proper citations. This includes your personal journal and baby books.
Produce 100 ounces/week of breastmilk. That stuff is liquid gold and should not be wasted. If you accidentally spill some, berate yourself so it never happens again.
Organize the baby’s nursery EVERY day. God forbid you lose that onesie that your mother-in-law gave you.
Make sure the mascara and blush are stocked at all times. This may seem like an administrative job, but it’s imperative that you look good on Zoom in that new mom’s group so nobody can see what’s really going on. You don’t want anyone to think you’ve gone crazy.
**Don’t forget how helpful flashcards are for your 3 month old!
If your baby cries, you should be able to make it stop. If you’re not, you must question what’s wrong with you.
The PM should have the following skills, education and experience:
Must be Self-Oriented and highly self-critical.
Must be Socially Prescribed. Needs to care what others think, all the time.
Must also be Other-Oriented. Has high expectations of others, or their shortcomings will be a reflection of you. (Who are we kidding, they ARE a reflection of you!)
Must be Overt. We need to see your ducks in a row at.all.times.
Must be a whiz at social media. All photos must be insta-worthy!!
Optional: may be Covert. But honestly, if you hide how perfect you are, then maybe you’re not perfect at all, and this job isn’t for you.
A lifetime of criticism, from parents, friends, and conditioning from a racist, patriarchal, individualistic and materialistic culture.
The Internal System will provide the following compensation:
Salary: this job is priceless. You’ll do it for free, whether you want to or not.
Medical benefits - none, but may cause some medical issues.
Note of caution: Should the Self (the Big Cheese) become aware of you and decide to get to know you, you may be subject to a whole bunch of love, appreciation and compassion, and if you’re really lucky, a sense of belonging. You may not need to do all of the above quite as passionately as you did in the past, and you may get a break to go play in the park and have an ice cream cone!
Written by Rebecca Geshuri, LMFT, PMH-C