The Candid Counselor

Helping individuals overcome anxiety, depression, and life's issues

Dr. Julia Becker

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Serving the greater Waco, TX area, including Woodway, Hewitt, Lorena, Bellmead, Robinson, and China Spring.

The Holidays are Hard for Perfectionist Moms

Posted by Dr. Becker Thursday, November 29, 2012 1 comments


bored_girl Perfectionist Moms, it’s hard enough to do what you do.  Every day is a new challenge, and there never seems to be enough time to get everything finished.  On top of the daily struggles, there are nagging thoughts about whether you are teaching the right values to your children and helping them grow into the adults you would like them to become.


Holidays add an extra layer to these difficulties.  Holiday traditions that were important in your family of origin seem important to pass down to your children.  Although these traditions are meant to be fun and joyful, they may not feel that way.  There is often a lot of anxiety about doing these traditions “right” and making sure everyone has fun.  High expectations can place a heavy burden on moms and take the joy out of activities.  When kids are whiny or unhappy, moms may be left wondering what they did wrong, and why they can’t be as good as their own moms were.


Furthermore, moms are often the ones who have to balance the needs of all family members, including extended family and in-laws.  Large gatherings of family members and limited time to spend with both sides of the family are common stresses that parents face during the holidays.  It’s impossible to please everyone all the time, and this fact is difficult for perfectionist moms to accept.  Perfectionist moms tend to focus on their limitations rather than what they are doing well.  Their goal of being a perfect mom is always just out of reach, and striving for that leads to frustration and negative feelings toward themselves.


Additionally, children are sensitive to their parent’s emotions, and they may act out or become stressed and irritable when they perceive that their parents are stressed and irritable.


Fortunately, many perfectionist moms are able to overcome perfectionist thinking and work toward becoming more content and happy.  Perfectionist moms work so hard to do things for their families.  When moms focus even a small amount of that energy on themselves, the benefits can be enormous.


Moms who attend counseling are often able to recognize and make changes to their perfectionist thinking.  Psychologists can help moms learn to manage stress in order to be happier and healthier.  These changes benefit moms, children, and other family members.


Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.



The holidays are approaching, and most college students are ready for some rest and relaxation.  Many plan to return to their parents’ homes for the month long holiday until the spring semester begins.  While these reunions can be joyful, they can also create a difficult adjustment for both students and their parents.


Common Difficulties:


Students have gotten used to having their freedom and functioning as adults.  Nobody asks them where they are going or asks them to be home at a certain time.  Parents may expect their children to follow a curfew or check in with them.


College is a time for students to develop independence and develop views separate from their parents.  During the first year, student’s views on  religion, politics, and other important life issues may have changed.  Students may expect to be able to express their new views at home as freely as they could during class.  When parents or siblings do not agree with these new views, arguments may result.


Students and parents may have different views on how the student should spend the holiday.  Students may go home expecting to relax the entire holiday season, while parents may be expecting their student to work or help out around the house.


Roles and rules have changed.  Younger siblings may have taken on new responsibilities and taken over space in the home that once belonged to the college student.  Each family member may have different expectations of how the returning college student will be integrated back into the family.  When these expectations are not met, tension can result.


Fall semester grades have come in, and students may not have performed as expected.  This can cause tension and arguing about what the student needs to do to improve.


How to Cope:

Anticipating these challenges and talking about expectations ahead of time may help prevent tension from developing.  Students and parents may wish to discuss curfews, schedules, use of the car, and other expectations.


Agree to disagree.  When it is clear that discussions are becoming heated, both parties can agree to drop the topic and move on.  Parents: Recognize that it is a good thing that your college student is learning to think for himself or herself.  Students: Recognize that it may be difficult for your parents to accept this new independent side of you, but be patient with them.


Students: Don’t forget about your siblings.  Try to understand how your absence and return may have affected them.  Talk to them ahead of time to see if there are any issues that need to be resolved prior to your return home.


If grades are a concern, set aside a time to discuss this.  Let the rest of the holiday be joyful and pleasant.  Parents: One discussion about grades will be more productive than many reminders about the student’s progress.


Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.