Why I’m lowering my ridiculously high standards. For motherhood, housework, Instagram, everything.


Last month, one Sunday evening, I had a slight meltdown and sobbed to Hubby. I was exhausted and experiencing burnout from a hectic weekend in which we had the twins 6th birthday, their party and my parents staying, on top of the usual jobs (uniform, homework etc).

I was basically dashing around aiming to please everyone else/serve them/care for them and had reached maximum tiredness. I had totally neglected myself and my needs.

This wasn’t just a frantic weekend and a one-off though; this is representative of me. I will run around making sure everybody else is happy, content, comfortable, satisfied, that I’ll end up missing out on the enjoyment of said moment.

It’s all rather foolish really, because no one is demanding this of me; there’s absolutely no pressure whatsoever from my partner, family or friends. This is in my own head. I guess, inherently, it comes down to the fact that I’m striving to create ‘perfection’ and work damn hard in order to achieve it.

This is indicative of other areas of my life too. I have the same ridiculously high standards throughout motherhood, marriage, blogging & social media, housework, fitness, relationships. Working hard over the years to aim to keep every area as perfect as possible; striving to be the best I can be.

But ticking all of the boxes at once merely isn’t feasible.

Nor is it realistic.

Or enjoyable.

I have thus been doing a great deal of personal reflection and contemplation, and realised that going forward I’d like to adapt my thinking. Specifically in lowering these crazy high standards, because they’re unfair and set so high that I’m always inevitably going to fail at something.

my-high-life-standards my-high-life-standards

So in the last few weeks, for work, I have adopted a more laissez-faire approach to it all. I’m over (and done) with trying to emulate others’ success. I have thus stripped it all back to understanding what makes ME happy, which, (like I said recently) is the writing. What I am producing already feels more genuine and honest, as well as more fun.

I’ve also stopped myself getting sucked into creating (and looking at) unrealistic content on Instagram. I have consequently started posting photos that I like to share and putting out material that I know may ‘not do as well’. It’s actually the most liberating feeling, plus I’m creatively satisfied again.

On Instagram Stories I’m not staged; I’m myself. As well as shouting about when I’ve had a great day I’ll also thoroughly moan when I’m tired, or slag Hubby off when he’s getting on my nerves. Because that is an accurate representation of my life, rather than only picking out the glossy — and perfect — parts.

At home I have aimed to step right back too. I’ve planned in to do a few hours cleaning/tidying a week and that’s it. No faffing in-between. No stress. Dave and I have shared out key jobs and he’s taken joint responsibility. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get down to the low standards he has for the cleanliness of our home (lol) but I’m now happy to meet him somewhere in the middle.

For motherhood — and this is the most important one — I’m not yelling at my kids any longer. I’ve realised, “what’s the point?”. I’m letting them make mess, be silly and giving them more freedom. We laugh more. I let lots of trivial things go. It feels a calmer home already.

And when we do have family/guests to stay I’ve decided that I’ll go with the flow of the weekend, as well as adopting a more relaxed approach to hosting.

This change in mindset hasn’t worked out all of the time yet though. It’ll take a lot of continued effort, of course, but I am fully committed. I’m well up for feeling like a more relaxed, fun and happy Jess. I like her already.

I’ll also look forward to letting the perfectionist crown slip off and fall away from my head much more, and (most importantly) to care far, far less about the consequences of that.

It’s endearing. It’s real life.

Love, Jess x

Jess Soothill

Jess is a Mother of twins, blogger and writer.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook


  1. October 8, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    Yes! I can’t ever achieve perfection in every area of my life. Mostly, I accept that my house is a tip. And that’s ok.

    • Jess
      October 9, 2018 / 12:05 pm

      I love that! You’re right, it’s unachievable and unhealthy to try to create it. We do have to say “meh” more and let it go. x

  2. October 8, 2018 / 9:15 pm

    Love this Jess, I’m guilty of exactly the same thing and when I step back and look at it all, I’m the one piling on the pressure no-one else xx

    • Jess
      October 9, 2018 / 12:07 pm

      It IS mostly derived from our own pressures. Why do we do it though? Such an interesting debate. We need to care a little less and have more fun.
      Thanks for commenting and reading x

  3. October 8, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    Great post Jess and totally hear you! I have taken a step back lately and tried to readdress the pressure I have been placing on myself, at work, home, blog/social and yes motherhood. It’s very hard and have to remind myself each day. As will you – I’m sure. Good luck and lots of love xxx

    • Jess
      October 9, 2018 / 12:10 pm

      It’s crazy hard. Striving to be perfect in all those areas is not healthy and yet we do it, because we feel as though we should/have to. I find that if I’m doing well in one area (i.e. motherhood) I’m then failing at work and vice versa. It’s like a see-saw.
      Lowering my standards for my work, for housework etc is definitely making me feel calmer and able to deal with life better.

  4. October 9, 2018 / 11:16 am

    I’m with you! I suggest we go in to semi-hibernation for the autumn/winter months. I need to learn to give myself a break, too. I’m getting better at it, but then the guilt at not throwing myself in to everything at one million miles an hour kicks in.

    • Jess
      October 9, 2018 / 12:19 pm

      Ooooh Rachel, an interesting one. I read a great article about seasonality and work and it did make a lot of sense (i.e. working harder some seasons and slowing down others). Maybe this is the time of year to care for ourselves more?
      The daily guilt in my head has been terrible; dwelling on all things I ‘should’ be doing. But ultimately I can’t achieve everything I want to in one day and have to accept that and enjoy what I am doing instead.
      Good luck (and I’ll happily join you in that hibernation).

  5. October 9, 2018 / 11:21 am

    This is wonderful! I completely understand how you feel. I am a perfectionist and try and get everything right and it just exhausts me! I certainly need to take a leaf from your book as what happens is I feel overwhelmed and crash and burn! Good luck x

    • Jess
      October 9, 2018 / 12:21 pm

      YES. It’s overwhelming and draining living at a million miles an hour. I hugely respect people who don’t. Must be so nice to enjoy life at a slower pace than always striving for the next thing/perfection. Motherhood is something that I was always trying to be perfect on, but actually, what does the perfect mother look like in my head? Crazy high standards. But I know now that as long as my kids know I love them that’s more than enough.

  6. October 9, 2018 / 11:59 am

    Fab post Jess, as a recovering perfectionist myself I can relate. It’s such a hard habit to break and as you say it’s mainly the pressure we put on ourselves that causes all the stress. I know from experience that it can also have quite an impact on your health, both mentally and physically. Good luck with winding down. xx

    • Jess
      October 9, 2018 / 12:24 pm

      It’s not healthy and does catch up with you, like you say. It’s not easy to change old habits but by being aware of the pressure and behaviours is a great step.
      Thanks for your superb comment.

  7. October 9, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    This post has come at such an important time, I literally have been feeling the same for a good year now. My standards are far too high, I scream at the children for making a mess – I want the perfect home/life/instagram/etc but it just isn’t happening. I’m exhausted from trying, I feel like an uptight highly strung mother/person and I don’t like it one bit – life isn’t fun anymore.

    You should write a book – it’s a brilliant way to look at life. Have you read any articles or was this just a moment when you thought ‘enough is enough’?

  8. October 9, 2018 / 12:56 pm

    Good on you Jess! So easy to get sucked into that feeling of everything needs to be perfect

  9. October 12, 2018 / 1:10 pm

    Hey Jess, I can so relate to you on this! It is a mentality that unless you keep in check daily, very easily takes over again. In fact I think my daughter’s MH issues are rooted in perfectionism and she cannot kick it (she really needs to go to therapy but that’s another story!). I have a tendency to be this way too and have ridiculously high expectations not only of myself but others too. I have had a post on this mulling over in my head for a while, I might share it at some point but I think I’m yet to kick it into touch 100% either :/ xx

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