Let’s face it, we all want to do a good job as parents, but we’re never going to be perfect. And that’s OK. In fact I think as mum’s we owe it to our children to NOT be perfect. Imagine living up to somebody who’s divinely perfect – depressing! No, we need to show our children that we are flawed and at times that we are sorry. But never, ever perfect.
I propose we aim for being ‘enough’. We each have different circumstances and characters which keep us from parenting perfection. We may have to return to work when the baby still needs us, we may suffer from stress, anxiety, Post-natal depression, we may simply need a break more often than they would like. And we can suffer all those things and still be enough.
In fact here is why I’m not going for perfect:
If we ourselves are ‘perfect’ then it teaches are kids that they too need to be perfect. It teaches them that perfection is important. It really isn’t. Love is important. And perfectionism isn’t love, it’s tiring and it’s foolish. Love isn’t always perfect, it grows and part of that growth comes from our mistakes, therefore love is in fact imperfect.
Getting things wrong can be fun. Recently I faced one of my bigger fears: I got lost on the Motorway (Argh!!). My husband had no phone and the 3 people I phoned could not decipher where I was based on my panic-stricken shouts. The baby was crying and shouting the entire time and the toddler was begging me to look at her painted face whilst choosing to ignore repeatedly that “I CAN’T LOOK AT YOUR FACE WHEN I’M DRIVING ON THE MOTORWAY!” When I eventually spoke to my husband it turns out that miraculously I had got myself onto the right motorway and was on route to Bristol. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked my Toddler for staying calm in my panic. Toddler, now munching on biscuits doesn’t even look at me when she replies: “I wasn’t scared, I just showed you the way” and the baby is now laughing her head off at nothing. This wasn’t a perfect journey but I learned that kids barely notice when we make a mistake. And sometimes, just sometimes it can end with laughter.
I find that for my sanity it is important to bond with other mums. I also find that the best way of doing this is by talking about our imperfections, not about how well we are doing. I find comfort in brutally honest conversations, and I find Real Friends when I can bare my imperfections and they are met with an “amen”.
Trying to do things perfectly is kind of arrogant (sorry), because if I’m perfect then are the rest of the parenting population wrong? No. Let’s accept that we are all different, beautifully and imperfectly different. When we try to be perfect, we are focused totally on ourselves, because kids really don’t care if we get everything spot on. They want to know that they are loved and what better way to love our kids than to tell them when we screwed up and say sorry.
Let’s not love our kids by trying to be perfect, let’s love our kids while making mistakes, being honest and having fun.
Because being perfect is over-rated (I assume so anyway).