Let’s be honest, being a parent is bloody hard work, even on the best of days. It’s one of life’s biggest challenges. Nothing can prepare you for it. Sure, the books help, but when you hear the horror stories from friends and coworkers who have gone before you, you start questioning why the hell you got pregnant in the first place?!
I find it amusing how before children, I was the perfect parent… until I actually became a parent, for real! I swore that I would never do so many things, such as; bottle feed my child formula, feed my baby food straight from the jar (gasp!), let my child leave the house in dirty clothes or even eat McDonald’s. And funnily enough I’ve actually done them all, many times over! It’s so easy to judge other parents when we have not walked in their shoes or had their same experiences.
Mum’s and Dad’s everywhere strive to be the perfect parents for their children. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting the best for our children, it’s exhausting trying to be perfect for our children. We compare ourselves and our families to TV commercials, Instagram snaps, Facebook posts or even while walking down the street or playing in the park. But perfection is just a myth; perfect parents don’t exist. Are there such things as perfect moments? Sure! Perfect days? You betcha! But we cannot compare our lousy day to someone’s perfect day.
What is perfect anyway? How is it measured? It’s impossible to be perfect because we are human and our children are human too. Most parents I work with don’t even believe that they’re a ‘good enough’ parent, because of this ridiculous comparison to ‘perfection.’
Our children don’t need to see us stressed and angry striving for perfection. All our children truly need is for us to be perfect for them and their individual needs. If we can demonstrate love and warmth towards our children, offer them a safe home environment and appreciate them for all their uniqueness, then we are all good enough parents.
In order for me to sleep well at night, I need to know that on any given day I have tried my best, that I will try and learn from my mistakes and to let go of the unnecessary comparisons to others. My house isn’t always going to be spotless, the beds are not always going to be made, the dishes are not always going to be done straight away, my washing may be a mile high, my children’s clothes are most likely dirty, my hair is unwashed, I haven’t exercised, dinner may come out of a box, and you know what? That is ok! This is life. We have to draw a line in the sand and do things according to our convenience sometimes.
For instance, your child has a school fete tomorrow, and you’re the Mum that has to bring in the muffins. You either didn’t have time to bake or let’s face you cannot be bothered. Let me tell you; there is nothing wrong with bringing in muffins from the supermarket. You will be surprised to see that no one will even care, and your child is still a hero in class. In the same way, stop giving yourself a hard time when you don’t have any organic snacks or homemade treats for your child’s lunch. It really isn’t a problem. You can give your child whatever you have, trust me; they will survive.
Moreover, we can’t always control the way our child behaves either. Because let’s face it, there is no such thing as a perfect child. (Wait, it’s a sleeping child!) What we can control though is how we choose to react. It’s accepting our children as individuals. Each of our children will have their particular likes and dislikes and their own points of view. We have to accept our children as individuals and let go of the expectations that we have for them at times. It’s picking our battles wisely.
All we can do as parents is try our best each and every day, keeping in mind that our best efforts will vary depending on what day it is and our circumstances. Is your child dressed? Fed? Loved? On some days that’s good enough. Cherish your days in the midst of all the chaos and untidiness, the crazy moments of self-doubt and uncertainty, and love your beautiful mess.
Do you struggle with trying to be the perfect parent? Or have you successfully managed to let go of chasing perfection? I’d love to hear from you and happily support you on your parenting journey!
Would you love to have a deeper understanding of your child’s emotions? Do you want to be able to connect on a deeper level? If so you can download my FREE e-Book Assisting Your Child To Manage Their Feelings here!