Why I am NOT a perfect parent
I’ve been noticing an alarming trend among parents these days, myself often times included.
With a vast amount of people delaying childbirth until they are “ready” financially, career wise, and other reasons, childbirth and rearing children is often seen as another aspect of the career ladder in which perfection is sought.
I look to my right and I see a parent spend literally, an hour in the sippy cup aisle reading a downloaded review of sippy cups to find the “perfect cup” for their child who is asleep in the shopping cart at 10 PM.
I look to my left and I see a parent spending $500 dollars a month on extra curricular activities that have been master planned to perfection in the hopes of staying above the edge of other 8 year old competition, while leaving only an hour of every day to see their own child.
I stand in my own shoes and I begin to doubt myself as a parent… wondering, how ~ without a way to benchmark review my parenting progress, yelp my parenting style, or have “likes” for my mothering activities ~ how will I know if I am becoming the Perfect Parent? Do other Moms ever think this way? Doubt this way? Wonder this way? Prioritize this way? And even if they do think like me …. well, then, I can think of a million other people who do not.
No matter how hard you try to be a perfect parent, there is someone who will think you are not.
If you let your kids run barefoot because you think exposure to bacteria, dirt, and nature are good for them – you will receive glares from people thinking you are neglectful.
I don’t know why I spent a good majority of my month thinking about this. But, I have. I have been observing parents in every situation I could. It was quite a social experiment. And, now that my research is done, I have come to an evidence based, educated, peer reviewed conclusion.
I am going to stop trying to be a perfect parent.
I am just going to be myself.
I am going to love who I am.
On the days that I don’t like how I acted, or the mistakes I have made, then I will allow room in my day for the process of growth.
But I will love myself.
I will be myself.
I will leave room in my schedule to be human. To be silly. To make mistakes and allow my kids to watch me grow from them.
I know we all want to be “the perfect parent”, and that is absolutely great. We want desperately to create a perfect childhood, perfect experience, and offer our children all the opportunities for education and life that we perhaps were not provided. Or perhaps we just want to offer our children more.
Today, I decided, in many ways ~ less is more.
I will spend less time and energy trying to become the perfect parent, and more time and energy on being myself. Loving myself. Right where I am, and sharing that journey with my children.
Who knows? Maybe in the process I will destroy the dream of Perfect Parenting, and end up giving them the perfect gift instead ~ my whole heart, available to them, as an authentic person. I think that matters more than all standards of perfection.
So, to the parent who has been online for the past 8 hours straight researching “what is the best bib for my baby?” Turn off your consumer reports. You aren’t doing it wrong if you got spit up on yourself and on your child. Laugh and Live. We do not have to be perfect. We do not have to buy every product. There is nothing new today that will make us a better parent to our children than we could have been yesterday. Let’s plan room into our days for down time, for mistakes, for being human beings – and let’s allow our kids to see how we recover from them. Let’s forget about being perfect – and just remember the immense and priceless gift of just being parents.