You know those days when you feel like you are super mom/dad. When the world is just throwing you fast balls and you are knocking them out of the park and then your dog pees on the neighbors carpet, your 10 month old eats dog food and you realize after the fact that you served moldy marinara sauce with ravioli for dinner? Okay well here is the thing, we all mess up. We all get it wrong, we all have moments of “who put me in charge”. So here is the good news, you are no longer perfect, you no longer have to strive to be and you never will be again. The stress is melting away right? No, it is not….there is some invisible perfection stream that pours through us as parents and just when we accept that we might be average or even A- at best that stream of perfection comes rolling in and we suddenly feel like we need to strive for anything but where we are.
My husband travels out of town a lot and that leaves me to a house full of chaos for more time than I would like to admit. I have tried for years to hold it all together, to not skip a beat and to always reveal only my good, organized self. In the last year I have realized that modeling an image of perfection is a dangerous parenting model. It displays an image of false identity, impossible goals and self degradation. There is a difference between trying your best, being disappointed when you cannot achieve to your ability, striving to be better and that of pretending like everything is effortless, easy and calm when really it is a shit storm of emotions. Our children look to us for their confidence, their self worth and their management tools which they use throughout their entire life. It is up to us to show them that failure is learning, that imperfection is beautiful and that even the best fall down sometimes (yes I stole song lyrics but they were just so spot on).
Almost every “oh shit” moment is a fantastic story a year down the road. Almost every parenting oops allows us to prevent even bigger mistakes and almost every feeling of self doubt allows us to be sure that we are still human, that we are reflecting on our surroundings and that we are doing the best we can, even when it might not be good enough for everyone around us. I saw a quote today that said something to the effect of “if you are going to judge the way I live I will expect you to pay some of my bills”. The general takeaway here that I want to convey is that if other people assume we will live our lives in order to ensure their own personal fulfillment than other people are not fulfilling themselves. Yes, we should be courteous and thoughtful and do for others as well as ourselves. This does not mean that when your 2 year old vomits on a 2 hour flight non-stop and people are looking at you as though you have failed at parenting in every way that you actually have. There are moments we cannot control, there are moments that will define us and there are moments that will teach us about the world but none of these moments are a failure of who we are. They are a moment in time. They are a memory, a story, a teaching tool. So I hereby grant you imperfection, it is the greatest gift a parent can get. Take it, go out in the world and shine your imperfection brightly, you earned it!
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.