What a helpful weekend reminder. I say this today because I am noticing more and more how so many young parents don’t believe enough in their extraordinary parenting skills. I want to encourage each one of you that you have the ability to parent each of your children well.
Yes, we all can do with advice and tips in our parenting and it’s wonderful to have people in our lives who are further along the journey to learn from; however, I want to remind you, that perfect parents do not exist.
Perfect is a nonsense word.
Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect. The illusion of perfection leaves no room for error, only a harmful drive to reach the unreachable. But I see so many that seek it when parenting. It is such nonsense to believe every day when you wake will be wonderful and run smoothly and the kids will go to school on time and dinner will be incredible every night.
I believe the desire for perfection comes from us trying to impress others, trying to measure up, trying to prove our worth. Listen carefully to what comes next: Your worth has nothing to do with other’s expectations; it has only to do with the fact we are all made in the image of God by God.
Perfection can seem to be a great thing to aspire to especially in our parenting. Perfection, however, usually leads to a need to be in control AT ALL TIMES. And, if you’ve parented for more than 5 minutes in your life, you know that being in control doesn’t always happen.
Failure is a teacher.
Some days will feel like rubbish and it may end in tears, some will be triumphant, and some will just be a bit above average. Take the advice from older parents who come alongside you – we are simply parents/people who have learned from others and our successes and mistakes.
When we look for perfection in ourselves as parents, we put pressure on our children to be perfect because we measure our perfection by their behaviour and outcomes. This is debilitating for our children and ourselves. Neither of us will ever match up.
We need to create opportunities for taking ourselves and our children more light-heartedly. There is just far too much pressure on parents to have it all together all of the time. I believe one of the most empowering things you can do for your children is to show them you are not living under the pressure of the expectations of other people.
When we make mistakes and our children see us in a light that maybe we don’t want them too, in moments of frustration or failure, they see the raw strength of parenting. They will come to understand how making mistakes is all a part of learning.
As you show your children first-hand how to honour and respect others opinions but not live to measure up to others expectations, you will empower them to live a life of freedom. A life where they can learn from others without losing who they are by trying to be perfect and measure up.
Not being in control is okay.
I can remember a few years ago, one of my grandsons fractured his little arm while being over-loved by his big brother. Again, the parents had no control over this outcome; you can’t be mad at the brother who was just trying to help his little brother. Yes, the big brother has been taught how to pick his little brother up. Yes, his Mum and Dad are very responsible parents. Life just happens and stuff will happen and it’s in these moments that we get to learn, we get to add to our library of knowledge and wisdom.
In this situation, what looks like imperfection is being turned into perfection, by the way, their mother is showing both of the boys her unconditional love. The older one is not being shamed and blamed; rather, he is being taught how when we make genuine mistakes others can be hurt but because it wasn’t done deliberately, he doesn’t have to feel bad or guilty, he can just learn from this.
The younger one is learning unconditional love from his mum as she cares for him and showing him that he doesn’t have to be angry with his brother because it was just an accident. Not being in control all the time is okay. We are not robots. We are parents. Not the same thing.
Give yourself this freedom, knowing that perfect parents do not exist. Relax and enjoy your parenting, have a sense of humour about the mistakes you and your children make. Forgive yourself and forgive them as soon as possible. Teach them how to recognise that mistakes are made, and they can overcome them. Don’t be the judge and jury love them and yourself regardless.
Perfectionism is all too hard. Don’t be tempted by it. When things go wrong, believe in your ability and believe in your child. You are much more capable than you think, and children are much more forgiving of parents than you think. Remember, no one of us gets it just right all the time, and if you are doing your best you are doing great.
I want to remind you, or in some cases tell you, that you CAN do this, and you CAN do this well.