I don’t know how to tell you this,
you’re not perfect.
You never will be.
You keep growing and messing up
and your quirks become strengths.
You are SO much better than
-Lin Manuel Miranda
There is no such thing as a Perfect parent.
There is no such thing as a Perfect child.
Practice does Not make Perfect.
Practice does make us better.
Peaceful Parenting is a Practice.
Let’s just call it what it is. Perfection is the enemy of unconditional love, connection and being present. Striving for perfection makes us feel inadequate. It makes us feel just plain bad about ourselves and the ones we love. We waste precious time attempting to present our -or someone else’s- brand of a picture-perfect image.
Because there is no such thing as perfect, perfection begs for us to judge ourselves, our child, each other and each moment, as never enough. It encourages us to chase the fun. It can be debilitating and anxiety producing. We see our mistakes as failures instead of lessons. Paralyzed, we stop even trying. We beat ourselves up as penance. In it’s way, perfectionism is a sneaky procrastination tool that stalls our growth.
Our children do not want or need perfect parents. They want present parents. They want us to show up as our imperfect, authentic human selves. They want us to accept and love them as they are – unconditionally.
It's actually our ability to embrace imperfection that will help us teach our children to have the courage to be authentic, the compassion to love themselves and others, and the sense of connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life -- Brené Brown
So, what do we do? There is so much pressure from every direction. We are raising the future, after all. How do we push back?
All parenting is really, truly done by modeling and practice, practice, practice. So, let’s let go of perfect and model and practice what unconditional love looks like:
Embrace imperfection. In yourself and in your children. Our kids need to see that we make mistakes too. They need to see us recover from our mistakes. They need to see us be kind to ourselves and turn mistakes into lessons. That is how they discover a superpower might be hiding in a supposed weakness. They might even see imperfections make us unique.
Choose Love moment by moment, by loving ourselves and our children unconditionally. Every choice we make comes down to love or fear. We are our best when we choose love.
Self forgiveness When we mess up, and we will - because we are human, we forgive ourselves and we make repairs. As we do this, we are modeling self love and forgiveness to our children. We are modeling how to take responsibility for one’s actions, build trust and earn respect. We are practicing reconnection, which is as important as being connected.
Self love is self care and is essential. Look at yourself in the mirror. Look into your own eyes and say, I love you, just as you are. You are enough. You can do this. We can only give what we have in the moment. It is up to us to make sure we are full of self love, forgiveness and kindness. Take five deep breaths several times a day and connect with yourself, feel the growing peace and spaciousness. Absorb the nature you see – even if it is just a strong little weed growing out of a crack in the sidewalk, let it inspire you.
Adopt a Growth Mindset. Change the way you talk to yourself. Instead of I can’t, say I need more practice. Instead of I don’t know, say I need more information. Realize each mistake we make is waiting to be a lesson learned. Failures are opportunities for growth. Our brains grow when we push through the struggle.
Empathy For ourselves, our children and others. When we see a child and parent having a hard time, we practice and model empathy. We model compassion when we breathe in love and wish them well. We hold them in our heart, knowing we all have hard times and we all need to feel support.
Appreciate the moment you are in for what it is and the beauty it holds. Our children will only be young once. In a blink of an eye, we won’t be reminding them to wash their hands and pick up their clothes.
Humour See the humour. Look for the humour. The ability to laugh at ourselves and at crazy situations we often find ourselves in with kids, not only lightens the moment, but it helps everyone release anxiety.
To be human is to be vulnerable. Our vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity and connection. Connection and unconditional love are what we all crave, especially our children. Connection is what life is all about. When we love ourselves and our children unconditionally, we all grow. We see the beauty through the imperfection of each moment. And that makes it - well, kinda perfect.
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