Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Perfect Parent {It's Not Me}

I spend a lot of time thinking about the good and the bad that have come from the internet, especially in the world of parenting. When I was pregnant, I joined message boards that allowed me to ask my questions freely, and go through the process with people I have never even met, some of whom now are real life friends of mine. When I had a question about what to feed Molly in her baby days, or what constituted a serious fever, or how to remove a tick from her scalp, I could quickly pop online and get the answer. The internet is an amazing resource for healthy food, healthy choices, creative activities, and advice. I’ve learned things I probably would not have been aware of before, like what the “dirty dozen” is, the dangers of incorrect use of a car seat, and the amazing invention of absorbable toddler underwear. It is also full of judgment, perfection, and never ending advice on how to be the perfect parent, and run the perfect home, and make the most perfect decisions. I’ve learned how to be a better parent, but have become overwhelmed by the feeling that I need to be a perfect parent.

You know what I say? Perfect is crap.

Not only is perfect completely unattainable, it is unhealthy. I do not want to be a perfect parent.

I want my daughter to see me fail. Because when I fail, I learn from my mistakes, and she will learn how to do the same. Because SHE will fail and she will have to bounce back from her own failures. 

I want my daughter to see me get frustrated. Because it is ok to get frustrated. Because if you do not get frustrated, you hold it inside. Because when you hold it inside, you become a dark, unhappy person all the time instead of just those moments when you are feeling frustrated. Because she needs to learn how to deal with frustration, move on, and live her happy life.

I want my daughter to learn about balance. To be healthy – to eat fruits and vegetables…and also to eat chocolate. Please, eat chocolate. To be frugal – to save money, to have a savings account, to not live beyond her means…but treat to treat herself from time to time. To work hard – to not be lazy, to put effort into everything she do…but take time to relax, sit on the beach, in the backyard, or on the couch in front of a pointless television show.

I want my daughter to see me taking time for myself. If that’s a few minutes spent on my phone, that’s ok. If that’s a few minutes spent behind a closed door in the bathroom, that’s ok. If that’s a half hour out on a run, that’s ok. If that’s a weekend away with the girls, that’s ok. Independence is important. Independence is crucial. Seeing me, taking time for me, teaches her the importance of taking time for herself.

I want my daughter to know that perfect is not perfect. Perfect is not real. Life is amazing, and it comes with challenges and struggles. How you manage the challenges is truly what defines who you are as a person.

Parenthood itself, is a challenge. Please, do not hold yourself to the standard of perfection the world wide web seems to think you need to be at. Just be normal. Just be human. Just teach your children to see the good from the bad, and know that just by being YOU, you are perfect in their eyes, even when you don’t feel that way.

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