I’ve spoken a fair bit about not being a perfect parent. So this is nothing new! Here are a selection of posts that share my ‘failings’ and what I do about them:
So what do I define as ‘perfect’? Well, in reality there is no such thing! But by my own standards, there are days that I could fit into categories of perfection and imperfection. Looking back over the past month or so, here’s an example of each:
After a morning where I was less present than I would have liked with Mushroom but not so distant it bothered me, we spent a lovely afternoon indoors because of the rain. This usually frustrates us both but on this particular day Mushroom and I made monsters with play dough, completed jigsaws, read to each other and practised writing his name. No complaints, tantrums, tears or requests for TV. We had some good conversations about his week and he shared things he hadn’t told me that were still bothering him.
Frustrated by a mountain of washing and a broken washing machine, I did not start the morning in the most positive mindset (to put it mildly). A visit to the landrette was a complete disaster. The bag broke, spilling washing all over the street and at the same time, Mushroom run away from me towards the road! He stopped, but I was so annoyed I could barely speak to him. We just about made it to French club (which he had insisted he wanted to go to) but when we got there he shouted at Catherine and the other children and generally acted out. I don’t know whether it was because there were too many people for him (there were more than usual), he was feeling bad about running away or he just hadn’t really wanted to go in the first place and not said, but he was so disruptive I took him outside. Twice (he said he wanted to go back after the first time). The second time we left he had a full on meltdown in the street and when someone asked what I ‘did to him’ I ignored them but felt like the worst parent in the world. I had been too angry to see that what he probably needed was to know that my awful mood was not his fault. It wasn’t until much later when we had both calmed down that a conversation with him made me realise this.
So yeah, on that ‘imperfect’ day I felt bad but I’m only human. I apologised and Mushroom and I are good. We all have days like this and there will be plenty more of them. There will also be plenty more of the ‘perfect’ days too and I try to remember to focus on those days and let the other days go. It’s not always easy but I find sharing helps, as does knowing that no-one really has this parenting thing down 100% of the time – even the experts make mistakes. I think the key is in remembering that allowing ourselves to be ‘real’ is a great model for our children and good enough is not only good enough, but perhaps even better than ‘perfect.’
If you’re interested in exploring new ways to let go of the idea of perfection as a parent, you might enjoy my Proudly Imperfect Parents coached workshops, which kick off next month with a Working Mums Workshop. The first dates will be released next week so if you are interested, make sure you’re on the list to be first to know and receive special offers!