Perfectly Imperfect

As if raising children in today’s world isn’t difficult enough, the modern day mother is also pressured to live up to increasingly unobtainable standards. Thanks to social media and the ease of sharing information online, moms everywhere are subjected to irritating images of Pinterest-perfect birthday parties, picturesque bento boxed lunches of gluten-free, organic, dairy-free meals, and other #momgoals-worthy grandiose exhibits of motherly perfection. Sure, we would all love to be perfect mothers and provide our children with the very best childhoods, but that’s just it – perfection in motherhood is a myth. We hold ourselves to these unrealistic expectations of what our society thinks motherhood ought to be like, thereby almost always setting ourselves up for failure.

Although I may appear put-together and well-rested when you see me on the street, there’s a great probability that I’m actually exhausted and my apartment is littered with broken crayons, Cheerios, and toys strewn in every direction. Usually operating on insufficient sleep, I often find myself fumbling through the day just trying to juggle the needs of two young kids and a mountain of other responsibilities while maintaining some semblance of composure. I applaud moms everywhere who make motherhood seem like a constant stream of cuddles and cotton candy and believe me, I would love to live in a constant state of bliss with my tiny humans. But somewhere along the lines, diaper changes always evolve into exhausting power struggles, fevers and head colds turn into debilitating double ear infections, and I’m usually running on empty by 11am. Home cooked meal? That’s funny! Once the kids are fed, I’m lucky if I have enough energy to order delivery dinner.

I’m not perfect. I MAKE MISTAKES. There, I said it.

Just last week I planned to have my very first movie date with my toddler, an activity that would serve as a welcomed departure from his familiar morning routine of playground, children’s museum or errands with Mommy. We prepared several days in advance by discussing rules for inside the theater, my behavioral expectations, and what kind of snacks we would share. To merely say he was excited is a gross understatement.

As we strolled over to the theater prior to the movie, I was overcome with the delightful anticipation of sharing this new experience with my exuberant little buddy. We approached the box office and suddenly something caught my eye. There it was – a sight so alarming I instantly thought my eyes were deceiving me. “SOLD OUT!”  How could this be? How was I going to explain this to my pint-sized sidekick? “Come on, Mommy! Let’s go! Let’s go!” he squealed as he tugged my arm toward the theater.  I grasped at my thoughts, trying to find the right words to let him down gently. Choose any other movie and we’ll get any candy you want! I’ll buy you a pony! Just please forgive me. I explained that there were no more tickets left and admittedly, I should have planned ahead and bought tickets online. He gazed up at me with his big doe eyes. “It’s ok, Mommy.” And just like that, we walked hand-in-hand to the playground like we had done countless times before.

And then it hit me – I shouldn’t be so frightened of exposing my child to disappointment. After all, learning to cope with letdowns is a necessary skill for becoming a successful adult. This misfortune of having to skip a movie seems rather inconsequential in the scheme of things, but these minor setbacks are actually training our children to confidently overcome life’s challenges down the road. I was so proud of my boy’s emotional resilience and ability to easily bounce back without even so much as a minor meltdown! It was in that moment I realized that despite our botched movie date, this imperfect morning was nothing short of perfect.

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11 thoughts on “Perfectly Imperfect

  1. You’re do right. One thing I find really difficult to watch are parents who mollycoddle their kids snd protect from everything that may upset them. Not the best way to set your child up for real life.

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  2. What a great story. It is so true that we all try to be the perfect parent. The problem is that we are not perfect ourselves. We can only do our best. As parents’ our goal is to help our children to grow into healthy, successful, happy, and independent adults.

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  3. Ahh I love this, you are so right. Our children don’t care if we are the perfect parent or not. To them we are always perfect, even on the days we have to disappoint them. xx

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  4. I think it is really important that we let our children see that sometimes we all get it wrong and that what matters is how we pick ourselves up again and do our best to make things good.

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  5. I feel like being imperfect is the human condition. We’ve all got room for improvement and we’re all on a journey in that respect. You are absolutely right that teaching our children to deal with disappointment is one of the most important lessons a parent can give. Imagine what sort of adults our children would become if we didn’t?

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  6. I think we underestimate how well out kids can cope and try and cushion them too much.Your little one reacted wonderfully and I am sure you had a lovely trip in the park.There is always another time for the cinema.

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  7. You’re so right- modern day parenting always seems to put one under pressure. Children surprise us by being so much more understanding and resilient than we think they are. You’re doing a great job with your little one.

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