|Catherine McCord of Weelicious.com|
Of course, our children are of absolutely paramount importance, and the drive to be the best that we can be for them is not the worst thing we can have as a parent. But we would do well to remember -- we are just as much "works in progress" as are our developing children. And if the drive to be at our best gets to the point of interfering with being our best, then (even by perfectionist standards) it has to go.
It's fairly easy to look at my 4-year old twins and remember that they aren't perfect, that they are still learning, that they have the right to screw up. Why is it so hard to give myself the same gift of understanding? I would never teach our children that they need to be perfect in order to be wonderful people, why do I think that way about myself?
The idea of being a perfect mother has been around for a long time. I am sure that even before the 1950's TV moms there were women who felt that they didn't quite live up to some set standard. We compare ourselves in every possible way. I read a terrific post the other day on Feast After Famine (another great blog worth checking out) in which the author, suffering severe mood swings due to early menopause, wrote a tirade against judgmental comments made regarding women who used hormone replacement therapy:
|An early incarnation of the "perfect" mom|
For me, this is the crux of the matter. Our own insecurities about being less than perfect drive us to find fault with others. For many, the need to be right is more powerful than the need to be real. Does it really make us feel better to try and take away someone else's power? Is perfection really an attainable or desirable goal? What are we trying to achieve by being perfect parents? Perfect children? Nathan M. McTague again:I remember a moment in my early 20's when I realized people didn't grow out of their catty, judgmental teen selves. They just became catty, judgmental adults. That was a brutal gut punch.I suffered a similar letdown recently when I realized the Perfect Police will dog me into old age. The hypercritical folks who find fault with my decisions to work or stay home with my children, nurse or formula feed, use cloth diapers or clog the landfill with disposables aren't going to stop once I become an older Mum. They're just going to change their focus. Apparently, the people who do things the "right way" want to tell me how to experience menopause.
I think back to my last post about being mindful and realize that in my push to be this perfect mom, I am creating so much stress in my life (and therefore in my children's lives). Is the push toward being perfect really what I want my kids to learn? Or do I want to remind them, as those Leonard Cohen lyrics say, that it is through our imperfections that our true beauty and our true selves shine through."...when our perspective on parenting, and our own parenting specifically, is too narrowly focused on perfection. Any deviation from the ideal is seen, not as part of the process, but as an affront to it."
Thanks for reading!
The Twin Coach
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