In a perfect world my house would be neat and clean, no one would leave shoes in the middle of the hall or wet towels on the couch. My children’s rooms would be tidy at all times and if House and Garden magazine knocked on my door asking to feature our home in an article about funky, eclectic family style I’d say ‘sure, come on in!’
In a perfect world I would set firm yet fair limits and my children would instantly respect them and respond in a kind and thoughtful manner. There would be no rolling of eyes, no whining and I would never, ever yell.
In a perfect world all meals would be made from scratch with wholesome, organic, ingredients and each of my children would sit down to eat with a smile of joy because they are looking forward to every mouthful.
In a perfect world I would sleep 8 hours every night, exercise 30 minutes every day, balance work, family time, and me time like a pro, schedule one on one time for each kid every week, and be in a good mood at all times.
In a perfect world our routine would run like a well oiled machine. There would be no lost school notes, no last minute cleaning of clothes with wet wipes, and we would be on time to everything.
In a perfect world…
Sometimes I get caught up in that ‘perfect world’. Sometimes it becomes an excuse for giving up, or a reason for feeling down, and sometimes it totally overwhelms me.
But would living in this perfect world really make my life better?
Would I be happier?
Would I be a better parent?
I don’t think so.
Being not quite perfect is not only ok,
it actually makes me a good parent.
Not worrying about whether my kids socks match every day, the occasional take out dinner, a house that is cleanish but never completely tidy – these little imperfections take the pressure off me and my kids and make me a better parent.
Letting go of the need for a perfectly tidy house all the time means less stress for all of us and gives me more time to connect with my kids. It lets my kids explore and learn without worrying about making a mess or breaking something precious and in turn lets them learn how to clean up and look after our belongings.
Our slightly insane routine lets us celebrate abundance and how lucky we are without teaching our children that they should expect to get everything they want served up to them. Having to juggle everyone’s needs and trying to make it all work out ok, teaches them about sharing, and compromise, and patience, and empathy, and supporting one another.
Even my less than perfect parenting moments make me a good parent. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but stay with me people…
Losing my cool and yelling sometimes, admitting when I am tired and run down, not handling every situation perfectly – these things teach my kids that no one is perfect, that you can get angry or upset, make it right and then move on. It teaches them that there are ways they can manage their big emotions, that negotiating is an important skill, and that getting along with others isn’t always easy but it’s important.
My kids won’t magically learn these skills, they need to test limits and feel big emotions and figure out how to manage those things. They need to see me make mistakes and be overwhelmed and watch how I cope so they can learn. They need to experience set backs, and deal with disappointment and learn that life goes on, and that happiness does not revolve around having everything and being perfect.
Sure, life might be easier if I somehow managed to stay on top of the laundry and found a better system for managing school notes and had a personal chef, but would it be perfect?
That perfect world doesn’t exist, and it’s overrated anyway…
Be not quite perfect and know you are doing a good job.
What not quite perfect things make you a better parent?
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Kate Lloyd says
What fabulous words Kate. I would have to say that leaving my kids toys out rather throughout the day rather than packing them away every 5 minutes is my way of being not quite perfect. Although the mess annoys me and increases my stress levels, I know that it’s evidence of a great play experience and also opens up the opportunities for my little girl to continue where she left off to show off later in the day or showcase to her dad what great things she’s done when he gets home.
I love that… I’m often reminded that my ‘laziness’ of not bothering to pack up anything till the end of the day actually leads to more play and learning!
Gosh, is that what perfect is? Thank god I’m not even close to measuring up!!!! x
yeah, being perfect wouldn’t be much fun would it! LOL
This is great! I’ve really been struggling with this lately “the perfect world” scenario. So, refreshing to hear I’m not alone and be encouraged to let things go!
You are definitely not alone! It’s so easy to fall into the ‘if only’ trap and believe our lives would be ‘perfect… if only’.
I needed this today. Thank you.. it is hard to give up on perfect when I want the very best for my kids. So it is actually changing my mindset as you show above. My kids are happy if they are with me and I’m calm and happy. They care about little else.
I think our kids would be better off if we aimed for ‘happy’ or ‘content’ rather than perfect! What do you think?
Rachel | Racheous - Lovable Learning says
I love this! I needed to read this myself too <3
I need to read this often! :)
Julie @ Off to the park says
Great post. I so need to remember this instead of stressing about the state of my house. I sometimes worry that I don’t have it as tidy as my friends homes which always appear spotless, and they work, while I’m at home with my girls. I think we can be too harsh on ourselves and feel guilty when we don’t have everything as perfect as we’d like it to be. :)
HI, thank you for this. I have been struggling with all of the blog posts from all of the great moms out in the world about homeschooling, feeding organic food making everything from scratch. I am getting along okay, the kids are to school on time nearly every day in clean clothes with their teeth brushed almost every time! I only forgot lunches once since school started.
This week has been challenging, as my daughter has two appointments and I have to get her brother to go with us as well. I struggle with timeliness and finding a parking spot, and this week did not have enough money for parking! So I parked on the street outside of the hospital and hoped the opthamologist would not be that long. It ended up being a 1.5 hour wait and we were all starving. Luckily we did not get a ticket and had sandwiches and milk for dinner when we got home instead of the roast beef. I feel like an inadequate mom at the best of times, and feeling rushed, lost, unsure, makes it worse. I have not read to my kids in over a week, have never bought organic produce and let my kids drink pop. Makes me feel like a bad mommy!
On another note, I spent an hour this weekend past reading stories of horrific cases of child abuse and neglect. It made me realize that being perfect does not equal good parenting, but being a good enough parent who cares enough to worry about how your parenting affects your children’s well being. I am not neglecting my children, I care about their well being, they are well fed, loved, and I love teaching them. …