When I was pregnant with my first child, I spent hours reading books on pregnancy and about the first year of a baby’s life. I wanted to ensure that I knew how to get everything ‘right’. I even read books about parenting boys and girls into their teenage years, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything important along the way. However, it only took a very short time for me to face the reality that parenting, and life with children in general, is imperfect. It is wonderful but also messy, chaotic, unpredictable and rich with learning opportunities (aka mistakes).
I have three children, and my eldest is in high school now. I still find myself floundering as each new age and stage brings with it new challenges to navigate. I’m someone who is not afraid to admit when I’m wrong and the greatest lesson that being a mother has shown me is that I am flawed, my husband is flawed, and my children are flawed. We are all imperfect; it’s just a fact- and that is ok.
When my children were younger and I’d mess up (as we all do), I would lie awake at night feeling immensely guilty. Sometimes even crying myself to sleep, feeling like I was failing and doing “damage” to my children. As they’ve gotten older, and I’ve matured, I have come to realise that sometimes it is through our imperfections that our children learn the best lessons. They see us fail, they see us apologise, and they see us trying again.
As parents, we aren’t able to be everything for our children. It’s an impossible ambition and one that is not expected of us. What we are called to do is to parent each day to the best of our ability. We don’t expect our children to be perfect; all we ask is that they try their best. So why then do we expect ourselves to be perfect? We need to do our best and let God be our source of strength and comfort each day as we grow and learn and become better mums. Life isn’t perfect and it’s ok for our homes and families to have imperfection in them too.
“It’s actually our ability to embrace imperfection that will help us teach our children to have the courage to be authentic, the compassion to love themselves and others…”- Dr.Brené Brown, parenting author and researcher.
Be kind to yourself
The greatest advice anyone has ever given to me (at a time when my young Type A personality was crushing me), was to be kind to myself. And it’s something that I remind myself of daily. So be kind to yourself and encourage your mum friends as we walk this motherhood road together. You’re not perfect and that’s completely ok. Sometimes, it’s even a good thing.