Being a parent is a tough job, and that’s without trying to attain levels of perfection that are not even remotely plausible. Being perfect is overrated, anyway. It’s actually a lot of stress and it’s not worth it. I’ll tell something that I’ve come to learn over the years. With four kids (almost 7, 4 and 1-year-old twins), I have learned that sometimes people mistake your lack of complaints for perfection. I love my kids and I love my life; my husband and I lost two pregnancies a few years ago and it’s changed our outlook on life and parenting. We have no complaints. We have everything we could ever want right here at home, and we are comfortable. Because we aren’t bit complainers – we do joke about our kids a lot, but we don’t complain – people assume that we are perfect. I’m a neat freak OCD perfectionist when it comes to cleanliness, so my house is always clean. It stresses me out to no end to be like this, though. People think that because I always dress well, do my hair and makeup every day and never look like a wreck, my house is clean and my kids are pretty awesome that I’m perfect.
For a long time, I tried to live up to that. I tried to be Betty freaking Crocker and it did not work out for me. I was so stressed I couldn’t breathe. I work from home, and I work a lot. I coach my daughter’s cheer squad, volunteer at her school, take care of my kids, I date my husband, we have an active social life, I’m a great baker; people love to call me supermom and I kind of love it. But I stopped trying to live up to perfectionism because it’s not healthy, and it’s not setting a good example for my kids. I wake up at 5 am so I can shower and do my hair and make up and get some work done while my kids sleep. I drink my coffee on the go. I yell. I cry sometimes. I snap at my husband when he doesn’t do things the right way. I stay up late cleaning things to my satisfaction and I sometimes only remove enough clean dishes from the dishwasher to make room for the dirty ones in the sink and then wash them all again.
Your kids do not need you to be perfect anymore than my kids need me to be perfect. They need us to be real. They need us to be relatable, and they need us to be present. Here are five reasons our kids just need us to be us that I had to learn the hard way trying to live up to everyone’s expectations of perfectionism for so long.
It’s a Bad Example
Trying to be perfect all the time is a horrible example for my kids. Instead of showing them that sometimes people are unhappy or mad or sad, I’m showing them that people just brush it all off and act like everything is fine. It’s not teaching them to embrace their own feelings and their own emotions. I’m not raising robots or Stepford wives. I’m raising little people.
To be perfect is not realistic, and trying to be a perfect mom sets unrealistic expectations for my kids. They don’t know that inside I’m dying and going crazy and making myself nuts so when they do the same thing, they’re not going to know how to handle that and the effects could be detrimental.
I’m Not Perfect
I’m not; there, I said it. I’m not perfect. I’m vain enough to look perfect every day, and I’m happy enough not to complain about things that I’ve learned are out of my control or unimportant, but I’m not perfect. I’m a terrible cook, I hate laundry and my 1st graders math homework stumps me from time to time. I have bad days, and my kids need to see that. It’s realistic and it’s what reality looks like.
It’s Not Teaching them a Lesson
Instead of ignoring my feelings, I have to handle them. That’s what teaches my kids a lesson. By being real and showing them that mommy and daddy argue – in a healthy manner that shows them what marriage sometimes looks like – or that mommy is grumpy sometimes or that it’s okay to apologize when you’re wrong, I’m teaching them coping mechanisms and life skills.
It Makes me Crazy
Seriously; my kids don’t need me to be perfect. And that’s a good thing because being perfect makes me crazy. It’s not fun. It’s not ideal, and it’s really annoying. Being an imperfect mom is entirely more fun. Being an imperfect person is what makes me a better person, and being perfect just makes me a miserable you-know-what. I was always stressed, unhappy and miserable. Being imperfect and embracing my flaws, learning and always trying to better myself, however, makes me feel so much more relaxed, confident and cool.
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