“I’m an OK Mom — and That’s OK”
I want my kids to know and accept that perfection isn’t a real thing.
Repeat after me: “I’m an OK parent, and that’s totally OK.”
Truly, it’s OK. I promise.
We live in a time where perfectionism and “keeping up with the Joneses” is pervasive and entrenched in our culture. We see how high the bar is set in advertising and on social media. We see nothing but happy family photos in our friends’ highlight reels, aka their Facebook feeds. We see the picture-perfect theme birthday parties on Pinterest. We want that for our families, too. Who wouldn’t?
All of us want to be our best selves. But I’m here to argue that being imperfect is being our best self, especially when it comes to parenting.
I’d say about 50 percent of parenting is modeling appropriate behavior for our children — setting an appropriate example in day-to-day life. They learn by seeing and doing, not by being lectured, and especially not through the adage, “Do as I say, not as I do” (that’s plain ol’ bad parenting).
I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to know and accept that perfection isn’t a real thing. I don’t want them to live a life of misery and self-loathing because they’re always striving for that unattainable goal. Instead, I want them to have a joyful life brimming with “my best is good enough — great, even.” I want them to lead authentic and fulfilling lives. What’s authentic and fulfilling for them, not everyone around them. That starts by offering that example as parents.
Being an OK parent also shows our kids that life is full of ups and downs — that life really is what you make of each experience. Adversity builds teamwork skills and a problem-solving aptitude. By not shielding our kids from life’s less desirable aspects, we prepare them to accept what comes, and to work with it. That’s the recipe for true fulfillment.
So, I’m acknowledging that I’m an OK parent, and that it’s 100 percent acceptable. I actually find it even better than acceptable — genuinely accepting who you are (and who your kids really are) is wildly liberating.
My family’s birthday party pictures would not grace the pages of parenting magazines. My home isn’t picture-perfect either. In fact, nothing in my life is picture-perfect, because that isn’t reality.
My son is wicked smart, but doesn’t make the honor roll. He is friendly and kind-hearted, but doesn’t have many friends. I could be sad about that, and wallow in self-created misery, or I can accept that this is who he is, and that’s OK, because he’s content.
Perfection doesn’t create joy. It robs us of joy.