Monday, March 3, 2014

The Gift of a Less-than-perfect Parent

Imagine just for a moment, that your parents were actually PERFECT.  Or worst yet, imagine that your in-laws were perfect.  Now when I mean perfect, if don’t mean that they are destined for sainthood – I simply mean they never made a mistake.  They never forgot the keys, or tried to mail a bill without putting on the stamp.  They were never late to pick you up or goofed on what day you had dance class.  They never dropped you off at school while still their wearing slippers; they never lost their temper.  They never left the green beans in the microwave only to be found the next morning.  They never ran out of milk, or sent you to school without your teeth brushed, or showed up to mass without a clean diaper for the baby. 

Can you imagine having to LIVE UP to that? 

I bond with other mothers and with my own mother over my mistakes and theirs.  Sometimes when they aren’t even aware.   I will find myself getting ready to loose it because we are, yet again, late getting out of the house.  And I will think of my friend who is chronically 15 minutes late.  And I will take a deep breath.  She is a GREAT mother.  When moms share their mistakes or struggles with me it actually helps me be a better mother myself.  It helps me be a mom who is less filled with guilt, and stress, and unrealistic expectations of herself. 

And as a daughter, I love knowing that my mom has ‘been there done that’.  She wasn’t perfect but she was always trying her best.  And really, usually, our best IS enough. It certainly was for her.  

While always striving to be better, we should have some peace in our imperfections.  Our slip-ups make us more humble mothers; they also make our jobs a lot more inviting and attractive to the little ones.  Our children are able to see that even when we make mistakes we can bounce back.   Your mistake today will give them some allowance for their own imperfection when they are parents themselves. 

Next time you find yourself being less than you want to be, take a deep breath, and give your children the gift of your own imperfection.    
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