And I am not even trying to be! I was confronted, once again, with my parenting imperfections recently. Well… not so much imperfections and more the reality of raising strong personalities with a will of their own and the freedom of choice to make their own mistakes and blunders in life (in this case act according to their own whim and not the guidelines I have tried to drill into them).
I think it is something we moms (and dads) often keep mum about. In today’s society there is such a massive push for perfection. When something happens to another family and we hear about it, see it on the news, etc, the first impulse seems to be more and more to judge them and see how that would NEVER happen to US. After all, our parenting plan is perfect, our control over our kids faultless and our children always toe the line in publi… well how funny is that, I can’t even TYPE that statement out without almost falling over laughing.
I am the proud (most of the time… well A LOT of the time) mother of 5 currently ages 12 through 5. I homeschool them myself, put them into activities, send them to Sunday School, schedule playdates, generally let them out in public under varying levels of supervision. I think I am a good parent (well I really hope I am), a hands on parent, a loving parent, and a parent who believes in strict and fair discipline (but immediate and dependable. If I say the consequence is this, you ask my kids – IT HAPPENS).
I do the “in the car before an event” lecture, I listen to their chatter in groups to catch things before escalation and I do my best not to hover but to instill values and the ability to make positive choices… And, they do what they do when they do it.
I am the mom of 5 independent individuals with free will. I am the mom of children who are not yet mature, who are still learning to realize the consequences of their actions, who are able to make more messes in a single hour than I can clean in a full day. And that is ok! Definitely NOT perfect, but it is ok!
I am that mom yelling out her kid’s name when he is misbehaving or she is walking too fast at the pool. I am that mom who has turned around and taken her kids home from the park because she just can’t take that yelling fight between kid 1 and 3 for one more second. I am the mom who will call over her kids and give them that lecture in the middle of an outing because there is no way an hour later in the privacy of our van they will really grasp how bad that behaviour was in the moment.
We are all that parent who has to deal with the reality that our children are not born into a world that demands they are seen and not heard (and really did that ever TRULY work as well as it did in books?). We are all struggling with the balance of love and discipline. The fight to control but give responsibilities and freedoms.
I admit to feeling a huge moment of embarrassment and self recrimination when I was faced with behaviour I would now have to correct. There was that snap of frustration that they couldn’t just behave perfectly in public. But the reality is, they are kids, they are young and they are going to make mistakes. Just as I am an adult and… not so young… and am going to make mistakes. We all are, perfection is a myth, an untouchable goal that keeps us striving to better ourselves and it has its place. That place is NOT in parenting.
The reality of it is all is that as long as our children have minds of their own they will chose to use them, or not, however they want. All we can do is set out guidelines, suggestions and consequences and model the best behaviour we can for them. So while I will strive for perfection in my sewing, in my housework (haha good joke that one) with my children I am working towards a better goal – a foundation of love and support with guidance and consequences and, as always, a soft place to land where they can get back up and realize there are better choices to be made and a future of ups and downs we will face together.
I don’t know about you but that sounds a lot more exciting than perfect!!
(Thanks homeschool mom bud who suggested this topic inadvertently… we totally have better things to do than be perfect… and I am thankful we get to do so many of them together!)
Love reading about your kids and your family in general. You’re a good mom – don’t let ANYONE casts doubts on you!
Thanks Donna. Sometimes you worry….