Myth of the “Perfect Parent”

frustrated-womanLike everyone, I came into parenting with both strengths and challenges. One of the challenges was that I had brain wired the idea that I was supposed to get it all “right”. Mixed into that was shame about never getting it “right”.

I floundered around in doubt and pain: I didn’t know how to share my vulnerability about parenting. And, I got stuck in the shame.

I certainly “worked” hard at it…I read books and literally dedicated a large part of my life to learning to improve my parenting and connect with kids. I learned a lot, grew a lot,  and through it have shared my experiences and growth.  With tons of gratitude for support over the years, and, thanks to Brene Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection and audio, The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting), my shame detector beeps less and beeps louder, often enabling me catch it sooner. My tools that help me dodge the shame of imperfection or move past it into love and understanding are stronger. I am more grounded, more of the time, in love and belonging.

And, guess what? I’m still not at the mythical “there”. I’m still learning. Sometimes I can forget and think I’m to be perfect, still sink into the fog fed by shame.

Somewhere in this journey, a phrase really stuck, “What’s important is that we are in process”, that is, at least some of the time, engaged, honest about our vulnerability, learning, growing, trying new things, and changing awareness and old patterns, bit by bit.

There is no such thing as the perfect parent (teacher or grandparent or blogger). We are always in process, step by step.

Let’s throw out our yardsticks, keep our sleeves rolled up, and be honest in our vulnerability. Let’s remember that relationships deepen when there is both the vulnerability about mishaps and frustrations, and the openness to see things from another viewpoint.

Let’s learn from each other – How do you deal with imperfection as a caregiver? How do you model this to your kids?

Photo credit: Amen Clinics

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