Your Kids Don’t Need A Perfect Parent
I have good news: your kids don’t need a perfect parent.
You are not alone if you think parenting is hard. It is. It is a job that requires all of who I am, around the clock. I can love my kids well and serve them well for a few hours or even a few days in a row. I can be attentive to their needs, present, and engaged. I think there are even times I am good at it. But then there are days when caring for them feels like a cheese grater on my skin. It doesn’t come naturally and I have little desire to sacrifice on their behalf.
When you live with people, especially people dependent upon you for their every need, it is hard to hide the darker facets of your heart. This part of parenting creates a lot of fear and anxiety for many parents (myself included). When my kids get an angered response from me, or I thoughtlessly dismiss them, I can see the sadness on their face and sense confusion about why mommy is suddenly being unkind or impatient. In this moment— this moment we all face— we have a choice.
We can sail past it, pretending it didn’t happen.
We can grow defensive and justify our selfishness.
Or we can turn toward our child and ask forgiveness.
When we fail (which we all do!) the temptation to hide our imperfections, deny them, or simply disengage from our children grows stronger in our hearts. When facing the upsetting truth of our imperfection, we feel vulnerable. And that is scary.
I have found that owning my imperfections and asking for forgiveness–like the third option above–restores and enhances the relationship with my children. The pressure to be perfect dissipates for both of us and the freedom to be authentic is more defining of our relationship.
In a world filled with pressure to look good, where appearances are everything and self-sufficiency is glorified, we have the power to give our kids the tools to engage honestly and find their identity in something beyond appearing perfect. We can model and promote love and acceptance through being authentic amidst vulnerability, rather than doing everything “perfectly.”
So good news! Your kids don’t need a perfect parent. They need a courageous parent, humble enough to to risk vulnerability after messing up. How you honestly handle your imperfection matters more than your imperfections themselves.
By: Kim Hammans, PLPC