My child doesn’t have to be perfect. That needs to become my new mantra. Now that Jackson is walking and becoming more vocal, he’s starting to test me. Mr. Independent needs to be his new nickname because he’s all about doing things by himself. The other night we were out to dinner and he was being less than stellar with his behavior. I was having a slight freak out moment because I don’t want him to misbehave – I want him to be perfect at all times. While walking out of the restaurant, I had an “a-ha moment.” I realized that I’m putting too much pressure on myself for Jackson to be perfect. He’s going to have tantrums, he’s going to cry, and he’s going to get mad. He’s a 15 month old BOY who is learning and growing. I will seriously have a nervous breakdown if I put such high expectations on myself! I’m learning to take a deep breath and stay calm.
This experience has made me realize how much pressure is put on parents. We want our children to be the best at everything, right? Some might think of themselves as a failure if his or her child isn’t reaching a milestone right away, or isn’t at the top of the class, or isn’t the best player on the soccer team. The world is so competitive! I, myself, am someone who likes to be perfect. Perfection is something that I strive for in everyday life. I’m a very competitive person who likes to win and be the best. As a parent, however, I don’t want to be that way. I don’t want to pressure my son to think he has to be the best. I certainly want him to work hard and be competitive, but I don’t want him to worry about failing. We all fail; we all have things we aren’t good at; and we all must learn to cope with disappointments. The same goes for me as a parent – I’m not a perfect mom. I’m learning as I go. I know I will make some wrong decisions, but I also know that I’m trying damn hard to be the best parent I can be. My child deserves nothing less.
So now I feel it’s my mission to use this “a-ha moment” as motivation and a learning experience. I want to find a middle ground — somewhere between perfection and not giving a crap (much closer to the perfection spectrum 🙂 ). I want my son to behave, try his best, and strive to succeed. I also don’t want to put so much pressure on him (and myself) that he is scared to try. We will celebrate his successes and learn from his disappointments. I will learn to take a deep breath more often and focus on the good!
“There is no such thing as a perfect parent, so just be a real one.” ~Sue Atkins