Perfection. It’s a word I really hate now that I’m an older and wiser middle aged woman who is also a mom to 5 kids. Perfection is something I strived for as a young mother and I can see now how this was hurting not only myself, but it was effecting my family, especially my girls. Since my girls look up to me as their example of what a woman should be they were mimicking my behavior. And I started noticing this. And it was breaking my heart.
I do not expect my daughters to be perfect. I do not expect them to be happy all the time. I do not expect them to be good at everything. But that’s what I expected of myself, and they were very aware of that. I would notice little things like how they talked to their younger siblings, they started sounding like me.
I used to believe that I was a failure if my house was not sparkling clean, not just clean, but sparkling, people! If my kids did not have on cute outfits, perfectly fixed hair and brushed teeth before we left the house, I was a failure as a mother. If breakfast, lunch and dinner did not contain all of the food groups and presented beautifully on a plate, I was a failure. If I didn’t breastfeed my kids, I was a failure. If I didn’t have my kids on a sleeping schedule from 3 weeks old, I wondered what was wrong with me. If I didn’t post beautiful pictures that looked professional, I wasn’t keeping up appearances. If my husband wasn’t greeted at the door with a hug and a kiss and me looking like a housewife from the 1950’s in my red lipstick and my perfect dress, I was a horrible wife. If my kids didn’t have all the lessons in the world (piano, dance, singing) I was depriving them. Sheesh. It’s exhausting just writing all this down, just imaging how exhausted I was in real life!
Where did I get this idea? Why did I think I needed to be perfect? Why does it still bother me?
Now the funny thing is that this striving for perfection was actually making me bad at so many other things. Like playing with my kids (for fear of making a mess), letting the kids do the housework and help in the kitchen (for fear of making a mess), actually understanding what my kids and husband needed, which was my time, not my service. They didn’t need me to do everything for them, they wanted me to just be with them.
Striving for perfection was making me an ugly person. I was expecting perfection from my children which made me yell a lot, I was judging other mom’s which made me a bad friend, I was trying to raise the children I wanted, not the children they already were, which made me a bad mom.
After I had my 5th child, I really realized that perfection was a dirty word. There is no way to be a perfect parent. There are only ways to be the parent your family needs. I heard a wise woman say “My children are not perfect, but they are the perfect children for me.” What an amazing way to think about life. So now I say “I am NOT perfect, but I’m the perfect parent for my kids”.
I mean, someone sure thinks I’m good enough. Heavenly Father is the one who sent them to me in the first place, right? He must think I’m capable of being their parent, and He of all people knows how far from perfect I am.
THIS IS NOT THE KIND OF LIFE I WANT FOR MY DAUGHTERS! When I noticed that they were mimicking my behavior, I knew I needed to change the way I viewed the world. I needed to get a grander perspective on life. I needed to change. CHANGE is hard for a lot of people, but it is possible.
I want my daughters to understand that life is SO far from perfect. That things go wrong. Some things are out of their control. Some days are better than others. I want them to realize that it’s normal to not be happy all the time and that anxiety is a normal feeling everyone experiences. Life is hard and we all just work our way through it. BUT most of all I want them to understand that they are loved by me NO MATTER WHAT! And in order to make them feel that way, I need to show it to them. I need to talk to them about my feelings. I need to say that it’s OK that things are not perfect.
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I want my daughters to understand that no one else’s life is perfect and they should never compare themselves to others. Comparison is the thief of joy and I want them to make their own version of perfect.
Mom’s, let’s all be kind to each other, but most of all let’s all be honest with each other. Portraying a perfect life is not helping others at all. It helps me feel better about myself when I know you are not perfect either. I don’t feel alone.
You’ve probably seen this funny video about mom’s fighting it out about their version of perfect. If you haven’t seen it, be sure to watch until the end.
There’s not just one way to be a parent. We all have our own version of perfect, which is NOT perfection. Help your kids and let them know that life has up’s and down’s.
And always remember:
- Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. -Thomas S. Monson
- Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you but on what happens inside of you. It is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life. -Harold B. Lee
- We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are. -Marjorie Pay Hinkley
And my all time favorite quote about womanhood:
I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.
I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived. -Marjorie Pay Hinkley
Let’s all strive to be the best moms we can be by really noticing what is needed and not what we think looks good to others.
I love being a mother. I feel close to heaven when I look into my children’s eyes. I feel the love my Heavenly Father has for me when I pray on my children’s behalf. I strive to be the Un-perfect parent for all too see. So that everyone can feel a little bit better about their lives. All you need to do is follow me on Instagram to see that my life is full of un-perfect moments that are SO perfect for me!
Have a wonderful day everyone!