The Price of Perfection

When you thought about having children, or first became a parent, did you ever stop to think about what you wanted for your child…often we say we want what’s “best for our child”.  We’re also easily caught up in being the “best parent”…and we’ve probably all experienced self-inflicted pressure when we compare ourselves to other parents, and wonder how they’re able to have this parenting thing perfected.

Well, there is good news…there is no such thing as perfect!  Of course, we all know this but it doesn’t seem to stop us from trying again and again.  I remember years ago, our oldest daughter called me out on trying to be the perfect parent (yes, I admit I was on that “perfect parent” track!).  As I was preparing for her birthday party, she said, “Why do the napkins have to match the plates…why does everything has to match?!”  Now, I’d love to say that I was the “perfect” parent and responded by asking her how she really wanted her birthday to be…but I didn’t.  In my attempt to offer her a “perfect” birthday party, I didn’t take into consideration how she really wanted her birthday to be.  Maybe she didn’t want all that pressure of perfection placed on her?

When we tell our children that all we want is for them to do their “best” in school, do we really mean it?  How do we even measure what their “best” is?  Isn’t it difficult not to compare our child’s “best” to our friend’s children, or our other children?

Pressure we put on our children and ourselves often come from our own fears…what if they don’t get into the best school, what if they don’t make the team, what if they don’t get good grades, what if I’m judged by other parents?

In addition to trying to be the perfect parent, don’t we often try to create the perfect life for our children…make sure they get into the perfect school, eat a perfect healthy diet, have perfect attendance in school, reward them for straight A’s on their report card, and on and on.  If you weren’t anxious enough already about being the best parent, all you have to do is browse the parenting section at your local bookstore…full of experts’ advice on how to raise your child…overwhelming!

Maybe being good enough, is good enough?  There is nothing wrong with doing our “best”, but isn’t it freeing some days just to show up and just be good enough?  If we intentionally let go of the need be the best parent or raise a perfect child, we create space to just “be” with our child…without the added pressure of perfection.

How much pressure are we putting on ourselves to be the “perfect” parent and to raise the “perfect” child…we might want to ask ourselves how much pressure are we putting on our children?

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