I haven’t met the perfect parent. It’s not me. It’s likely not you either.
But that’s ok. Children are born of love, not perfection.
Still, sometimes we wonder if there is a scientific formula for being the perfect parent, a special combination of elements that will help us get it just right.
Our society encourages this; we are told we must have the right economic, educational, medical, emotional, and intellectual circumstances to responsibly have a child. It seems a very dangerous and risky business, and one must be perfectly prepared.
Sometimes people wait their whole lives to be perfectly ready. Baby room painted just so. Millions in the bank. 800 parenting books read. Relationship so stable it makes mountains look wispy and wobbly. Health just so, taking the right 60 vitamins, and doing yoga 10 hours a day.
What happened to something that used to be so natural? A creative overflow of love? Isn’t the sincere love between parents already giving your child a lot, especially in today’s world?
But our fear of being imperfect parents in an imperfect world really paralyzes us so much as a society. We fear traumatizing our kids and are haunted of visions of their future therapist’s couch before they even leave their cradle.
We are told we better consult the experts constantly, because we as “mere parents” (just rabbits really) know nothing. I don’t think all this fear is actually making us better parents, just less confident and optimistic ones.
If we risk having one, we think we shouldn’t have another, because we’re not perfect yet. The funny thing is though, that having another child helps us to grow better, more mature, relaxed and confident, and therefore helps our first child, too. Experience is a good teacher.
So please don’t let fear of your imperfection stop you from loving; that would be a terrible tragedy. None of us had perfect parents, but we’re still glad to be here, in this messy, imperfect, absurdly beautiful world.
While I haven’t met perfect parents, I have met perfect babies.
Actually many of them.
More specifically, ALL of them.
Each baby is perfect.
A perfect gift, a perfect miracle, a perfect parcel of love.
Each one makes the world more beautiful. That means you, too.
Siblings help each other to grow as well, precisely through their imperfection, their foibles and stubborn streaks; experiencing all this children learn, in a context of love, how to get along with, embrace and accept others.
If we are teaching our kids to love, to care for others and help them when they are down, we are doing a lot toward making the world a better place.
My kids can squabble as much as the next ones, but I was happy to see my older girls stepping up and caring for the younger ones this week when they weren’t feeling well. Here’s a picture of my 5 year old reading bedtime stories to her little sister. Without being asked. That made me really happy.
So stop worrying about being perfect, unless you want to go live with the Sasquatch, who can maybe give you some pointers.
Personally, I think what you need as a parent is love, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and grow, because as much as parenting will make your children grow, it’ll make you grow more.
Happy trails! And may you be abundantly blessed in love.