Over half term I spent a few days with my son in Scarborough and I don’t think I could have felt more free or at ease. Who’d have thought that four days on the North East coast could be so blissful?
It’s easy to be the adult we want to be when life is being kind; when we’re not clock-watching, being relentlessly ignored, constantly cleaning up someone else’s mess or juggling more than any person should ever try.
One hour after getting home and I just wanted to get back in my car and drive back; my house had descended back into chaos, the irritation and overwhelm had returned.
I hit the ground running the next day, felt disconnected from all my work and have been sloping off to my office at all hours to ‘catch up’ ever since.
And so many of us, parents in particular, are right here; feeling like we’re doing everything halfway, not good enough and not for long enough.
And then I read memes like this one and it’s a sobering reminder about taking some perspective and being the adult I want my son to become.
But there’s a flip side to this I think, because statements like these can make us strive to be a ‘perfect parent’ all the time… As though the stress, the guilt, the unrealistic expectations we place upon ourselves are not enough already?
None of us want to be the shouty, irritable, moany, nagging or barking mum or dad, but most of us are, occasionally, or more than occasionally.
So here’s a different perspective on imperfect parenting, because when we’re struggling to be the parent we aspire to be, we can also teach our kids;
✅ How to handle not being at their best, and to try again if they need to
✅ They can make a good choice about what to do next, even if they’ve just made a bad choice
✅ How to repair and heal ruptures when they happen
✅ How to accept themselves as a normally flawed human being
✅ How to forgive themselves (and others) for being a normally flawed human being
And so the next time your kid handles their disappointment, does a decent job of managing their frustration or stress, or is gracious in defeat, don’t just applaud them for what they did, but you for what you did, too. You taught them.
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