I avoid perfect people like the plague. I’m drawn to people to laugh at their foibles, see mistakes as stepping stones and laugh freely. Perfect people are boring boring boring.
There’s real pressure among parents to be perfect. Talk about putting pressure where it’s least needed.
I joined a ton of mommy and baby groups with my 1st child and during introductions I’d say something like, “I’m Lisa and I’m just trying to manage the damage I’m going to do to my son.” It was the quickest way to weed out moms I was never going to connect with and find the ones that were going to become my friends.
There’s way too much shame attached to parenting mistakes. We’re only human, we’re going to make mistakes here, there and everywhere. We can either learn from them or go down the denial/shame path.
So many of my parents feel shame at their past mistakes. Okay, go down the pity path for a moment to get it out of your system, then get over it and move forward.
Life is about NOW. Too many of us live according to our past but that’s our own baggage, no one else of value sees us that way. You can be whatever you want to be. You can be a self-obsessed perfectionist type of parent or an open-minded learner.
For my regular readers this is repetitive but if you’re new to BratBusters here was my parenting slap in the face:
My son was 15 and said, “You’ve been a really difficult mother to have.” I was shocked and said, “Why?” He said, “Because I never had anything to rebel against, you’re too understanding and easy to talk to.” Maybe I haven’t explained this before, but he was upset when he said it. It was at that moment that I realized I hadn’t been meeting his needs so I said, “Go clean your room”. And he never did. Rebellion … check.
I know that’s small potatoes in the parenting realm but I’d had so much experience with other kids that there wasn’t much I hadn’t learned to deal with so that really threw me for a loop.
I use humour in everything I do in life. It’s a great stabilizer. I use it when dealing with new moms with postpartum to suicidal teens. It’s very carefully placed during life and death situations but ultimately the best medicine. It takes the pressure off, it lightens the need to be perfect.
Are you aiming to be the perfect parent? I sure hope not.
If you want me to help you “manage the damage”, check out my private coaching sessions. One session is good for general parenting guidance, 3 for managing problems and 5 for managing bigger problems. Call me to discuss if you’d like (604-349-8044, Vancouver, CANADA).
Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach