Imperfect Parenting

Striving for perfection is an impossible task. Life throws us many curve balls, we try to dodge them, battle them and tame them, but still another one appears.

Parenting is not about perfection, it’s about learning how best to dodge those balls, manage and cope with whatever is thrown at us whilst providing the best love and support to our family we can.

It’s more about imperfect parenting… we are all human.

Parent walking with child

So many images and stories in the media and social media portray the ‘perfect parent’. All the books tell you how you should parent and pinterest is full of posts saying things like “10 things you should not say to your children”, giving you the impression you will be damaging them for life if you do. It is hard not to be swept up in this idea that we need to be perfect, it is there for us all to see, day in day out.

Every parent has made mistakes, we all do it and anyone who says differently quite frankly is kidding themselves. If we are honest, we are all imperfect parents, striving to do the best we can in some very turbulent situations.

There are times in life when we sail through nicely on calm happy waters, then suddenly a storm appears from nowhere, from the children, from other family, or work.

It makes no difference where it comes from, it affects everyone. You can feel like you’re swimming upstream, you can feel anxious and powerless. We battle through, trying to be faultless, when really we need to give ourselves a break, we are not perfect, we don’t live in an ideal world.

We are doing the best we can in difficult circumstances.

We need to give ourselves permission to make mistakes. In fact, this can be a good thing for children to see. Showing children no one is perfect, mistakes happen, they can relate to that.

If all they see in their parents is unblemished, faultless behaviour, they will think they need to be this too, which is a hell of a pressure to hold…to be perfect!

We all go through some tough times, we try to do our best, but let’s be honest, are we really going to permanently damage our children if we occasionally raise our voice, or forget to send their PE kit into school, or can’t watch their music concert?

No, we show our children we are human, we show our children we love them and we demonstrate life in the real world.

There are turbulent times ahead, but I am doing my best to be an imperfect parent who loves and supports her family the best way she can.

15 thoughts on “Imperfect Parenting”

  1. Its hard work being a parent and trying to work out whether you are doing the right thing, and honestly I don’t think articles that make you worry about every sentence you’ve ever used helps with that. It just adds on the pressure!

  2. So true that none of us are perfect parents and I think embracing and accepting those imperfections takes a lot of the pressure off parenting.

  3. This is very true. I saw a friend the other day who said that she has just accepted that motherhood comes with a constant baseline level of guilt about everything you are doing, or not doing, and you’ve just got to try your best to manage it. I’m going to send her your post 🙂

  4. I’m completely with you too. It’s about doing your best and knowing that this is what matters, even if sometimes your best isn’t as good as you might like.

    I have been thinking the same as you for a long time now (I wish it wasn’t quite as long) so sending you the warmest hugs for the times ahead x

  5. So true! Loved the post. It’s difficult not to be hard on ourselves when we only want the best for our children…parenting comes with a lot of guilt, doesn’t it?

  6. I agree, wise words. Children do need to see parents as real people in order to have realistic expectations when they are adults.

  7. Your third paragraph really touches me. Particularly the sentence ‘You can feel like you’re swimming up-stream’ for I’ve felt I constantly do this!

  8. Oh so true. I think your point about not always being perfect in our children’s eyes is important. It can stop them trying. They learn lot about how they see us cope with a situation.

  9. Definitely no such thing as a perfect parent, we just all do the best that we can and that’s all we can do 🙂

  10. Great post, and please don’t try and be perfect! Parenting is done by us humans, we can never be perfect but that’s part of the fun of it – we make mistakes, we learn from each other and we grown with each other, like you say that’s what’s important for our children to see!

  11. I agree! It’s hard sometimes to read the posts and articles implying that there is a “right” way to raise your child and every other way is wrong, or that if you don’t do A, B, and C, your children will be missing out.

    We all do the best we can each day and that’s good enough.

  12. Lovely post. I agree a lot of people on social media portray themselves as the perfect parent and that can have damaging effects x

  13. Every parent can relate to these words!

    This post is amazing, the guilt and trying to constantly compete with a bench mark. Not only is it unhealthy for us, but also a bad modelling on our children who would have the immense pressure to aim at that bench mark too, and be unforgiving to themselves.

  14. Agree. The time when my ‘striving to be a perfect parent’ approach was really blown apart was when my son hit the teenage years. I’d read all the books to prepare and had my approach all worked out.

    But what those years threw at me (and are still throwing at me, but less violently now!) turned me into an utterly imperfect parent – took me a long while to come to terms with how bad a job I was doing.

    But once I had, it felt a lot better! The most important thing I think is to do ‘thoughtful parenting’. i.e. do what you feel and think and believe is right – have a reason why you do what you do – rather than following what your parents did/what others do/what people tell you to do.

    Whoops – you triggered me off there!

  15. Parenting is hard work, and there is so much to feel guilty about and to wonder if you are doing the right thing. All you can do is your best – and I just remember that noone is perfect!

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