Imperfect parenting is perfect
Posted May 18, 2020 9:00 p.m. EDT
Updated May 19, 2020 10:28 a.m. EDT
You thought parenting was tough. Then the pandemic happened, and, if you’re like me, you laughed at how easy you had it “BC” (before COVID). You are trying to keep your kids entertained, alive, and happy, while also juggling all the things you did before we were told not to leave our home.
As someone here in the trenches with you, I can tell you: You are doing an amazing job.
Your child might have watched "Frozen 2" or "Trolls" more than 15 times at this point. He might have had more screen time the past two months than his entire lifetime. She might be constantly fighting and eating more Oreos than oranges. And, that is more than fine. It is perfect.
What you might see as imperfect parenting is perfect. You are showing up, you are doing your best, and that is an accomplishment that should not be overlooked. So, take a moment, take a breath, and give yourself a mental pat-on-the-back for a job well done.
Here are some reminders that can help:
Satisfaction = Experience - Expectation
A friend sent me an article a couple of weeks ago that noted, “Satisfaction= Experience - Expectation.” I immediately wrote that note, in marker, on a sheet of paper and taped it to my fridge. Every day, I look at it and remember to let go of ANY of the expectations I have of myself as a mother, a business owner, a community member, a neighbor, or a wife. And I enjoy the experience.
Let go of trying to prove yourself. Receive.
Sarah Blondin’s Live Awake Series includes this important nugget, which I cling to. Instead of working so hard to become the picture of who I want to be, I let myself receive the experience of who I am, where I am, and what I am experiencing now. Receive.
Let it be messy.
Our house is in a constant state of mess. Food, paper, cups (how do two kids use so many cups?!) and toys are constantly thrown around and no matter how much we pick up, it never gets clean. So, I have decided to notice my reaction and let some of the mess just exist, with a few boundaries. My husband and I have made our room a “sacred space” where kids are no longer allowed (although our two-year-old MacGyver often finds a way to climb into our bed in the middle of the day.)
Care about you. Treat yo’self.
Self-care might seem like another thing to do on your long and ever-growing checklist, but you deserve a moment, a minute, an hour for you. My time is a run and outdoor meditation every morning, no questions asked. I collect my thoughts, plan for the day, and soak in the smell of the morning. It revives me, so, when I walk in and the demands begin, I can face it with a full(er) tank than I woke up with. Whatever you can fit in, start. Maybe it’s a yoga class, a warm bubble bath, a walk in the woods, or a moment to take a deep breath.
Start small and let go of expectations -- you might be interrupted! You deserve it. You are doing a great job.
Emily Behr is the mother of two preschool daughters and the owner and CEO of Growga, a yoga and mindfulness startup focused on the entire family. Growga’s 80+ certified instructors have pivoted to offer virtual instruction for summer camps, schools, and remote work teams.