Instead of striving to be a perfect parent and then feeling guilt when we fail, why don't we strive to be good enough instead. What is a Good Enough Parent? A parent who is dedicated to being the best parent they can possibly be, but without the pressure of being 'perfect'.
Because really, what is 'perfect' anyway? Who's eyes are we talking about when we are viewing perfection?
Is it the eyes of those on social media? Those casting judgement from behind their screens, seeing only the best photographs of the tidiest house and healthiest lunch boxes?
Is it the eyes of our mother-in-law or our own mother? Those who may spend a few hours a week with our children? or who may have forgotten some of the real struggles that having young children bring?
Is it our own eyes? Our own expectations and ideals of what is perfect?
Surely the only set of eyes that matter are our own children's. And do our own children care if we serve them cereal for dinner when we are too tired or too unwell to cook? Do our children whinge when we switch on the television for them to watch after a hectic and busy day? Do they complain when there is cake found in their lunchbox or when we tell them they can stay up a later because we don't have the energy to put them to bet just yet? Do they think we've failed as parents if these things occur?
I propose that you consider the concept of the good enough parent. The parent who makes mistakes and who apologises for their mistakes. The parent who doesn't give their child everything but instead teaches them the value of working hard to earn something and the important lesson of patience.
I propose you ease up on yourself and see yourself through your children's eyes. Teach your children that it's more important how we behave than what we wear - and that what we say and how we act matters more than how big our house is or the type of car we drive. I recently heard a great talk on raising children and the speaker said 'let your children be frustrated.' We should let them work through their frustration and learn how to cope with not getting everything they want, when they want it. Love them through actions and words and care, not with objects and money and the perfectly posed photos.
Let our children see us fail. Let them see us cry and make mistakes and let them see us get back up again and get on with things. That is real and that is life. As much as I love the idea of being a superhero or 'Super Mum' for my kids I think I am better to show them that I am in fact, human. I lose my temper and yell and forget important things, just like they do. We are all in this together. I hope what makes me 'super' in their eyes is the way I apologise and try to do better next time.
The Perfect Parent doesn't exist - He or She is make-believe and probably lives at The North Pole.
Aren't we always telling our kids to 'just do your best'? So why don't we take our own advice and just do our best...and if some days are just too hard then we can try again tomorrow.
Don't strive for perfection, it will only wear you down.
Strive to be good enough.
And if you ever find yourself wondering whether you're doing this whole parenting thing right, if your ever worrying over whether you're enough, then I can tell you now, you are good enough.