Perfection is a toxic desire. We are not supposed to be perfect. The challenge is not to be perfect, it’s to be whole.Jane Fonda
Perfection, it’s something that many people strive for. Not getting things perfect stops us from launching businesses, taking that leap for the promotion and making the next move. I can hear myself saying it many times in the past. ‘Once this is sorted then I’ll be able to …,’ apart from the thing that needs to be sorted to make the conditions ideal, well it never happens because perfect doesn’t exist.
Jane Fonda had it right – it’s toxic. It stops things in their tracks and it makes us feel less of ourselves and what we’re doing.
It’s no different when it comes to parenting. There are some of us that waiting for the perfect time to have a baby. When I get that promotion, when we have that house, when I’m earning this much and then when we finally get that child after realising there’s no right time to have a baby, we then start to think we’re failing as there’s so much to ‘get right’. We need to cook them the most nutritious food, feed them exactly as some experts tell us we should, dress them a certain way, have the perfect sleeping conditions and the list goes on. It makes parenthood sometimes impossible to cope with.
So this quote from Jane Fonda resonates with me A LOT especially when it comes to parenting.
We’re not meant to be perfect parents – the perfect parent DOES NOT exist.
What exists are WHOLE parents which are different for everyone.
For me, that means balancing my well-being with my children’s well-being.
What I mean by that is that whatever avenues we choose for our children from the foods we give them to how we deal with their behaviour, if we don’t balance our own well-being with what we’re trying to do for the well-being of our children then even with the best intentions any negativity in our mood, how we feel, how tired or stressed we are will come out in those interactions and how we deal with our children.
Our children see and feel how we feel and they react to that. So, it’s only by looking after ourselves that we can look after them well too. I hear this a lot but wonder if any parents really manage to do it? But on the other hand, the word ‘balance’ when it comes to parenting is difficult. Everything seems to sway in one way and then not so much in the other.
But this can look very different for everyone because it depends on our circumstances and our support network. Finding ways to recharge, take some time, not stress or feel guilty about taking the easy route and generally looking after ourselves. Taking time to put ourselves first makes for parents that are WHOLE. Not being at the bottom of the pile behind the kids, other half and the dog.
Allowing ourselves to be alone for the maximum time we’re able to or take the time we have without the kids to spend time on ourselves, which might be doing nothing at all but sitting in the sunshine or snuggled under a blanket but not using the time to catch up on chores or work.
Looking out for ourselves and our own wellbeing is what makes us imperfectly whole parents. We’re modeling what well-being looks like to our children, showing we’re human and that there is no such thing as perfect in any area of life.
I no longer look for the perfect conditions or time for anything, I’m jumping in with both feet and putting everything out there because good enough is perfect when you’re whole.