You might be trying to be a perfect parent if….
You have repeated yourself 500 times and your kid is still not listening. You get frustrated and yell, ” Hello!?? Is anyone there!”
You set your alarm. Turn it off, then rush your kids through the morning routine yelling at them to “hurry up!” over and over in the hope that you won’t be late. Although it is inevitable.
Your kids only obey if you count, “1….2….3” before they leap into action.
You change your parenting tactics on an hourly basis. Please let SOMETHING work is echoing in your head.
Your favorite part of the day is putting your kids to bed. At least then the madness will end. Right?
Yep. I’m guilty. I’ve realized this about myself. I mean, don’t get me wrong, some days, I have it majorly together. I am patient. I don’t raise my voice. I go to bed and pat myself on the back, and think, “Maybe I am figuring this out.”
But, doesn’t it always happen that the next day turns into the day from hell and reality slaps you in the face. It is like just then, someone is telling you, “Not too fast. Don’t think you have it all together just yet”. You lose your temper. Lose your patience. Maybe you yell. Or don’t listen well. Maybe you don’t handle a situation with grace. Instead, you lose your cool. Then, you feel like crap. Sound familiar? I know that it does to me.
But, the truth is, we’re all figuring out this parenting thing as we go. There will never be a perfect parent.
And, sometimes we are trying so hard to be perfect, that we get desperate. Desperate parenting never feels good. But, when you’re trying to be a perfect parent, you end up just feeling desperate instead.
Here are 5 signs you might be trying to be the perfect parent:
You never want to have bumps in the road. If a child has an accident, it throws a wrench in things. You have clean up, and baths. Maybe it involves a change of clothes, or leaving a fun event. Yet, it’s not the end of the world. If you can’t handle little changes like a kid getting sick, or a child spilling something on the floor, then there’s a good chance you’re reaching for the unattainable.
You actually feel a need to have things perfect. Children are not perfect. I know this. I am not stupid. Yet, my expectations for them sometimes must make them feel like they have to be. Like, how they freak out when something small is amiss. I used to feel like my need for perfectionism was rubbing off on them. But, is the world going to end if they wear their pajamas out in public? No. But, yelling at them 20 times to “hurry up!” when you are the one that slept in, can hurt their little spirit. Life is never perfect.
You feel a need to get it right. When we all start out as parents, we just want to do everything just right. But, we won’t. And, we want our kids to turn into good, responsible, caring human beings. So, we focus on doing everything just right. But, is it the end of the world if we mess up. Say I’m sorry, admit we don’t know everything, or admit we aren’t perfect to our children? Nope. Instead, it shows them that we are learning right along beside them.
You want to control the outcome of everything. Add together 1, 2, and 3, and basically, it boils down to this one. Parents get desperate because they want to control their surroundings. Yet, when you are a parent, let’s admit it, life is out of control. (Sorry to all control freaks that might be trying to decide whether or not to have children) It’s true. You think you have a plan, and little people will always change it. Whether it be a bodily function that throws things off, or their sheer will. Truth be told, the world won’t end if sometimes we feel out of control.
You have strong feelings of being overwhelmed and feeling inadequate. This feeling of inadequacy, coupled with feeling overwhelmed can foster a feeling of desperation. I’ve realized this about myself. Yet, we are all a little inadequate. And, having three kids would make anyone feel overwhelmed (at least that’s what I tell myself). If you’re feeling this feeling constantly, then there’s a very good chance that you’re aiming for perfection in some aspect of your parenting.
The truth is, I wrote these down a few years ago, and after revisiting them recently, I realized I’ve stopped aiming for perfection. Thank goodness, because that was exhausting! So, it’s possible to let go of this bad parenting habit. I’m aiming more for survival most days now. But, it has brought great growth in myself as a parent and I’m proud that I’ve let go of a lot of things in the past 10 years.
So what should you do if you’re feeling like a desperate parent trying to be perfect? (I’ve been there, friend. I know what that feels like) Try asking yourself these questions and see if you can readjust your focus:
- What are the consequences if I let _________ happen?
- Is that consequence that big of a deal in the big scheme of things?
- Is the situation hopeless? If not then what?
- What would the NON-desperate parent do?
- Am I trying to control something I can’t control?
- What happened LAST time I was in this situation? Did we get through it?
There is no need to be desperate in our parenting. The definition of desperate is:
“Feeling, showing, or involving a hopeless sense that a situation is so bad as to be impossible to deal with.”
That definition kind of makes me laugh. Because when you put that word together with parenting, it seems ludicrous and truthful at the same time. How many of us have felt hopeless that our parenting tactic is not working? Or that our children are impossible!? Yet, deep down, I don’t believe parenting is a desperate situation. There is always hope.
It may feel impossible some days. Our children surely act impossible some days. But, parenting is NOT impossible. Millions of people do it every single day. Right? So, maybe some do it a little more gracefully than others. But, it’s possible. To raise, good, honest human beings.
But, the beauty of parenting is that there is always another day to get it right. So, there is always hope. And there is NO need to be perfect at any of it.
Jenny @ Unremarkable Files says
I like your insights here. It’s hard to remember that being late to the appointment is NOT the end of the world, even if we get there so late that they can’t see us and we have to reschedule, or whatever. Most things that we flip out about will not even matter a few days or weeks from now.
Rose Barnett (@mRoseBarnett) says
Oh my goodness this is a great post. You put so much into it! I will be tweeting this. Thank you bc this is me and I struggle with not being perfect and that question of what are the consequences if I don’t do anything…. haha, well that’s a mix of your questions but I ask myself and then try to clearly see the truth of it all. It’s interesting, I am working on a perfectionist post too lol.
Thanks Rose! I’m glad you enjoyed it!