As parents we try hard to be perfect – the perfect mum, the perfect dad.
We focus on giving our children a perfect upbringing – the perfect home, the perfect childhood.
But is being a perfect parent just a far-fetched fantasy?
I had this thought after sitting down to watch the hilarious new comedy Bad Moms in the movies recently.
I wasn’t expecting the movie to actually make me think hard about something and walk away with a heart-warming message, but I did.
When the main character of the movie makes a speech about being a mum at the end of the movie it really drives home that message – none of us as parents are perfect.
We all make mistakes. We all have days where we aren’t perfect, where our kids leave the house without their lunch or do something so silly it makes us shake our heads.
I look back at my mum and think about my childhood.
Was it perfect?
But when I think about it, it was great, and she was great.
Later in life as I grew older she would often talk about her regrets bringing me up, or how she felt she hadn’t been a good mum in some respects – and I would always tell her she was wrong about that.
I turned out just fine. Not psychologically or physically damaged, well educated, and a functioning, contributing member of society.
So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect parents?
My mind wanders back to the movie Bad Moms.
In one scene of the movie, the three main characters talk about the pressures they feel to be perfect mums.
“There’s so many rules now,” one of the mums says.
“Don’t punish your kids!” another says.
“Don’t say no to your kids!” the third says.
“We all work too damn hard trying to make our kids’ lives amazing and magical. Their lives are already amazing and magical,” the main character Amy says.
While it’s only a movie, it really hit home for me.
Compared to our time as parents in the good old days, modern parenting seems to have so many pressures, so many stresses and so much judgment.
Social media has allowed us to judge each others parenting skills, mummy bloggers share conflicting advice and the world seems to have gone crazy with political correctness.
One article I read explained why as parents we put ourselves under pressure.
Some of the reasons include worrying about how safe the world is for our kids, fear of failing our kids, feeling isolated from the support of family and friends, struggling to keeping pace with the changing world and struggling to spend time with the kids.
Another article I read described the perfect parent as a “myth”.
“That person does not exist,” it states.
“We all make choices as parents, some free choices and some forced choices. Sometimes we are able to do what is best for our children and sometimes we are not.”
How true is that?!
So what can we do to stop trying to be perfect?
Even after the kids have flown the nest and grown up we try to be perfect.
The best tips I’ve found were in an article – give yourself permission to not be perfect, look after yourself, don’t always put everyone else feel and it’s ok to apologise to your kids and admit you were wrong.