Thursday, June 20, 2013

Confessions of an Imperfect Mom

I have a confession to make. I am a bit of a perfectionist. Let's say I'm a recovering perfectionist...that sounds a little more optimistic. The thing is, I didn't start out as a perfectionist. As a kid I had the messiest room this side of anywhere and my mom probably still mumbles something akin to "Pick that mess up now...that's the last time I'm telling you!" in her sleep. I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but somewhere around the time my high school boyfriend started teasing me for my pressing need to have all the sugar packets facing in the same direction at a restaurant, I realized I might be a little too cozy with needing things "just so".

While I no longer fret over sugar packet arrangements, the tendency towards feeling the need to be faultless still hangs around. To the unattuned eye these perfectionistic tendencies would probably not be apparent. I have the home of any normal parent of young kids. There are baby toys spread from hither to yon, dishes are in the sink as we speak (because I am currently avoiding them like the plague), and if you happen to sit down on my couch you will probably rise with dog hair stuck to your rear end...or maybe it will be baby spit up. It's really a toss up.

My point is, the need for things to be "just so" doesn't run through every area of my life. Like most perfectionists, I prefer to focus on a few things to be persnickety about. Unfortunately, the majority of
the time, my focus is Call it egocentric (because it is) but the one thing I want to be perfectly perfect all the time is me. I want to be the perfect wife. I want to be the perfect mom. I want my attitude to be perfect. I want my words to be perfect. I can give myself all the "self-talk" I want, but at the end of the day when I don't live up to those lofty standards I set for myself, that big red marker comes out and I give myself an "F".

Lately I have been thinking about how I want my daughter to view herself as she grows up. Like any good mom, I want her to have self-confidence. I want her to be a kind person. I want her to make healthy choices and I want her to love Jesus with all her might. But I also want her to have grace for herself when she fails. And I want her to be able to laugh when she makes a mistake. And I want her to know that she is loved no matter what. There will never be a big red "F" for her. Because each failure is a lesson, and through each failure we have an opportunity to grow.

The thing is (you know what's coming) if I want those things for her, I have to be the example. I have to be an example of kindness and graciousness both towards others and towards myself. I have to
show her that mistakes are opportunities to grow, and that when we fall we get back up and dust ourselves off. I will never be a perfect mom, no matter how bad I want to and no matter how hard I try. I need to be okay with that. I need to remember that most of what I teach my daughter won't be with my mouth, it will be with my actions. When I fall, how do I get back up? And what path do I take from that point? She will be watching. And my heart's hope is that when she falls, instead of finding me laying there in the dirt unwilling to rise, she will see me standing with an outstretched hand, ready to help her up. 


  1. I have had the same thoughts change me since having Rachel. I try to admit fault, feel free to change my mind, be quick to say I'm sorry, say I don't know, and just be open about my thought processes. I try to avoid the "because I said so" excuse and give really honest answers even if the answer is that "I'm tired right now." I think it validates those feelings and helps Rachel see that I'm not perfect and that is ok. I don't always have the answer, but we can all learn together.

    1. It is amazing how freeing it can be...when you get the hang of it. I am still learning! I think you are right Janelle, it is important for our children to see us learning and growing, and to be authentic with them. Thanks!


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