Nine Months More

Parenting Perfect Children

It was only recently that I started to change the way I looked at my children. Change the glasses of expectation I view them through. I’m not sure what caused the shift. Maybe it was something I read, maybe it was something I saw in myself when I looked in the mirror every day. Either way I knew that looking at my children and expecting them to be perfect was something I did almost every single minute of the day.

Now before I go on I want to start with a disclosure. I’m not saying my children are perfect, I am not saying that I am perfect and I am absolutely not saying that anyone who is reading this strives for perfection in themselves or their children. Gosh perfection has become an ugly taboo in our society and I am well aware of that.

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This post is about the bar. The standard we expect of our children. And quite honestly in most cases those expectations are quite high. Whether it is something that happens intentionally or not, it happens. Right from birth, is he sleeping through the night yet? Is he talking? Can he walk? One milestone after another keeps pushing the bar higher. But what about when developmental milestones stop mattering so much and everyday life takes their place?

It was one morning when I had a splitting headache, knew I had a huge day ahead of me and was already exhausted that I caught myself out yelling at my boys to get ready during our crazy morning routine. Why aren’t your shoes on yet? Why are you still in your pyjamas? Where is your reader? Why didn’t you get all this ready last night? When a quiet little response stopped me in my tracks: Mum I have a headache, I’m still tired from yesterday.

Yesterday was a big day, a big day of playing with their cousins in Sydney and then an evening of exhausting travel to get back home to Melbourne. I had a headache, I was still tired, why did I expect my boys not to be?

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That is the perfection I am talking about. The expectation of our children in all matter of things – to not be human, to be infallible almost. After all they are a reflection of us, a part of us, we created them – they must be perfect – or we have failed? Is that how it goes?

I think I need to start cutting my boys some slack. Not the kind of slack that gets them out of doing their homework, reading their books, playing sport or always using their manners. The kind of slack that acknowledges that my boys are not just my children, my prized possessions, they are their own little person, someone who is struggling to make it through this life just as much as I am, perhaps with less understanding than I have.

Children feel more and understand less, I need to be more aware of that. The tug of war when it comes to parenting is a tough act to manage. But I can’t keep yanking that rope and dragging my boys down. I often wonder when I snap at them, react with anger and not love, what does that do to their self-esteem? I know later that night my self-esteem hates me for it.

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It is a difficult balance this parenting gig. The extremes do not work. Striving for perfection or turning a blind eye and letting them do whatever they want. None of that is a healthy way to live and certainly spells trouble for the future. But a little more compassion, a little more understanding? Seeing our children as people and not modelling clay we have complete control over? Maybe that is a better way to start.

Are you parenting perfect children?

 

Linking up with #IBOT
Did you read last week’s post Trust in the Process?
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  • LydiaCLee

    Once you have teens you realise how little ‘clay’ you have….

  • I’ve caught myself wondering lately what I’m doing to my girls’ self-esteem. All too often lately I’ve been cranky, scolding them and telling them to hurry up because mummy has a lot of work to do and mummy is tired and mummy has a sore back. They don’t need to know all of that. I find I continually have to remind myself to take a step back, breathe and start again. #teamIBOT

  • My kids are far from perfect and so am I. I have been a yeller but made a decision to pick my battles instead and let high expectations go. I still stuff up every now and then but I keep trying!

  • Just reading this has made me realize that I’m quite hard on my girls at times. I think we get so busy we don’t have time for our kids to stuff up if that makes sense? Just reading that sounds dreadful. Love your analogy about the clay Josefa. I definitely want to parent with compassion and understanding. And I want to stop the rush. Thank your for this reminder. xxx

  • I vaguely remember my mum saying that a nurse told her to ignore baby books that told her to keep babies wrapped up. The nurse told her if you’re hot, the baby probably is too. I think it’s good to realise that children (or anyone we interact with) have the full range of emotions, just like we do!

  • Fabulous post Josefa, it can be easy to forget these things sometimes when you are so busy and racing through life all the time. x

  • Beautiful sentiment Josefa. I think we do expect our kids just to soldier on, as we have to. Sometimes, we’re just so busy, we don’t see those tired little people struggling. Thank you for the prod to keep myself in check.

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect

    Oh I love that comment where children feel more and understand less… Now I feel guilty about screaming yesterday..

  • I think I’ve unintentionally started to expect my daughter to be perfect and I need to let it go. I know I have a perfectionist nature so its hard for me to do, but I also need to stop and remember she’s only 2. She’s just a baby really and tantrums are just par for the course at this age.

  • Parenting IS a hard gig and such a balancing act. I think I might have needed this reminder to not have such high expectations of my kids – they are kids afterall.

  • Yes. It is a difficult balance. I just want my kids to feel like they have something special to offer the world. A strength. To feel valued and valuable. Not perfection. Just a little something to be proud of …

  • I’m trying very hard to raise kids that define ‘success’ by how they feel and how they make others feel, not what they have and not what they do. I think that makes a perfect person. x

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