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There’s so much pressure out there to be the ‘Perfect Parent’. I love Pinterest as much as the next person but I swear I have a severe case of mummy guilt sometimes after spending too much time pinning all the arts and crafts activities I’ll never do with my toddler. There’s this real idea of what a Perfect Parent looks like… but seriously, if parenting was a competition, who would be winning?
And on that note… what are the rules?
The Parent Who Never Yells
Oh I’d love to meet this person, I would love to know how they do it? Really. I read a post the other day called ‘How To Never Yell at Your Child Again’. Doesn’t it sound wonderful? If parenting was a competition I bet that parent would be miles ahead of me.
I get cranky sometimes, I yell and raise my voice, especially after the fifth time I’ve asked my son not to throw his peas across the room just so he can ‘find’ them on the floor and act all surprised at how they got there. I get cranky at him and I set boundaries. I’m not perfect at it but I think I’m doing a pretty good job.
The Parent Who Does Activities With Their Kids All Day in Their Activity Centre
Have you seen these ‘arts and crafts’ rooms that some people have? Or the homeschooling set ups? They are amazing. I really do have a bit of envy when it comes to these spaces. Again – another parenting win in the ‘parenting competition’. But… we don’t homeschool, we don’t have the space for an arts and crafts room and we don’t think we need one.
Little confession here… I don’t like arts and crafts with kids. Gasp!!! Seriously, it’s messy, there’s paint and glue everywhere and don’t even get me started on the glitter. And I do feel guilty about it sometimes, my son loves painting – but he does painting when he is at daycare and that’s just fine by me. We spend time colouring in at home, I colour with the adult colouring in books (you know the ones that are supposed to be relaxing but just make you angry and frustrated that they take hours upon hours to finish…) and my son colours in his superhero books.
I don’t spend all day doing activities with my son, I am not constantly engaging with him and I even let him watch The Wiggles on Netflix. I’m sure in the ‘perfect parenting competition’ that just pushes me further down the leaderboard but you know what – I don’t care. My son learns how to be independent and create activities for himself (albeit one of those activities included colouring on the wall) and I get a breather throughout the day where I can either sit and actually drink a cup of tea or do all those other ‘parenting’ things like washing, ironing, cleaning….
The Parent Who Only Feeds Their Children Natural / Organic / Paleo / Ethically Sourced Food
I am fully aware of the benefits of a healthy diet. I understand the influences food has on behaviour and mood, especially in children and I am more than aware of the increase in knowledge about food intolerances and how dietary requirements need to be met with these. We even follow a predominately Paleo diet – not because we wanted to be Paleo but because all the food on that ‘diet’ tends to agree with us.
I was at the park with my son a few weeks ago and got chatting to another mum there. She was telling me (which was so lovely, considering I didn’t even ask…) about how strict she is with her diet and with the foods that her kids eat. She talked (and talked..) about how she spends hours everyday preparing the food for her kids, all in one of those crazy expensive Thermomix gadgets, and that she gets nervous bringing them to a park because she is worried that one of the other kids there might give her children some of their food.
I did engage in this conversation and asked her if her children have any intolerances or allergies and she said no. She then went on to tell me all of the kinds of foods she had never let her children touch – most of which my son had either eaten at some point, or had eaten that day. She certainly made me feel that if parenting was a competition, she would be winning and I’d be left so far behind.
But you know what I realised after talking to her? My son eats pretty darn healthy, most of the time. And it’s the ‘most of the time’ part that is important. Even the Godfather of Paleo himself, Mark Sisson, talks about the 80/20 rule, where you eat well 80 percent of the time and give yourself some leniency the other 20 percent.
My son chooses to eat broccoli over biscuits, he chooses to eat meat over anything else and he knows that there are foods that are ‘occasional foods’. He has had sugar before and he will have it again. We don’t have a ‘perfect’ diet but you know what? It’s perfect enough.
The Parent With The Perfectly Clean House
Who are you and what is your secret? Another Pinterest Perfect Parenting trait – I saw an article on Pinterest (I didn’t read it, I thought it would just make me feel like a failing mum) that was titled ‘How to Keep Your House Sparkling Clean With Four Kids’. It did make me wonder if she used the kids to clean… smart parenting move.
But really? I can understand having a sparkling clean house with four kids for about 2 minutes… maybe… if the kids were all at school for the day and you hired a team of cleaners to come in. But to keep it clean. Maybe I should have read the article. I bet that parent is winning the parenting competition.
We can barely keep up with a two year old at home. The house seems clean one minute, then the next there’s Matchbox cars under my feet, another load of washing to do because he wants to wear his favourite shirt and he just spilt his drink down the front of it and all over the floor I just mopped, there’s food crumbs that the dog is eyeing off and colouring pencils scattered everywhere. Luckily I don’t actually think having a clean home makes me a perfect parent… but I still try.
Parenting is different for everyone. We all have different ideas of what we need to do to be ‘perfect’ and win at this parenting game. But no one is perfect, we all know that. It’s impossible. So why do we beat ourselves up about it all the time?
If you had to actually stop and think about it, would you class yourself as a good mum?
Parenting is tough. It’s hard work, it’s draining and then we add the idea that we need to be ‘perfect’.
So why don’t we change our mindset and focus more on being okay with being ‘practically perfect’ or ‘perfect enough’? How about we focus more on what we do right rather than the dishes left behind or the mountains of washing and folding. How about we focus on the happiness of our children? And even more, the happiness of ourselves. Because when we are happy we are teaching our children how to survive in this world. In a world filled with parents who yell, parents who don’t like glitter, parents who think you don’t have to eat perfectly all the time and parents who are okay with dirty laundry. The practically perfect parents. The perfect enough parents. Me.
Want to see how perfect kids think their parents are? Take a look at this video – I had tears in my eyes just watching it!!
This post was kindly sponsored by Ski D’Lite who now have 25% less sugar in their yoghurt. They agreed that I’m a practically perfect parent too and they’re okay with it.