Perfection is… not real. (Part I)


R and M being R and M.

A number of months ago, I saw Mary Hartzell, co-author of Parenting From the Inside Out,

Last June, I heard child development specialist, Mary Hartzell,  speak on parenting.  Mary Hartzell co-authored the book Parenting From the Inside Out with Psychiatrist and neurobiologist, Daniel Seigell Siegel.

At one point in her discussion of parenting and secure attachment, Martzell, Hartzell asked audience members to raise their hands if they wished they could be perfect parents.  I think there were two of us who tentatively allowed ourselves to raise fingertips ever-so-slightly above our collarbones.  I was embarrassed to admit it, because I feel so (sooooooo) far from it, but if I’m totally honest, I have to admit that I wish I could be the perfect parent.  I wish I could be the mom who used cloth diapers; who made all her kids’ baby food from fresh, organic, fruits and vegetables, purchased from the local Farmer’s Market; who learned how to use one of those crazy twin slings so that I could carry both babies at once; who had a back of steel; who did crafts and cooking with my kids every day; who had loads of energy; who kept my house clean more clean; who drank more water; looked more calm and sounded smarter.  All while smiling.

Hartzell’s response was that perfection is. not. real.  Not only that, but desiring perfection denies our (flawed) authentic selves and sends the message to our kids that our true genuine selves are not good enough.

And having written the above, my “dreams of perfection,” makes me realize that those aren’t really the things I want.  I’ve dreamed of them because I have hoped that they would make me feel like enough, like I’ll finally get. I want the Caldecott Medal of parenting, the “Parenthood Seal of Approval” so I’ll know that I’m on the right track.