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.


3 thoughts on “Perfection is… not real. (Part I)

  1. It’s hard isn’t it? I think we’re all so aware what an important job it is, and we are so wanting our children to be not just OK, but the best they can be – and then we know that our parents didn’t get it quite right either…possibly this is why so many people get their knickers in a knot about how to parent well…My flawed authentic self did some shouting today…sigh.

    • The shouting is a tough one for me to cop to… but my flawed authentic self does it too. Parenting is an important job, and I agree, I’d like to provide a better than okay experience for my kids. They deserve everything. All kids do. But then again, I guess “everything” means permission to be imperfect. And permission to have imperfect parents who love them like the dickens, even while shouting. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Karyn.

  2. Absolutely…I would hate our kids to feel they weren’t a good person for making mistakes. As long as our children feel connected to us, I feel OK with the ocassional rant…probably until the day they start seriously ranting back!

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