I am here to tell you that no matter how many times you post it on Facebook and shower your kid with love and adoration, “Your Kid Is Not Perfect.”
I learned a long time ago that my kids are not perfect. Over the past 16 years as a parent, I have had to apologize to teachers, coaches, other parents, mall security guards, waitresses, camp counselors, dance coaches, soccer coaches, other kids, an ice cream man and, yes, even my kids.
The reason? My kids are not perfect. Far from it and that’s cool.
Here’s the deal: WIFE and I know this and we work with them every single day. It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun, but its reality and we accept it instead of ignoring it and hoping “they’ll work through it” or “outgrow it” or “if we ignore, it will go away.” Think of your biggest character flaw…. Do you think at some point your parents decided “ahhh, it will work itself out?”
A bad golf swing doesn’t work itself out, the yips in baseball doesn’t work itself out, why would this be any different.
WIFE and I, like many other parents, see the strengths and the flaws in our kids and do what it takes to help our kids leverage their strengths and cope and learn from their flaws. Sometimes we talk with them; sometimes we praise them; sometimes we get them professional help; and, yes, on the very rare occasion we’ve spanked them.
ATTN: Bitc&y mom in my school district who loves to roll her eyes, point at my family and do everything in her power to make us feel uncomfortable: this is your cue to check your roots in the mirror, do 15 burpees, and begin to gossip. We will wait…..
15, 14, 13….
For the rest of us, lets move on. I am not here to shame parents, but rather celebrate the many parents who recognize that their kids aren’t perfect, live with their quirks and work on the things that need to be “fine tuned.”
Bravo to you!
It ain’t easy, is it?
Looking at your little “miracles” and forcing yourself to go beyond the “thoughts” in your mind to taking action can be gut-wrenchingly painful. We all want our kids to grow up to be happy and great and successful and in love and safe and all that stuff. But, sometimes that path is filled with obstacles that come from within and those are much harder to deal with than the Bitc&y mom in our school district or a playground bully.
Acting on the fact that your kid is not perfect takes a strength that truly defines what being a parent is: pushing your own preconceived notions, fears, and ego aside and giving your kids everything they need to grow both mentally and physically. That is love.
I see the exhaustion in some parents’ eyes as they work tirelessly day and night to help their children. The parents who have learned to celebrate victories like making eye contact, eating without being sick, not lashing out at other kids, saying the simple phrase, “I love you mommy.” It’s not what they signed up for and not what they could have ever predicted, but it’s real and they deal with it head on.
There’s nothing wrong with it, nothing to be ashamed of and offering your kid help won’t keep you out of the good country club or play group, it might actually help. Really.
It’s okay to say it “My kid is not perfect!” Once you understand that simple fact, life becomes much easier as a parent: milk gets spilled, mistakes happen, people on occasion may get banged around. Being there to help, lift them up, and guide them will pay dividends in the end that would make even the Bitc&y mom in our school district smile.
Odds are your less than perfect kid will grow up to feel safe, be a well adjusted person, who know it’s okay to be less than perfect. After all, we all are.