The Myth of Perfect Parenting and the Real Work of Parenthood

As I’ve been putting together my series on The Myth of Perfect Parenting, I realized this piece from a year ago fits right in with the message, so I wanted to repost it here.  (I now have four boys instead of three, so you can just imagine the chaos of our next family picture!)

I just taught my first session of training classes based on my ebook, Parenting with Positive Guidance: Building Discipline from the Inside Out.  I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions we had and hope the group is enjoying it as well.

I like to start out these types of classes by introducing my family.  I start with the picture above.  A sweet shot we have hanging in our entry.  Then I show the shot that came just before or just after:

And then, perhaps one of my favorite shots:

I want people to know, not just that I have three little boys, but that my three little boys are “normal kids”.  As I wrote in the ebook:

“My own kids, and those I work with, throw tantrums, tackle playmates, and even – if you can believe it – shout at me now and then about how much they don’t like me anymore. In other words, they’re normal kids…..

Raising good kids is hard work.    Don’t let anyone try to tell you that you must be doing something wrong just because it’s hard.”

I think it’s too easy to look at others and see that one best snapshot, and think that somehow, we’re the only parent who hasn’t been able to pull it together.  That our toddler is the only one throwing tantrums and our school-age kids are the only ones fighting with each other.  In reality, we all have our fair share of great moments and struggles through parenthood.  We’re each just trying to do our best to figure it out as we go along.

Our kids will lose control and make mistakes, because they’re kids and it’s part of the learning process.  We try to have patience and gently encourage them, guide them, and help them build discipline.

Likewise, we each have our days, when we lose our patience and make mistakes, because we’re learning too.  We need to give ourselves the same grace, patience, and room to grow.

We have to stop comparing our worst days to everyone else’s best moments.

Parenting is hard work.  But at the same time it is full of beautiful, ordinary moments, as author Katrina Kenison writes in her book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day.  She reads a beautiful excerpt here (shared via Facebook by the amazing Janet Lansbury).  If you want to reframe the way you look at the hard work of parenting, this is the clip to watch.

So start fresh today.  Take some time to rewrite your parenting script.   Stop comparing yourself to an unrealistic standard.   As Tsh Oxenreider at Simple Mom says, give yourself heaps of graceSlow down and enjoy the heart-rending and heart-melting, difficult and delightful, mundane and magical, exasperating and exalting work of parenthood.

Read more in The Myth of Perfect Parenting series.  It all starts here.


***This popular series has led to the transformative ecourse,  Letting Go of Perfect: The art and science of being an awesome mom without losing your mind.  This course only opens a few times a year, so be sure to get on the wait list to be notified as soon as it opens again!



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