My biggest driver in doing this work is my relationship with my two daughters. As I started to pay closer attention to my perfectionist tendencies, I started to notice that they were absorbing what I modeled: setting unrealistically high standards, a belief that there is one right way of doing things, a desire to never make a mistake.
But more than anything, I saw how my desire to be the perfect parent was taking away from my relationship with them – and how trying to do everything according to the parenting books, to the parenting guidance on social media, and to what I saw my peers doing – was leaving me feeling exhausted, afraid of failing, and not like myself with them. I started experimenting with trusting my gut, showing up as my imperfect self, and just doing the things I found authentically enjoyable with them – instead of trying to make every moment a learning moment, instead of trying to react “perfectly” to every wild thing they threw my way, instead of beating myself up when an afternoon didn’t go as I planned or as they had hoped.
While I can’t say I’ve figured it all out – because, honestly, who ever will in this whole crazy journey that is parenting? – I AM celebrating the incredibly meaningful progress I’ve made along the way. These days, my girls and I are silly more often together, finding moments to laugh at the little things. I tune in more often and remember to be present during the little beautiful moments, savoring them when they happen. I relax and go with the flow just a *little* bit more, adapting when they throw a curveball my way. I take pride in showing them things I love, instead of bending our lives around the activities they “should” be checking off the list. And I succeed more often in recognizing that I’m only human when I don’t get this whole mom thing right, knowing I always have tomorrow to give it my best shot again.