Who Wants to Be Perfect Anyway?
Once we get past all the New Year, New Me Rhetoric it is oftentimes painfully obvious that merely changing the last digit on a date is responsible for very little change. Hell some of us are still writing last year’s date when we date things. Today I want to specifically talk about the struggles of parenting and to speak from my own experiences more specifically single parenting. It’s easy to feel like we are under scrutiny in every part of our lives especially when we feel we are lacking in that department but no other part of our life is that more evident than in parenting. We can be lacking, striving, just getting by, or winning as a parent and there will always be a level of judgment present. We judge ourselves, we are judged by the outside world, hell eventually even our kids judge us or we self identify with them judging us, and to top it all off the pressure mounts because the bar that we are being judged against is so damn high we will never reach it.
“Being in comparison mode with perfection is like scuba diving without a tank and expecting to breathe, you might surprise yourself by how long you can hold your breath but eventually you will drown.”
How many of you feel like you are under the proverbial water of the stresses of parenting already? If So Keep Reading, If Not Please Teach Us All!
If you are drowning in the pool of parenting I’m here to kindly remind you that you are in the kiddie section and all you really need to do is stand up! Easier said than done when you are gasping for air and feel the pressure weighing you down but we have to start somewhere right?
I am far from perfect, Despite the mug and T-shirt, I’m likely not the world’s greatest dad, I think we can all agree we lost one of the worlds greatest dads this last week RIP, Bob Saget,
But I digress because that was made extremely evident to me over the weekend when I heard those beautiful tender words from my lovely preteen daughter: “I Despise You”
Aww, they grow up so quickly!
A Perfectly Imperfect Reaction
I wish I could say I handled the situation with complete grace or let the words echo a beat longer before reacting but with a swift “what did you say to me?” followed by a “go to your room” the delivery sounded more like when Missy Elliot Told us to flip it and reverse it because all I saw was a deer in headlights from my daughter and all she heard was my knee jerk remix “What’d you room go to say?” As I sat there like every parent does in a quiet room that was a moment ago filled with shouting and a few moments before that laughter it was painfully obvious that this was one of those moments that my daughter might talk to a future therapist about if I didn’t address it more calmly and rationally. But before we talk about that let me go back in time a mere two minutes to what sparked such outrage from both of us.
My daughter had been doing some work for my mom to make some extra money and was starting to do what teens and preteens do by just doing enough but also expecting someone else to do it for them. She asked me to help and i stood my ground telling her this was her agreement with my mom and she had to earn the money, it was a simple task but it was obvious that it was coming across as torture to my daughter. Then she uttered a question that spun the day on its head, “Aren’t you my friend?” she asked an innocent question really and my knee jerk reaction in my head was, of course, she’s my best friend in a lot of ways because it is her and I. But what I said was, “I’m Your Parent, not your friend”. At that moment her world came crashing down because she felt like she lost her best friend and in hindsight reacted in a way that would make me feel the pain that she felt in a way that she knew she could make me feel it, Hence “I despise you” and the pin-drop the subtly fell between her words crashing into my immediate eruption.
What happened in this situation is found like most situations not in what is said but what is unsaid. My daughter has found a lot of success in me pushing her to be independent and brave and try new things but it’s because she has me there to fall back on. Whereas over the last year I have been dealing with and facing the impending doom of having a child that no longer wants to prioritize our time together. When we were able to talk about these things the words as harsh as they were made a little more sense, she was definitely still grounded, but more importantly, we were able to both be heard and reiterate some boundaries that both of us need in our small two-person family.
Now, why am I sharing this story which does very little to make me look like I should have any authority on what it means to be a good parent? Well, it’s like I said to my daughter, My goal is not to be a perfect parent, it is to be the best parent I can be on that day for my child. But Being a good parent means owning your mistakes, not just avoiding them. We were able to get through this event and finish up with a great weekend but I am not naive to think that there won’t be future days like this one. The goal is to do a bit better next time than the last and hold each other to that standard.
To everyone who witnessed the events unfold it may be easy to pass judgment based on what they might have done or what they think I should have done but I learned a long time ago and this advice goes way beyond parenting.
“Stop Taking advice from people who have been where you are going”
I know it’s not easy to ignore or let the judgment of others roll off your back but as it is stated in Shakespeare’s classic Hamlet “To Thine Own Self Be True…” be true and own who you are. Though it is less quoted I think it’s even more powerful when we finish the line from Hamlet:
“For him, honesty is satisfying his personal materialistic needs by being true to himself. It, then, doesn’t matter how the world perceives him.”
Be honest with yourself and don’t get trapped in the comparison mode of other parents. You know your child better than anyone as their parent and as their friend.
Warrior Of Impact
Michael Rolon is the Owner/founder of Warrior Of Impact Coaching and works directly with individuals looking to find their purpose in life and he helps them make a greater impact. As a Full-Time single Dad and Entrepreneur, Michael is passionate about serving single parents, current and would-be entrepreneurs, and current and future leaders. For more information or to schedule a consult check out our contact page: Contact Me Today!