When I Gave Up On Perfect Parenting

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Let’s be honest – every parent wants to be perfect. It starts out with blind confidence before you have children: “I’ll never let my kid scream like that in public.” “My kids will sit still when we go out to eat at a restaurant.” “What are those parents thinking?!”

When you’re pregnant, you’re confident you will be the best parent in the world. No caffeine or deli meat for you! It all starts inside the womb, and this baby is off to a great future.

And then, when that bundle of joy is placed into your arms for the first time. How could you do anything but give 100% to protect and nurture this perfect little one every second of every day for the rest of your life?

And then reality sets in.

You start to realize the baby cries all day and night. She wants to be fed. And fed. And fed. He needs a clean diaper ten times a day. You are sleep-deprived, physically exhausted and haven’t showered in three days. The dream of perfect parenting is shattered.

But once you give up on perfect parenthood, something better sinks in: real life. There are moments you want to pull your hair out. Moments you want to (and do) break down in tears. Moments you can’t stand your spouse and everything he’s doing wrong. But there are also moments of unsurpassable joy: the first smile. The first “I love you.” The first scribbles on paper that are made out of love just for you.

Parenting isn’t perfect. It’s messy, smelly, mentally exhausting and physically draining. There will be great frustration, but I promise you, there will also be pure happiness. For every time your baby pees on you, there will be a private, loving snuggle. For every time your toddler runs away in the grocery store, there will be a time his hand grabs onto yours without you asking. For every time your husband forgets to do the dishes, there will be a time the two of you break down in giggles together at the craziness of your lives.

It’s only once you let go of perfection that you can appreciate how perfect real life can be.

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Author: minivancommuter

Alise McGregor is a working mom with two girls. As the founder of Little Newtons, she's passionate about making education the primary focus of child care.

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