Creative Child

Self-Growth: Embracing My Imperfections in Parenting

by Rebecca Eanes

I’m glad I’m not a perfect parent. Here’s why.

I sometimes get down on myself, thinking I should really have it more together than I do. Especially because I’m parenting book author, I tend to hold myself to unrealistic standards and beat myself up mentally when I don’t achieve that perfection. Something I’m working on this year is embracing my flaws and imperfections, partly because it’s healthier for me to do so and partly because I want my children to do the same. My older son is a lot like me, and when he falls short of his own high expectations, he can be very hard on himself. I want to model for him what grace looks like so that he can go a little easier on himself while I, too, learn to walk in grace.

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At times, I wish that my children would have never seen me lose my temper or heard me yell. In The Book of Joy, the Dalai Lama says he never saw his mother’s angry face. That line stabbed me in the heart, and yet if I would have been perfectly controlled in my emotions throughout their childhoods, how would they know how to handle their own messy emotions? If I’d never yelled, I wouldn’t have been able to model making amends and repairing relationships. If I’d never felt frustration, they wouldn’t have seen me regulate my emotions and calm down. These are important skills they’ll need because even the best and most self-controlled of us aren’t perfect.

My house isn’t grand or spotless. They’ve seen me leave the dishes in the sink and the laundry unfolded in order to play or go out with our family. Sometimes I felt like I was modeling irresponsibility, but perhaps what I was really modeling was prioritizing people over to-do lists. When I look at it that way, it feels more like a success than a failure.

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