Tuesday, June 12

easing up

I had this epiphany the other day. It dawned on me quietly, while my son and I were playing in the hot afternoon sun. Yet it has already asserted itself as the kind of realization that moves mountains inside your head, and creates some space to breathe better and be more deeply at ease in your world. Want to know what it was?

Being an imperfect person does not make me a bad parent.

Spelled out like that, it looks kind of obvious. But for a very long time, I did not know this. I struggled with new motherhood and my perceived failings made me feel like a bad mother. But as I grow in confidence in this role, as I learn things about myself and how they affect me as a parent (this was illuminating), I have started to cut myself some slack. I do not expect anyone else to be perfect, and I have not required perfection of myself in any other area of my life. But wanting so much to be good for my son blurred my vision a bit. It became harder to see that my imperfections didn't make me a bad mother, simply a real one. Now I see that it is more important for my son to grow up around adults who are self-aware, who make mistakes, apologize, and try to do better, than for him to have a mother who is trying to be perfect and failing, and beating herself up for it. I'm breathing so much better in this new space where I am easing up on myself. My son--and everyone else around me--can only be the better for it.

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