The truth will set you free. Seriously.
The moment you first held your baby in your arms, it was as if your heart would burst. You never DREAMED you could love someone so much, and somehow your love for that child continues to grow.
But there are those moments that you sometimes worry whether you’re a good enough parent.
Like that dreaded moment when you get a call from school to ask for a parent conference to talk about your kid’s behavior — or worse — when the communication shuts down and you’ve become the enemy to your teenager.
When did things go wrong?
If you could have a redo and go back in time, you would retrace all the mistakes you made.
When your child makes a mistake or acts out, your heart breaks and you wonder how you will ever be good enough. You believe you’re a failure at parenting.
Why is it so hard to be a perfect parent?
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. There are lots of parents who buy into the perfect parent myth, only to feel like failures when they can’t measure up.
But unconditional love is such a nebulous term. It’s hard to hard to define and even harder to know how to act on. That’s why I was glad when I found Andrea Miller’s new book, Radical Acceptance: The Secret to Happy, Lasting Love.
Miller shares a wealth of knowledge and wisdom on the root causes of unhappiness in our most intimate relationships.
She encourages women to embrace hardships when they hit close to home, like when we are parenting, with radical love — because that’s where the magic begins in our lives.
Even if you feel that your child is too far gone, and things are hopeless, you can start on your own — they don’t even have to know you’re trying something new.
“You can’t possibly know if [radical acceptance] will work until you try. And what you will get, no matter what, is clarity … Understandably, most people want to ensure that their efforts aren’t “wasted.” To those, I say:love is never wasted.”
Miller is convinced the principals of radically accepting the people and relationships in her life will work in any relationship.
And if you ask me, nothing could be a better antidote to the myth of perfect parenting than the concept of radical acceptance. Because once you accept the reality in front of you, you are given the opportunity to be the best you that you can be.
And that’s really what your kids need — YOU. Not you trying to be perfect. Just you, loving them unconditionally.
To help us understand what that all means, we asked our YTExperts how to address the myth of perfectparenting.
Here are 3 pieces of advice that they shared with us about how to radically accept yourself as a parent, and why you should stop questing after perfection:
1. Accept that your best self is good enough.
“Your context matters, your life stories matter, and your ability to substitute ‘striving for perfection’ with ‘striving to be the best you can be’ matters.
So don’t waste your time pretending to be perfect — the mythical perfect parent isn’t a thing! Build your sense of empathy, build your active listening skills, draw on your wealth of mishaps and slip-ups (we all have them!), and focus on building a stronger relationship with your kids.
Your best self is all they need to thrive, and accepting this truth is at the heart of radical acceptance.”
Dr. Laura Mae Lindo is an author, parenting and success coach as well as the Founder and Director of Dr. Lindo Productions Inc. Follow her blog on YourTango or contact her today at drlindo.wordpress.com to learn more.
2. Be flexible so that your beautiful destiny can happen to you.
“So many of us get caught up in fairy tale vision of what parenting is supposed to look like, which prevents us from opening up to the reality of our situation.
I for one, always fantasized about being a mother — married, with a house, a white picket fence and pets.
But then I found myself single at age 39 and realized that if I wanted to be a mother, I had to go for it alone, only to find out I was infertile. I fought the diagnosis for months, while I seethed in anger and regret.
I could have stopped there, refusing to be a mother since it didn’t fit my vision of parenthood. But instead, I began the arduous work of forgiving myself for not being able to find a partner, for waiting so long to have a baby, and for not performing the basic functions of a woman.
Then I realized that I could be a fabulous mother, if I could put down my notion of what motherhood was supposed to look like. Instead of regretting my path, I embraced it so I could open to what was possible — a beautiful son via sperm and egg donation. My journey is a testament to what’s possible when we put down the myth of how it’s supposed to look.”
Sarah Kowalski is a life coach and author who helps women re-imagine motherhood so they can open to unconventional paths. You can follow her on her blog at YourTango.com and her website MotherhoodReimagined.
3. Choose love instead of perfection.
“Trying to be the perfect parent chips away at your soul. It erodes confidence and trust in yourself and your children and you end up parenting from a place of resentment and comparison.”
Suzanne works with prospective adoptive couples who have unresolved issues surrounding their childhood that will cloud their ability to parent. She helps them to be confident, loving parents to their child, and provide an environment where the child thrives. Reach out to her here for a free ‘Confident Loving Parent’ breakthrough session. You can also check out her free E-book, 9 (Little Known) Factors That Could Affect Your Adopted Babies Mental Health And What You Can Do To Prevent It.