The pressure of parenting starts early. Especially as a hard-wired perfectionist like me. Long before I was expecting, I researched and worried about all the things I thought I’d need to know. How to feed, the best gear for babies, how to help a baby develop healthy sleep habits, the right music classes for brain development, how to keep them bubble wrapped until the age of 25. You know, all the normal things, right?
As it turns out, the mom and worries I imagined in those pre-child days is a far cry from the mom I’m turning out to be.
Pre-child, I envisioned engaged playdates, calm and present conversations at all moments, and a clear separation between my role as a mom and my role in all the other equally important roles in life. The reality? I’m a parent who sometimes yells, often bargains, gets flustered, multi-tasks most days, and occasionally cries elephant tears of frustration in the bathroom. I’m also a mom who learns, shows up, and talks through all of the big, messy, vulnerable moments and emotions with my daughter. It’s not what I imagined and it’s far from perfect, but it is our life and somehow it works.
The more flawed and real I become, the more authentic my daughter can be. . . . Letting go of the expectation to be perfect and laughing when I trip up oh-so-often feels good. It feels real. It feels more human.
The best teacher to break down my perfectionist walls surprisingly ended up being a pint-sized, spirited, sweet, silly, curly-haired girl. Through her, I’m learning important life lessons like:
The more flawed and real I become, the more authentic my daughter can be. Our greatest talks and connections come just on the other side of a breakdown, teaching us both skills in communication, compassion, and knowing when to give our equally matched stubbornness a break. Letting go of the expectation to be perfect and laughing when I trip up oh-so-often feels good. It feels real. It feels more human. And isn’t that the point of parenting? To raise (and become) the most real, most compassionate, most authentic, perfectly imperfect human we can be?
Jill Elliott is a creative consultant, strategist, and thinker constantly seeking inspiration and balance. As a writer, artist, and founder of The Color Kind she seeks to inspire others to live creatively every day. She can often be found making art and messes alongside her 8-year-old daughter and Goldendoodle puppy.
BY Jill Elliott - September 13, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.