The ‘perfect parenting’ myth

Hello all!

Welcome to my brand spanking new section of the blog!

This section is a little different from the others. When I first started this blog I wanted to capture the good aspects of parenting and document our days as parents; as well as talking about our love of eco & sustainable children’s products. I didn’t want to write about the hard days, the monotonous grind of the daily routines, because I figured who wants to read about those days? We all have them (and my god are they hard), so what’s the point in reading about someone else’s- surely we would only want to read about the good days? If nothing else, just to prove to ourselves that the good days actually do exist.

Credits: motivational mummy, facebook

But then recently it occurred to me (while Nic clung to my leg screaming and Jacob sat in the corner throwing a tantrum) that those days should be included; I remember thinking to myself- “there must be others who’s children act like this at times”? And that’s when it occurred to me, these days need to be documented- to show those mamas out there who are sat pulling their hair out while their children are in the middle of their 10th tantrum of the morning that it’s not just your children. Sometimes we just need that reassurance that we are doing OK and everything our angel-faced little monsters are putting us through is, unfortunately; painfully normal.

And that’s the thing isn’t it? It is totally normal and pretty unremarkable when our smalls act out, throw momentous tantrums, and generally just do all the things that children do that causes us bigs to reach for the tenth cup of coffee of the day. And yet there seems to be a trend in our society today that emphasises far too much on achieving perfection. Society seems to dictate that if we want to be truly happy and successful in our lives that every aspect of it needs to be perfect; we have to be perfect high-achievers in our education and careers, home life and social life, maintain a perfect house and all the while looking utterly flawless, slim and healthy of course. *rolls eyes*

But this idea of perfection doesn’t end there- oh no, it’s now wormed itself into the way we parent too. I mean, as if parenting isn’t hard enough?!

Now I’m sure that as long as man has walked this earth there have been disagreements on parenting, with each culture having it’s own methods and beliefs. But no where more so it seems than the Western world. Over the centuries different theories and methods of child rearing have come and gone, the last 100 years especially.

Be it the strict Truby King methods of the 1950s (many styles and practises of which seem to still be widely used to this day), the more laid back ways of Dr Spock of the 1960s, the no- nonsense ways of the likes of Jo Frost in the noughties;  or the close bonding methods of attachment and gentle parenting ideologies which closely resemble the tribal parenting style of the 1970s- we all have our own preferred methods of parenting that work for us.

And that’s fine 🙂

When we first bring that brand new tiny little person into the world, we quickly have to learn what works for us and them, and we will always get it wrong here and there; and that’s fine too 🙂 In the end we will all find our way, the little bumps in the road are an excellent lesson and opportunity to learn from our mistakes and try it a different way the next time.

So why with all of this in mind are so many of us feeling the pressure and trying so desperately to achieve a level of perfection as parents that is so massively unobtainable?

I blame social media, We are all guilty of it- posting pics and status updates of our happy and smiling kids, sunny days out, and nutritious meals being enjoyed and devoured by our grateful children. We post these because we are proud of those moments and want to show the world how proud we are of our babies. And that’s fine- I myself post like 20 pictures a day for this exact reason, not to mention all of my family live 300+ miles away and I want them to see how the boys are doing.

However, the problem with doing this is while your picture depicts a moment of ‘perfection’ in the day, it doesn’t show the possible effort and stress that went into that one picture.

The photo of your little one enjoying his sandwich at lunch time may look like just that; but what it doesn’t show is that this may actually be his third sandwich- the other two coldly discarded with a flood of tears because they weren’t cut to the right shape.

Now for me, the pressure to achieve ‘perfection’ is an awful every day burden. Ever since I can remember I’ve always tried so hard to achieve perfection in everything I do, no matter what it is. I hate being a perfectionist. But I am. However, I also suffer from bouts of depression and anxiety- and these do not mix well with ‘perfectionism’. You can never achieve high enough. Trust me, it sucks.

I remember there were times where I used to get so stressed out when I’d see posts that friends had put up on Facebook and Instagram of their children and their lives seeming so perfect, and then of course the inevitable doubt and criticism of your own skills comes out- “why aren’t my children doing that?” “Why haven’t we done that as a family- I’m such a crap parent”, “I wish my kids could do X Y and Z like so and so’s kids- I must be a failure”.

Sound familiar?

To some of us, perfection is an all-consuming, stress and guilt ridden task that must be achieved in order to validate ourselves as parents. It’s got to the point where it can often leave so many of us never feeling like what we do is never good enough. But we are. We are always good enough.

Because the thing is no-one is perfect. No-one. No parent is perfect, no child is perfect.

Perfection does. not. exist. 

This is a lesson I am learning every day.

And this is why I have created the ‘realities of parenting’ section for the blog, because I am learning that it is just as important to document not just the good, but the bad, the funny, the stressful, annoying, and messy moments that make the journey of parenthood so wonderfully imperfect but so utterly rewarding too 🙂

So next time your little ones are throwing an almighty wobbly while you sit questioning your parenting (and your sanity) just remember- you’re doing amazing, your children are doing amazing; you are all amazing 🙂

Hugs to you all <3

E x


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4 Responses to The ‘perfect parenting’ myth

  1. Katie 28th April 2017 at 10:19 am #

    Beautiful! And so true.
    We need to remember that the “bad” moments and days happen and are normal as well. Stop making social media parenting some kind of contest to reach perfection. I also wrote a blog piece about a bad day in home ed, because the had days do happen.
    Did you read the article this week about tantrums being a good thing for development? Well worth a read xxx

    • Emily 28th April 2017 at 11:31 pm #

      Thankyou so much lovely 🙂 yes they do happen (though it seems like quite a taboo to admit they happen? like we consider ourselves failures when they do?) that was certainly the case with me in the earlier days; these days I just remind myself that they happen and that’s ok 🙂 oh no I didn’t- I’d love to read it though if you have a link? 🙂 x

  2. Katy 28th April 2017 at 3:50 pm #

    So true. I’ll look forward to hearing about the bad days because I can guarantee I’ll have stories to share with you which will make you feel better, and sometimes make you laugh with some of my epic parenting fails over the years! 😂 Xxxx

    • Emily 28th April 2017 at 11:28 pm #

      Katy thankyou so much! As mt boys get older and more complex little beings I’m learning fast that these days do and will happen- and I’ve always been the type to want to ‘confirm’ that that is normal- that it’s not just my children, as that reassures me. I feel that perhaps if there are other mamas and papas out there who worry about this too read may take comfort from hearing other people’s stories 🙂 x

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