We all want to be the best parents we can be, and in the early months and years of parenting, we are bombarded by developmental studies, books by experts, and advice from strangers about what is best for our children. The pressure to be child-focused, happy, well-adjusted parents who are producing an Olympic athlete, or at least a high performing World Cup soccer player, is enormous. That pride and hope that we place in our young children is both wonderful and scary for many of us. The desire to get it right can breed anxiety, fear, and self-doubt. It can wither our own confidence or our confidence in our child. It doesn’t help that it appears that everyone else has it figured out.
My daughter is 15 years old, and I love going to her school concerts to hear her play. But every time I am there and watch and listen to the 1st chair in the orchestra, a little voice in the back of my head wonders if I missed some opportunity for my daughter, or worse – I wonder if my daughter is somehow not as successful as I had hoped. I think back to all the moments of missed practice. I frantically plan to limit TV and take her to more concerts to promote her intrinsic motivation to practice and excel. Then I realize – it’s not a test. She doesn’t have to be the best at everything; she doesn’t have to be the best at anything. That the best thing I can hope for her – is realistic happiness and a firm sense that she is enough, that she is capable, and that she is amazing. If I can free myself from the guilt and pressure to be a perfect parent, then I can free her to be a great kid.
How do you step back from being a “perfect parent”? Tell us in the comments.
About the Author
Mia Edidin is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Mia facilitates, Adjusting to Parenting, a new parent drop in group in Wallingford where we laugh and cry about all the amazing and terrifying things about parenthood together. She has a private practice in Wallingford, and is the Program Manager at Postpartum Support International of WA. Mia’s daughter is 15 and thinks Mia is best mom ever!