Thursday, September 2, 2010
Imperfect is the New Perfect
I watched this video yesterday, called "Reflections of Motherhood", via a friend's Facebook page. I was thoroughly inspired by the messages we could all send to our former selves, before we had our first children. None of us were instant experts as mothers - no matter how many books we read, how many children we spent time with, or how knowledgeable we were, we all started out with zero experience, and built ourselves up from there.
I was moved by many of the concepts in this short video, but the one that stood out the most was "Imperfect is the new perfect." I have spent years embracing this as a parent, but also in my overall life, because there is so much beauty in spontaneous mess, way more than in tidy order. Embracing this truth has been one of the greatest liberations of my life, and I could never go back to perfectionism now, because it's a soul killer.
Children are wonderful at mess. They paint, eat, bathe, play and even sleep in mess, first as babies wetting their diapers and later as children twisted up in their comforters, arms flung wide, as disorganized in sleep as they are in their waking hours. Dirt and chaos do not bother kids in the slightest. They thrive in it, finding new ways to experiment within the borders they create for themselves, and don't waste time worrying about what other people might think.
Embracing all of what I've learned as a mom has set me free from the self-centred woman I was before I became pregnant. My heart aches for my friends who long to experience this transformation for themselves, but who find road blocks where they crave green lights along their road to motherhood. Sometimes I long for the time and space I had for myself before I became a mom, but I know, beyond any doubt, that I am a much improved human being because of the sacrifices I have made for my children. I would never want to go back, only forward.
If I could give myself some parenting advice, I would say, "Don't be so hard on yourself." I would also caution, "Don't judge other moms." I would have taken more of the advice on these cue cards earlier on in my mothering life, instead of waiting until I'm seven years in to realize that I must forgive myself, take time for myself, and trust my instincts. I understand those things on a deep soul level now, in a way I wasn't able to before. I've also given myself more permission to fail, to be imperfect, and to accept that I am the best person on this planet to be a mom to my two uniquely beautiful children.