Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Perfect Parenting isn't being Perfect

Over the weekend, I did a crash course with Audrey on Science to prepare her for her class test for Monday. (If you'd ever sat down and revised with your kid and they survived, give yourself one pat on your back. If you survived, give yourself two!)

Truth be told, these are the moments when I am not particularly proud of myself. Sure, we got the topics covered (well sort of) and we finished our test papers and assessment books, but through it all, there were moments of frustration and impatience on my part. And for these, I felt like a lousy parent. It's a constant struggle, to be kind with the method of teaching and to be pushing the child to reach her full potential.

Maybe she already is at her full potential, and I was just trying to push her to reach "perfection".

I was reminded on Sunday that in our world, perfection was never without being compassionate and merciful. In short, it is never forgiving. And that was me during that weekend.
I tried many ways to stop that. I even tried eating a snack so that my mouth would get too distracted from scolding, but I still caved. Pushing for that perfect score seemed to be more important at times. I get more stressed when I find she actually has not mastered what was taught in school.

I'm as unkind to her as much as the world is towards parents, or in this case, mothers.
Psychology studies, people with no children and your parents even, will simply focus on what they think is lacking on your parenting skills. In fact, it almost seems that anybody but the parent will make a better parent.
Social media doesn't help. If you want to be more unsure of your parenting, check out your own Facebook feed. It's normal for people to post something they are proud of and I'm not saying it's not right. I'm saying those moments that people generally post, don't happen all the time. Sometimes, it's not  even real.

That glimpse of "perfection" I post online of my kids and all is just that 'right' second when it was captured. It doesn't show the struggles to capture it.

Not everything is
picture perfect
For example, I normally post many family wefies. What it shows is that we are all having fun and everyone is cooperative and basically everything is ok. There was one shot I had captured a few minutes before the one we settled for had Julian crying. He was disciplined because he could not get his way earlier and was throwing a tantrum.
Did I post the crying picture? Of course not.

There are times when I shared with my friends that at least once a month, we try to go to the hawker centre to let the children experience some local fare, understand how the same dish could cost different in different places and even get them to order and carry their food to the table. Sounds like a brilliant idea to bringing up less entitled kids? Maybe. Some friends would commend us for letting the kids do that. (Okay… I have to admit… that makes me feel good) But what I never shared with was the initial sulking from the kids, the constant exchange of duties between D and I to feed the kids or to carry Kyra. I'm not sure if we actually had a "family" meal, even though we were all at the table actually… But yes, it's not perfect.

And even when this ex school teacher sits and studies with her kids for their exams, they don't get top grades, or end up in the best class or get bursary or scholarship awards.
Or when I see friends who have no helpers, yet so independently manage their households with so much orderliness and pride while comparing to the everyday struggles I have managing mine with extra help, that sucks.

What about the 1001 studies and comments about how it's terrible to expose the kids to the iPad and TV? Trust me, I'd probably be the first parent to be hung because of that.
My kids have injured themselves under my watch, they have defied me before, they have been terrified when I disciplined them before, they have argued and fought before in front of me, they have had moments when they are scared and I wasn't there, they have even been lost before. Many people would have many reasons to condemn me as a mummy because I basically have failed many times.

D once commented that the hardest thing about being a parent is that you can't be the child. I forget that my kids do not need a prefect mum to achieve their perfect grades, but they do need a supportive mum who is interested in their lives. Everyday I remind myself that the teachers in school are capable of pointing out their mistakes. I am still learning to just sit beside them, egg them on to complete their work and if it's wrong, ask them to check it again and let it go if she thinks if it's right. She will learn the right answer and how to deal with it when she gets her assignment back.

Sunday's gospel from Matthew 5:48 on to "be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" reminded me not to be God, but to be with Him and to let Him be with me.
I'm not perfect and I don't need to be perfect. I just need to try my best.
They will be fine. I will be too.
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