The last time I took a taxi, I asked the driver what was new in his life. He told me his wife just had a baby a month earlier. I congratulated him. He said, "I just don't want to screw up."
I replied, "Oh, you will. Lots of times. Making mistakes is the best gift we can give our kids."
Why is being imperfect so vital to being an amazing parent? Because HUMANS ARE IMPERFECT. AND PARENTS (& our kids) are HUMANS.
Every day, we are modeling for our kids what it means to be a human being in this crazy world. When we make mistakes (not if we make them), we get the golden opportunity to model what to do when we show up less than perfect (i.e. when we show up as a human being).
What does that modeling look like?
We admit we made a mistake. "Gosh darn it, Billy. I messed up today. I promised I would pick up the chocolate chips and I got distracted at the store and I forgot."
We apologize. "I am really sorry. I know making those cookies is important to you. I really wish I had remembered to get the chocolate chips when I was at the store."
We repair. "Hey, I have a few minutes. You want to run up to the store with me? We'll grab those chips and I'll help you make the cookies if you want."
It's so simple! And so important!
When we are vulnerable with our kids, they learn they can trust us. They learn they can trust themselves.
Why is it so hard to be vulnerable with our kids? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be the perfect parent?
Only you can answer that question for sure... Often it's because so much pressure was put on us as kids to be perfect. To always score when we played soccer. To always hit the right notes on the piano. To always get the best grades.
Often as kids, we were "programmed to please." We only felt we had value when we got things RIGHT. We only deserve love when we show up just exactly how our parents demanded we showed up.
If any of that feels true to you from your childhood, guess what? You now have the amazing opportunity and responsibility to CHANGE THE SCRIPT for your kids!
Every time you are less than perfect, tell your kids all about it. Tell them why you think it happened. Tell them what you did to undo what you did or repair what you messed up.
Try having "Mistake Mondays." Every Monday night at the dinner table (or at bedtime or whenever works for your family), share all the mistakes you can think of that you each made since last Monday. NORMALIZE BEING WRONG. CELEBRATE MAKING MISTAKES!!
Being less than perfect shows are stretching, growing, reaching & trying new things. Making mistakes is the way we learn.
I sing this song every day when I am teaching. I encourage you to make this a household favorite.