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  • Parents Need to Accept That Not Everything Will Go According to Plan

    If there's only one new year's resolution parents should make, it's to let go of perfection.
    by Rachel Perez .
Parents Need to Accept That Not Everything Will Go According to Plan
PHOTO BY iStock
  • It's the start of another new year, and it's a new opportunity to reset our lives. It's the time to evaluate our mindsets, rearrange priorities, and let our hearts grow with more love, especially for our kids. If there is one new year resolution all parents need to make, it's that we all need to learn the art of letting go.

    We all want to be cool at our job of parenting, but we almost always tend to be super strict, especially with our firstborn. I should know — I am sometimes often labeled as such by my husband and fellow mom friends. Pregnancy, giving birth and knowing that someone else is dependent on you can make you grow up real fast. Think of it as adulting in a split second.

    You still worry even if your baby is fed, dry and happy (is he really busog, dry and happy?). You worry that your toddler will get hurt when he is curious to explore. You feel like your heart will burst when you send him off to preschool for the first time, praying he will cope and make new friends. Once he enters big school, you hope you have prepared him well to stand up to bullies (and will help those who get bullied). And once he goes through puberty, you are basically crossing your fingers every day that he will make good life decisions.

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    It's instinct — we always want the best for our kids and will do anything that he gets it.

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    The list of worries is endless. No wonder we're tired all the time, and it's a job where resignation is not an option. Parenting is a 24/7 continuous learning experience for you and your child. And this is why we need to calm the eff down and live a little. It's hard enough as it is to be a parent, so we should all do our best to try to enjoy the ride. 

    It took me a few years to accept that not everything will go smoothly. (I think it's only now that the reality has set in that I have a teenager.) If there's one thing I could tell my newbie parent self, it would be to accept the fact that the smiles, hugs, and kisses from my son come with the tantrums, crazy antics, and unbelievable messes and screw-ups. You don't get one or the other — it's a package deal. 

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    When you see drawings on your wall, family portraits unintentionally turned wacky, or unfinished meals that you carefully labored over, take a deep breath (several if you have to) and deal with it with kindness and love. Give the situation a positive perspective (it will be hard!) and be grateful. Try not to yell (guilty!) and get mad at children behaving like children. They are only young once, and it all goes by so fast. 

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    It's high time we abandon the notion of perfection, and embrace the mess that is parenthood. It might even make this whole challenge of raising children more fun for you and your kids. The good always trumps the bad. You could be giving them fun, crazy childhood stories they can tell their own children. Kids will grow up with happy memories if you give them enough of it. 

    By all means, strive to be the best parent, have the best family portrait, and even the best vacation. But when things do not go according to plan — and we all know something will be — remember that the kids are watching. They remember more of what we do and how we react. Let them see we can problem-solve, persevere, and overcome any challenges that life may throw at us.

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    I know what you're thinking. Resolutions such as eating healthier, exercising and all of that only happens for the first, what, two months, a quarter of the year if you're lucky. That may be true for some (okay, a lot of people), but it doesn't mean you stop making those resolutions entirely. There is always room for improvement, and as a parent, you also need to let your kids see in you the desire to be better, the best even.

    But never perfect. 

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