Okay, I want to start by saying that I know I’m not perfect, and I never will be. What I am is a perfectionist. I want to do my best at everything I do, and I expect those around me to do the same. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, I’ve learned over the years that as great as it sounds, being a perfectionist and expecting perfection often leads to more disappointment than pleasure.
This is especially true when you’re dealing with kids. And I think it’s especially, especially true when you’re dealing with an extremely energetic boy. No matter what I do, he’s not going to be able to sit still for hours, he’s not going to finish his dinner without complaining every night, and he’s not going to remember to use his manners every single time. Does that mean he’s a bad kid? Not at all. It probably means he’s a normal kid.
The part that’s been hardest for me to deal with is the fact that I can’t always make him do what I want, when I want. For someone who wants everything to be just right, that’s a hard one. But I’m starting to realize that as long as he’s behaving when he should and not getting into trouble, I have to let him be a kid as much as possible. He needs to get his “wiggles” out. He needs to be wild sometimes. He needs to be loud and laugh at stupid, silly things. And to be a good mom, I need to do these things with him.
For most of his almost 8 years, his daddy and I have pretty much held the same roles: Daddy’s the fun one, and I’m the serious one. That’s not to say that Daddy doesn’t dole out his share of discipline, because he does. But he’s the one who gets silly with him along with being the hockey coach and the playmate. I’m the one who makes sure homework gets done, chores are completed and teeth are brushed. But right now Kev is working on his senior thesis for college and finishing up his last undergrad semester and he’s pretty busy. I’ve realized that I need to take up for a lack of Daddy time with the Wildman, and try to loosen up and be a little more fun for my boy.
Sounds easy enough, right? Sure…unless you’re just not a loosening up type person. Which I’m not. But I’m trying to be. Just this week the boy and I got into a yelling contest in the car on the way home for the store. He really didn’t expect Mommy to do something like that, and he just laughed and laughed – and that sound did my heart good. My perfectionist nature really didn’t want to be yelling in the car, but knowing we were having fun together made me step back and think about it differently. No harm was being done, so why not?
That’s the way I need to look at things more often. Instead of trying to make him act perfect all the time, I need to let him be a boy and as long as he’s not causing trouble or hurting anything, it’s okay to just let go sometimes. And maybe by doing that, I’ll be able to get him to act more perfect when the situation really does call for it.
So maybe being a perfect mom isn’t so much about having a child that acts calm and just right all the time, but more about being what my son needs in each moment. Sometimes he needs discipline and calm, and sometimes he needs silly and loud. I need to be able to bend when it’s necessary and stay rigid at the right times, too. It’s as much about me as it is about him. I want to be the perfect mom for the Wildman and to do that I have to let go of my ideals and find out what it is that he needs in that moment. That’s how to be the perfect mom, and that’s what I’m going to strive for.