It’s normal to want to create the perfect home for our children, even if we know intellectually that ‘perfection’ is an unrealistic goal. We scrutinise our abilities as parents, asking “What if?” and thinking “If only I had…”, even when we’ve done our best. But expecting ourselves to be perfect can actually be more detrimental to our children – and ourselves – than we realise.
When we place pressure on ourselves, we also place pressure on those around us. And, in turn, we expect more from our children. This increases their levels of stress and other factors that may impact upon them negatively.
So when taking care of kids and managing family life, it’s helpful to let go of expectations and embrace imperfection.
1. Accept that all families experience ups and downs
Every family has its challenges and its strengths, and we’re more like other families than we tend to think. In daily family life there will always be emerging situations and incidents that we can’t control or foresee.
So instead of striving for perfection, and feeling defeated when our expectations aren’t met, we can work towards adopting a more practical view of family life.
This allows us to put more time and energy into our children and family, instead of focusing on meeting those unrealistic expectations.
2. Develop a practical sense of perfection
Readjusting our expectations to be more realistic and achievable really helps us to embrace the imperfections that arise.
This doesn’t mean we simply ‘stop trying’ or just ‘let things slide.’ It’s about being kind to ourselves and embracing setbacks in order to move away from the rigid expectations we once set.
This then gives us time for the things that really matter and the people we love. We can reflect inward, focus on living up to our values, and strengthen the connections within our family.
3. Learn from inevitable mistakes
Failure is actually a prerequisite for success! The more mistakes we make, the more we are able to learn, grow, and do better next time.
4. Make parenting less stressful by adopting self-care strategies
Self-care is more than just taking care of yourself – it impacts your family too. A lot of parents can feel guilty taking time for themselves, but it’s important to remember that the better we care for ourselves, the better we care for our kids.
Neglecting our own physical and emotional needs can lead to stress on the mind and body, including feeling irritable, exhausted or low.
Plus, modelling good self-care is a great way to show kids that their wellbeing is important and how to do it!
It’s easier than you think to find ways to care for your body and manage those things that stress you out. Focusing on eating healthily, staying active, getting enough sleep and finding time to relax are all really important foundations for physical wellbeing.
And when it comes to emotional wellbeing, it can help to find positive outlets for expression, remind ourselves of our strengths, make time for things we enjoy, and of course stay social and maintain our supportive relationships.
5. Reach out for help
We know children do better when their parents feel supported. Talking to a loved one or giving Parentline a call can really help.
If you’re struggling with home and family imperfections, there is support available. Parentline trained counsellors are here to help 7 days a week. Call on 1300 30 1300 or visit Parentline.com.au
By Parentline Staff