Since moving to Vancouver last year, I’ve often been asked, “Do you know Frances?” It seemed everyone in my Catholic mom circles knew this amazing lady. I was delighted to finally meet her in person (albeit briefly!) last week. Frances is the mom of seven kids and snatched a few minutes while her husband was off on retreat (ironically with mine) to write a post for my #LoveRebelMom series. Here’s Frances’ advice about being a perfectionist parent…
A good friend and mentor told me I have a tendency to be a perfectionist. I was shocked at this as I never classified myself in that realm. After having seven children, I thought I was anything but that!
After carefully reflecting upon this, I realized I do have various tendencies that have hindered me from being the best version of myself. The best wife, the best mother I can be!
Prior to kids, I was impeccably neat, tidy and polished—at least in the outward appearance. I could hide my mess very well. I was one of those students who could not start studying until my room was spotless. During my university days, my desk had to be clear of any disorganization. While I was teaching, it was harder to keep my files and desk orderly. Now with seven kids, I have learned to ask for help and not be a perfectionist parent.
Needless to say, I am still the same way to some degree. I like order, I like my house clean and tidy. I feel tranquil when I can see things have their place.
However, the irony is that there is a big difference between then and now. Now, I have learned to prioritize what is important, what will make my family life more seamless.
A good parent should not be a perfectionist, or they will always be mad. And believe me when I say we have been there. We have learned to let certain things go for the sake of peace.
In our case, we made a drastic life change when we realized our laundry room was causing us a lot of grief. Now, the laundry room is one of my favourite places in my entire house! This is because we have structured it so that play clothes and pajamas are just sorted out and thrown into a child’s designated basket.
I have now become a better version of myself as I am not letting laundry take time away from my kids, my hobbies and the things I enjoy! (Now that I think about it, I should plan our next date night because we aren’t spending all this time folding laundry.)
As parents, often we need to let go of our perfectionism in order to see the bigger picture. What is the bigger picture? Well, it is the fact that kids are only going to be young once, so waste time on your kids. Spoil them with your time and energy! And minimize the tasks that can be reduced to a “meets requirement” grade.
Be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to not be a perfectionist parent!
About Frances: I just started a simple blog. I completed two degrees at UBC (a B.A. then a B.Ed.). But I have learned more about life and myself from the eleven years I have been a mom than all my years at University. Why? Due to the inspiration of many gurus in my life who have helped me seek to be the best version of myself through their example and encouragement.
I have been very blessed to be a stay-at-home mom. I am a homemaker whose paycheque will be redeemed when our children choose right from wrong, when our children look beyond themselves and think of others first! It is a beautiful thing when you can look at your husband and say, “Together we make an incredible team, and these kids are the fruit of our love!”
It is through the example and sacrifice of my hardworking parents that I owe who I am today. My dad always said, “You hang out with turkeys, you will be a turkey. You hang out with eagles, you will soar with eagles.” This simple adage has remained me with me all my life and I have chosen to soar with eagles by my side to raise me up to be the best version of myself.
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