Something that has always been remarkable to me as a parent and stepparent has been watching my children “get” something. The moment you see the lightbulb go off and the concept has stuck. It’s especially amusing when, as a parent, you have said something a hundred times but someone else says the same thing and it clicks for them.
I had my own moment the other day. I can see my mom shaking her head amused as she looks down at me. I was listening to a speaker, the topic nothing I had not heard before. But there was a moment and in the way she said it, that just clicked for me. She talked about perfection and a mother’s compulsion to choose and make the right decision, to be perfect. But making the “right” choice requires us to know the future, which is impossible. What we can do is make the best decision for this moment. And give ourselves permission to change that decision if it doesn’t work.
My mom use to tell me these two simple comments in so many different ways. She drilled into me in her oh-so-gentle way that we are perfectly imperfect. That life is dynamic and the decisions are only as permanent as we chose to maintain them. That we have a right to change our minds. And for the most part, I have embraced her lessons. But then I became a mom.
For a reason I’m not completely sure of, I have become obsessed with making the “right” decision. So worried that I’m gonna screw up or more appropriately screw THEM up. But making the right choice is just another word for being perfect. Whatever it was that the speaker said, was what I needed to hear to give myself permission not to be the perfect parent but to be their parent.