The perfect parent is something we all strive to be, but what is perfect parenting? When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately started thinking what kind of parent I would be and how I would raise my child. Everything from formula vs. breast feeding, cloth vs. disposable diapers, even down to what kind of sports or activities I would want them to play when they got older. These were all suddenly the most important decisions of my life; it was so easy to become overly focused on parenting strategies and all the small things.
We all have ideas or actual plans of how we intend to raise our children. When the child is born, it is at this point for a lot of parents, that reality sets in and those ideals start to change or become less of a focus in their daily lives. My plans changed before our little girl was actually born. I was going to have an all natural birth. I had done all the research, taken all the classes, worked out during my entire pregnancy (I walked 4 miles the day my water finally broke at 41.5 weeks) but after 17 hours of back labor, I decided to have an epidural. It was a decision that was made for my well-being as advised by my doctor.
I also was never going to give my child a pacifier. I was adamant that simply was not going to happen! But then my little girl started sucking on her fingers, a lot. Despite all the things I tried, all the advice given, nothing worked. So pacifiers were purchased and I actually helped her learn how to use it because it was the best thing for her in the situation. So, now when it’s needed, we use a pacifier rather than having the risks associated with sucking on her fingers. I’m quite sure that these are just the first of many things that are not going to go plan as our little girl grows up. Does this make me a bad parent? Not at all. Does it make me feel like one? It makes me feel like I’m giving up on the plans that my husband and I made together about how we would parent. But those plans were made before we had even met our little girl and had even a smidge of parenting experience.
What I have to remember is that in real life, these changes mean I’m actually a good parent. It means I’m willing to be flexible and change my ideals to better fit my child’s needs. I am willing to put her well being above my lofty ideas of what a “perfect” parent is. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, but there is a way to be a great parent to your child.
Parenting is an incredibly heated and personal topic for many people. There are many strong opinions out there but I must focus on the fact that “perfection” in parenting does not exist. It’s not right or wrong if I am a stay at home mom or if I go back to work. It matters that I provide for my child, that I am there for them, and that they are looked after. Breast feeding or formula feeding, cloth diapers or disposable diapers, it’s doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. What matters is that I do what works for me, my child and my family. That is what makes me a good parent.
What has changed for you along the way? Leave a comment and tell us what you had planned you would be doing as a parent and what has actually happened in your journey through parenthood.