In Search of Imperfection

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Being the parent of a preschooler has taught me a few things. One of the things that it has taught me is to embrace imperfection. This is not to say that I don’t try to get better – of course I try to be a better parent. However, with the birth of my daughter, I lost all pretensions to perfection.

As a child, a teenager, and a young adult, I was a perfectionist. I tried to get an A+ in life, every day and all the time. This caused me unimaginable stress, but I did quite well at it. I got a scholarship to university, then a scholarship to another university. Then I had a child and life fell into a pool of mediocrity. I’m wallowing in it, and it’s wonderful.

Sure, all parents do amazing things. I’ve done a few myself.

I’ve woken up to ten times in a night and slept with a preschooler upright on my lap many a time, and I haven’t gotten angry. I’ve also stormed out the room at 9 pm, declaring that my daughter must just go to sleep.

I’ve baked hundreds of Christmas cookies for family and friends with a preschooler assisting me. I’ve also purchased a lot of snacks for meetings, guilt-free, no homemade required.

I have trained for a marathon with a little one in a jogging stroller and then travelled over 15 hours on planes with said preschooler so that I could run that marathon. I completed it in over five hours. Some people could likely crawl faster than that, but my goal was to finish.

The same goes with parenting. I’ve had perfect days like yesterday, when my daughter and I snuggle and get along and do enriching activities with each other all day. And we’ve had days when we start off the day having a heated discussion about why she just cannot eat a particular meal for breakfast.

Having a preschooler – having a child – has taught me that to try and to be imperfect is to do something grand. Having a preschooler reminds you that it isn’t always how many homemade organic lunches you pack, but it’s how you give a hug that matters. It’s not how many committees you’re on, but it’s how well-loved your child feels in his community. And you know – some days you don’t feel like giving hugs or creating community, and that’s fine too. Because we soldier on, we parents of preschoolers, one imperfect step at a time.