‘Mom, you always make mistakes, don’t you?’ A grin spread across her face.’: Mom shares importance of accepting mistakes, giving up perfectionist parenting

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“We were in the kitchen. I took my usual place at the sink to wash the dishes for the third time that day and she took her usual place at my feet.

This happens a lot.

‘Hop out of the kitchen,’ is said almost as many times as ‘Mama’ in a day. If you know, you know that’s a LOT.

But on slower days, we don’t have the same rules. Hence why it’s continuously broken. Meh.

She was playing with a stuffed dog by now and dropped it, right as I pulled the built-in bin out of its place to tip some food waste in. This blocked her from retrieving her dog.

‘Mom, watch out!’ she yelled. ‘Now I can’t get my dog!’

If I’m completely honest, my brain registered she was there but I didn’t value her play. I figured she could wait a second.

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Whoops! That was my mistake. I’m sorry. I’ll make sure I look next time. Silly mama.’

She was quiet for a moment. A grin spread across her face as perfectly as I spread Vegemite.

And in her perfect three-year-old mannerism she said, ‘Mom, that was a big mistake, wasn’t it?’ A statement, not a question. You can hear the delight from where you stand.

‘Yes, sweets. I made a mistake. Thanks for being patient.’

More quiet.

‘Mom, you always make mistakes, don’t you?’ Again, a statement, not a question.

‘Yes, everyone makes mistakes.’

For the next ten minutes, no matter what we were doing, the conversation continued. We watered the plants, we put the washing away, we played – it went on.

I resisted the urge to chuckle. Surprisingly, there was zero urge to close this either.

I thought, ‘Let her milk this.’ How often do we demonize small mistakes of children? How often do we have unattainable expectations of our children? Allow her to stand in her own power.

Reverse the lens. This is so important.

When they are older and we sit around having a beer or cup of tea together and they say, ‘Mom, remember that day you messed up?’

And I’ll say, ‘Which one?’

Because I don’t need to hide behind perfectionism in parenting. I need to connect. And sometimes, when giving your whole heart, you’re not always going to give it perfectly.

But you will give it passionately.”

mom sits with her daughter on her lap on a couch, they are laughing together
Courtesy of The Post Natal Project

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by Zelma of The Postnatal Project. You can follow her journey on  Instagram and her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Zelma here:

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