Tag: Let Go of Perfection

Why is School Picture Day Such a Struggle?

Am I the only one that hates school picture day?

I mean I love the cute pics of my kids, but the struggle leading up to the big day is one I’d rather miss thank you very much.

I love that I have very strong-willed children, but there are days I have to suck it up that I am not going to get my own way. Picture day is one of those days. I would love to have my girls dressed in something cute and fluffy with perfectly coiffed hair. The problem is they aren’t having it. I can lay out the outfit I’d like them to wear the night before, and by morning there will be a tearful protest simply because I am “making” them do something.

So here is what I did today… nothing. I let them have full control. I did not coach them on how to smile. I did not remind them to check their teeth before they go in for photos. And I did not pick out their outfits or adjust their mix of patterns. Today was just another school day. Nothing special.

I know it sounds totally crazy for those of us “control enthusiasts” who love things perfect. It definitely feels weird letting my elementary school kids have total control over pictures I am going to pay for (and I don’t even get a preview). Now that I have a few school picture days under my belt, I know those photos are a freeze frame moment in time- a time in my kids childhood when they can fully express who they are without judgement. The superhero and cutesy character t-shirts are a glimpse into the personalities and treasured favorites of their past. They have plenty of time to be perfect in the future.

Letting go of making things perfect isn’t easy. But I am learning to meet my kids half way.

Today, there were no tears. No one complained. No lines drawn in the sand. Both of my kids picked out appropriate and clean shirts to wear. One insisted on giant bows for her pigtails and the other wanted to wear the same hairstyle she does every day. We made it to the bus stop on time in glorious harmony. Zero struggle. Zero tantrums on school picture day. We even laughed at their suggestion to “dab” as their school picture pose. (Please don’t).

Today, was a much smoother send off than on previous school picture days. #totalparentwin

Also, I ordered the smallest portrait package so there will be minimal evidence if this little experiment goes sideways. #promomtip

 

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Picture Day Revelation – I’m Nailing This Mom Thing

This year I had the chance to volunteer for picture day at my kids’ school. My last school picture day was over 20 years ago, so it was fun to reminisce. The kids were all so cute and so nervous. I took my role very seriously. Not one kid was getting away with a crazy alpha top on my watch!  I hear you parents complaining on Facebook…”who lets a kid take a photo with their hair sticking up like that?” Not me I can assure you!

My motive for volunteering was purely selfish:  I wanted to spy on my kids. They are in a different school than last year and I wanted to see how they were doing with the change. By now some of you may realize from my posts, that I am blessed with two kids who walk to the beat of their own drums. They are amazingly strong willed and super smart. They can negotiate their way out of anything and school me in critical topics like how the dinosaurs really became extinct, and reason why there should be a first kid to walk on the moon. They take a very heavy stand on these subjects by the way.

Having strong willed kids isn’t easy. I have learned to pick my battles and when to draw the lines, but it is rarely met with a tone of acceptance. Every tiny decision my kids make can take on an entire discussion of its own. Very early on I had to embrace the fact I have zero power when it comes to my kids clothing choices. They have insisted on picking out their own clothes since they were two years old. One year at preschool drop off a parent took one look at my daughter’s outfit and gasped, “I thought wacky Wednesday was next week?!” It was. But my daughter was going through a heavy stripes phase and wore all of them at once that day. No amount of arguing or even gentle nudging was going to change her mind.

Thankfully, school picture day has never been a battle for us. I already know it’s a fight I am going to lose. So I let my kids wear whatever outfit they want to have their youth immortalized in.  I’m prepared for some crazy colors, a demand for accessories, or an oddly placed hair bow. But those aren’t things that will scar them for life so I let them pass. This year my girls did not disappoint. My oldest twin decided she was wearing a hot pink shirt emblazoned with a Batman Symbol, and my youngest twin landed on a Shopkins t-shirt. She liked the colors. I liked that it was still a passable shade of white, and it was stain and wrinkle free. (Those are my set standards for most of their outfits).

Fast forward through picture day and I see kids wearing all different things. Some boys are wearing t-shirts and some boys are wearing ties. Some girls have GIANT sparkly bows and bling and some girls are wearing mini semi-formal dresses (but not one girl wearing Batman). What I realized at the end of the day is that not many of the girls (and some of the boys) were wearing the kind of headstrong confidence my girls were. They were asking their friends to validate if they were pretty enough for their photo, or if their outfit looks cool enough. These youngster were so worried about what their peers think of their physical appearance, or if their parents will approve of their photos. I assured each kid they have a great smile, and that their hair is perfectly in place before handing them off to the photographer. As I watched my girls step into place in front of the camera, with a wide confident smile that declares, “This is me!” I let myself be proud. My girls already know how to be true to themselves and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Some days living with two independent and persistent 6-year-olds can be exhausting. But it pushes me to grow in ways I never expect.  Today, I let myself be proud of how far I’ve come in letting go of making everything perfect. There is more to this mom thing than keeping the kids clean and making them wear outfits I chose for them. Raising good humans is hard work. Tears will be shed during this process. Voices will escalate and doubts cast upon my abilities. But when I catch a glimpse of how free my kids feel when they are allowed to be themselves- when I catch them truly liking themselves – that’s where I’m nailing it. Raising little humans who are secure with their own person-hood has been my mission from the start. And it only took a couple of t-shirts on picture day to remind me of that.

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

 

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Building Confident Kids One Project at a Time

I can’t believe we are half way through August and winding down our summer already. Before I know it I’ll be sending the kids off on the bus again. This summer didn’t go exactly as planned, but I am glad that we are able to slow down a bit and enjoy so many new things. I wish we could take a splashy vacation or spend more time traveling, but we are more focused on projects around the home. This is what works for us this year. And even though summer is flying by, I feel like this is the most connected we have been during a summer break.

This year we included our kids in finishing our home projects. Now to be fair, we didn’t crack the whip. We let them work beside us for as long as they could focus, which isn’t super long at age 6. But they helped us for a significant amount of time and there was a good mix of play time in between all their hard work. They helped us install a pool, trim the hedges in our yard and repaint furniture. I know it may sound crazy to hand your 6 year old hedge clippers and say have at it, but that’s kind of what we did. We didn’t just give them free range we gave them a lesson first, and then hung out with them while they trimmed. Instantly, I could see their confidence soar. Knowing that we trusted them to do “grown up work” gave them a tremendous confidence boost. And by treating them like they are capable of doing things that require skill and patience, helps them see those qualities in themselves.

You are probably thinking including the kids in home projects sounds strange, or even dangerous, but it feels perfectly natural to me. I was around age 6 when I was enlisted to help paint and wallpaper in our home. By the time I was 10 I was learning to refinish furniture and how to do simple landscaping. That is what my family did for fun, we renovated together. By the time I was 19, I was so super confident in my abilities that I surprised my mother by repainting her dining room. I’ll never forget the look on her face when she came home from work and stepped into her new putrid rosy pink dining room. She tried really hard to shelter me from her horror and to look thankful, but looking back I think a small piece of her soul cracked that day. It was a horrible color, but she didn’t want to squelch my good deed. I was clearly very proud of my work. But my point is my mother gave me the space to learn new things and to practice them, even at the expense of losing the sanctity of her own space. Learning to complete these kinds of projects made me feel confident and capable. (And I think I learned a lot about color selection that day).

Working on homeowner and DIY projects with my kids helped me realize I am a good teacher, and that I can be patient. I can offer guidance without being demanding. As a mom I typically bark commands and set the rules. But home projects by nature require patience. By slowing down and taking the time to guide vs. demand really created a joyful experience. I hope when my kids look back they remember how patient I can be, and how hard I work to teach them so many different things.

My number one goal as a parent is to raise kids who become confident, self-sufficient and capable adults. So I am delighted they accepted these new challenges. Whether or not they continue to enjoy doing DIY projects when they grow up is entirely up to them. But for now, there is much deeper learning happening than learning the skill itself. Now they will get to reap the rewards of their hard work by swimming in the pool they helped build and sitting in the dining room chairs they helped paint. I hope they remember they can do anything they set their minds to; except when it comes to repainting my dining room in an unauthorized color


The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

 

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Taking A Break From Being Perfect

Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not really perfect. I do spend a lot of time trying to make things perfect though. I am always in a rush to get places on time or earlier than on time. I’m in a hurry most days to check things off my list. I try to out best myself the next day to see just how many things I can actually finish in one day. As much as I feel like I’m in control of things, I’m really not. It feels like being busy is the same as being productive. But being busy, and checking things off on paper doesn’t equal a quality life.

While I’m busy and rushing I’m not really living in the moment, or enjoying the simple pleasures of life. In fact I most often don’t even notice them. That is until one of my kids stops to point them out. While I’m rushing us from one errand to the next, or trying to make better time than our last shopping trip, one or both girls want to stop to pick dandelions. It never fails as I am ushering everyone out of the door because NOW WE ARE RUNNING LATE, one or both of my girls will stop to notice the puffy clouds shaped like a puppy, or maybe they’ll stop to talk to a neighbor. I have not left any time in my agenda to participate in any of these things. I read off my list and move at a quick pace that will get us perfectly from point A to point B in the mot efficient manner.

That isn’t living.

Living is in the slow moments. It’s in the time we take to create a magical bouquet of flowers in our front yard while our groceries warm a bit in the car. Living is in the time we take to watch clouds roll into different shapes, or wait for the kids to pick the perfect stuffed lovey to bring in the car. Those are memories we carry with us. In another week I won’t remember the 20 things I was able to finish in a day. But I will remember the way my kids’ faces light up when they hand me a bunch of tiny flowers. And my kids will remember that I took the time to smell each one with them.

I think this week I’ll trim my to-do list and task myself with living a little slower. Here’s to getting one step closer to letting go of perfection.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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When Your Kid Is a Perfectionist Too

True to my perfectionist character I feel like I have failed if I cannot put out a blog post every week. No one else is saying a word about it, but I put this pressure on myself to have everything outlined and finished by a certain time every week. As you can see I didn’t post anything last week. Sometimes, being in charge of so many humans with their own personalities doesn’t leave room for me to execute my projects and meet my own deadlines. It kills me to stare at a blank page the day after I was due to publish. In the grand scheme I know it doesn’t matter. But I am so hardwired to finish a task in a very specific way. I feel like I let down everyone when I don’t come through.

The last few weeks have been incredibly difficult as a mom. I’ve discovered that my daughter is taking after me with expecting perfection. She is only six years old and already has a very deep need to make things happen the way she has planned. She becomes anxious when she makes a mistake on her homework and now she feels like she just wants to impress her teacher so badly. I have a kid who used to love school suddenly protest leaving the house to attend school. This is just Kindergarten. She is already under so much pressure to perform perfectly.

Seeing her struggle to do her best and feeling crushed when she doesn’t match the expectations of her teacher, or already feels like she let everyone down, is incredibly painful. I want so badly to upload my wisdom to her little brain to help her understand that hinging your self worth on impossible standards is not going to bring her any peace, or happiness. The peace I feel when things are perfect is only fleeting because as a perfectionist nothing is ever good enough. Nothing. I can’t imagine feeling like this at six. I can barely handled it as an adult.

I am trying to focus more on helping her learn how to be OK without perfection. It’s hard to put my perfectionist out look into the head space of a six year old, but I am going to try. I am going to give myself some slack that I am not going to find the perfect solution for her. But I am going to do my best. Then I am going to cut myself some slack when I let a post or two go while I am figuring this all out. This parenting thing. Man. It’s hard! Letting go of perfection is hard too.

Thank you for reading and hanging in there with me from week to week! I appreciate all of you! If you have any advice on how to get a Kindergartner to lighten up I’d love to hear it! Anyone else ever have a kid put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect? Feel free to comment below or drop me a line at whatevmom@gmail.com.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer toHudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

 

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It’s OK To Let Some Things Go

OK to let some things go

Oh boy does life get overwhelming sometimes! I have a lot on my plate as a mom working from home. I have writing deadlines, I have advertiser deadlines and conference calls to make all while making sure my little sweeties are all comfy at home. This can be really hard to manage on top of everything else the household demands of me. You know- the laundry, the dishes and the broken handle on the fridge, and pretty much everything else.

A few weeks ago I decided there is no reason to take all of this on myself. I know I am the one home most of the day, but there are four able bodied humans living here! We should all be pitching in to maintain our home. I’m also very lucky that my kids like to help out. It isn’t without grumbling some days because no one here is perfect. But, they do help out.

The last few weeks I have delegated much of my evening/after dinner routine to the hubby and kids. I hand off a chore to each of them while I do the dishes and clean up the kitchen. The girls are five now and can easily wipe down the table and chairs, or sweep up under the table while hubby takes out the trash. Once all of that is complete we move on to toy pick up.

I do not own the Strawberry Shortcake doll house, nor do I own an entire collection of Care Bears. So, why am I the only one putting them away? Now, after dinner we all work as a team to put away the toys and mess we’ve made during the day. My kids even help me get their school bags ready for the morning and lay out their own outfits for school. This is great prep for Kindergarten in the fall! (They don’t know it yet, but that’s when they’ll start packing their own lunches too).

The kids have started taking care of their own laundry. They carry their own hampers to the washer, put their clothes in and start it up. (Obviously, I add in the detergent). I put it in the dryer and fold it then they put it away. I know they won’t enjoy this chore for very long, but I am taking full advantage of their enthusiasm now.

When either kid complains (because every kid complains) we remind them we are a family and a team. We pitch in to help. We do not pay them for chores. But, their eagerness to pitch in does count! We take into consideration how helpful they are and how much they are growing into their responsibilities and we reward them with a trip to Build-a-Bear, or a surprise trip to their favorite ice cream store.

We aren’t using any chore charts. I simply hand off a task when I need help. Also, I’m not looking for perfection in their efforts. I just want things to feel livable. If all the clutter and crumbs are put away I really do feel better, and it truly makes for fewer items on my to-do list.

I’m not sharing this for any accolades or to impress anyone. Because really there are times I let the crumbs and clutter pile up because I can’t make it all work. I am sharing to let you know it’s OK to hand off items on that to-do list to your family members. We often feel like we have to do it ourselves because no one else can match our standards. Well, to that I say change your standards. Maybe you feel like your kids are too young to help, and to that I say they have to learn some time! If you are like me and find there aren’t enough hours in the day and you feel like you are always behind, give out tasks to your kids, or spouse. Start small and then add on. Even toddlers can help by wiping a table with a cloth or sponge or clear their own place at the table.

As much as I miss my little babies being babies, I am actually excited about this new phase. We can now work together as a family to get things done quicker. This makes less work for each of us. On the days this all works right (again we’re not perfect) we get extra time to snuggle and sit on the couch together and talk about our day. That to me is worth it!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley ParentandMasshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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