20 minutes of good parenting

I know I am not alone when I say there is no such thing as a perfect parent.  I get a headache thinking about how seriously I take this challenge.  Every point has a counterpoint.  "Don't be too permissive", "Let them be kids", "don't make them think they have to be perfect", "don't share too much about your faults" and on and on and on.  The whole idea of perfect parenting is a set up for guilt if you can't achieve it, fear that you can't or won't, anger when you mess up, because you will.  If you never have, contact me immediately, I need you to coach me 24/7.  The only way I have found some success is by letting go of the notion that I will get it right.

As an adult child who spent a lot of time analyzing my childhood and "finding myself", I want to share that 20 minutes of good parenting can undo hours, years, decades, maybe even a lifetime of misunderstanding and miscommunication.  I could write an entire book about how wrong I was about who my father is and how I misinterpreted loving acts and supportive words.  What he's taught me in the last few years is how to be a great parent in a few minutes.  What I longed for was to be myself, to be heard, to be known, and to be accepted.  I spent decades trying to figure out what he wanted me to be, be that, prove that, and get accepted for that, all without knowing I was doing it.  I was building a beautiful brick wall between the two of us.  Once I understood myself a bit more, was ready and brave enough to show up, my dad listened, loved and accepted me for who I am.  I am able to see him for who he is.  We can meet face to face without the wall.

I feel most successful as a guide for our children when I am comfortable enough with my imperfections as a person and a parent to talk to them the way I can talk to my parents now.  When I can be myself, be heard, be known and be accepted, and our kids can be themselves, be heard and be accepted, we find a piece of heaven and we click as one acting body.  That is when "Team S-P" is in our groove.  

It is so easy in our world, with its speed, distractions, goals and desires for perfection to get off course.  I lose my patience. I forget everything I learned in parenting workshops. I fall back on things I can't believe I could say or do.  But, I believe that just a minute or two of this kind of connection can undo hours, days, years, maybe even a lifetime of imperfect parenting and unnecessary walls.  When the kids and I catch a good groove, I can let go of that ego driven desire to be a perfect parent and more groovy moments are possible.

I am grateful for the moments when I have the humility to recognize that I am not a perfect person or parent, when I can REALLY be real with the kids.  What a relief it is for them that it is possible to be yourself and be accepted and loved for who you are.