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Monday Mom challenge: Accept your imperfections

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Perfectly imperfect you

Accepting one's imperfections is a recurring theme in this and many an article geared toward moms -- that's because it's an important one! No one is perfect! You're thinking, Yeah, right, I know that. But do you? Really? Do you walk the walk in addition to talking the talk? Do you truly accept you imperfections or do you just say you do?

Mom and child having fun with ice cream

We try to so hard as moms to be the best parent we can be. In this never-ending and often thankless job, we expect so much of ourselves, and often more than is humanly possible! And we're harder on ourselves than almost anyone else (the else being your teenage child, of course). The thing is, we're human, and we make mistakes. Lots of them. And sometimes that effort at "perfect" parenting gets in the way of parenting reality.

Seeing the forest for the trees

When we get so caught up in being perfect, we lose the big picture. It's when we get upset about the napkins at a dinner party when the event as a whole was beautiful and elegant and delicious. It's when we lose it over a berry stain on our kids' clothes and can't see what a blast they had at the pick-your-own blueberry farm. Perfection may be an admirable goal in some senses, but when it keeps us from enjoying our family and our life, it's time to discard perfection.

Balancing effort and acceptance

This is not to say we shouldn't try our hardest -- it's about finding the balance in trying our best, but not being so hard on ourselves that we impede our progress! It's not about giving up and totally letting go -- though it is about letting go somewhat. The best we can do is the best we can do, and if the outcome isn't quite as hoped, there is little sense being so hard on ourselves. It happened and we move forward, whatever that may entail.

The bottom line is that no life is ever going to be perfect. It's not. That's just the way it goes.

Ask for help

No mom can do it all on her own. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness! When you need help, ask for it! When you are asked for help, give it - and offer it, too. In asking for help we can get past these too-hard-on-ourselves moments and instead build community with family, friends, and neighbors. Help - given and received - can help you achieve that acceptance of non-perfection - and the outcome may be even better than your initial vision of "perfect."

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We want our children to always try their best, yet not beat themselves up if the result isn't perfect.

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Do it for your kids

Ultimately, these are some of the life lessons we want to instill in our children. We want them to always grow and learn -- and an undue expectation of perfection is not conducive to that. What better way to teach our kids than by showing them? By walking the walk and talking the talk -- by always doing your best, but accepting those imperfections.

My very astute 10 year old said to me recently, "There's no point in being perfect, Mom. After all, how can you learn from your mistakes if you never make any?" By jove, I think he's got it.

More of our Monday Mom challenge series:

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