Past imperfect

12:12 PM

Don't you love how our generation is ridiculously involved into being perfect parents?

No, I mean it, we are. And, we seem to have no excuses not to aspire to this parental ideal of perfection. Our own parents could get away with it. Bless their souls, they didn't have internet, google, Pinterest and about three bazillion TV channels and magazines to help them on their parenting journey. Poor things, they had to improvise, and use a lot of creativity to bring us up. Poor us kids! We were the guinea pigs of their trials and errors. We had to suffer the indignation of growing up without rainbow spaghetti, and our parents idea of a sensory bin was to let us play in the grass, sand and dirt...yes real dirt! Can you imagine the horror? What were they even thinking letting us play outdoor like that? And letting us be in the park with...gasp...just a ball to play with? Or, even insisting that there was some fun in going by the brook, or lake to just walk without engaging us into a structured activity like picking up 20 different types of leaves? How did we survive this caveman age of parenting and hours of free play? Why oh why didn't they even think of introducing us to 101 ways to use glitter? Clearly we have a mystery on our hands here I tell you. Miraculous even, that we survived eating all the cake we wanted at parties; and downed it with enough soft drinks that would get the judgy brigade of today go wild and condemn our own parents for child neglect.

Clearly, we had a lot of wrongs to right. Our parents were totally out of their minds thinking children only need food, sleep, water, love and a lot of space to grow. I will say it again: what were they thinking???? And so we came up with the idea that our children need to have every single nano seconds of their day under control...our control, because we owe it to them to be better parents than our own parents. Days loaded with games, quizzes, sensory bins, seasonal craft projects, structured TV time, mom and me cooking, activity classes, tuitions, coaching, educational trips...We dutifully pin craft projects and recipe on Pinterest to keep ourselves and our kiddos busy for at least three lifetimes. The perfectionist agenda wins above human needs. Perfection is the only thing that matters. No more giggling over an old shoebox of reject photo prints; the perfect way to preserve memories are through fancy scrap booking, and if we can't pull it off...sign up for a class to learn the art...we owe it to our kids after all? how could we bear for them to have any regrets about their childhood?

We also have the duty to relieve simpler times, but only when it comes to cooking.Our grand mothers sweating the whole day in the kitchen to make the perfect stocks, sauce, cakes and preserves must have had it right. Never mind that both mine took whatever short cuts available to deliver them whenever it came and were shocked to hear I had not other choice but make my own puff pastry in India. Our generation thrives on that kind of masochims. Unlike our parents and grand parents we have access to a battery of books, magazines and you tube videos to teach us how to cook gourmet restaurant food at home, raise kids the right way, how to clean everything better than a pro, and look our best doing it. We simply can't afford to let anything to chance the way our parent did, or else we could take the risk to be publicly humiliated for doing so.

So, here we are, pretending to be striving to be perfect, aiming at being better than perfect, raising perfect kids. never loosing our cool, never admitting defeat, or confessing that parenting actually sucks a lot at times. We will hide the fact our kids do drink juice from time to time, because we might as well confess we are turning them into drug addicts. Our child smiling at the taste of a glass of juice is definitely not worth the judgy look from random strangers. And we have the duty to be utterly delighted at all of our kids antics, be it smearing poop all over the bathroom or throwing a plate of organic pasta and sauce across the pristine white living room. We must at all time marvel at their imaginative power, never yell because it would kill their spirit, keep a smile on our face and keep going. We have no right to have emotions of our own in this quest for perfection, because you know, kids grow up so fast. We must cherish these moments, even the bad ones. Let's cherish them moment of pent up frustration, or else we won't have much to tell our shrink in 20 years from now.

I say we, but I'll have no part in this. I think my parents had the right idea. I yell when I am angry, am tired when I feel so, smile when I am happy. My sensory bin, rainbow spaghetti less childhood rocked. And I therefore aim at being an imperfect parent.

You Might Also Like


  1. YES!!!!!!! I really feel this one! Great post :)

    1. Isn't it the perfect complement to your picture perfect mother post? They really can't live us alone when it comes to raising kids huh? We have to look like barbie dolls, be Nobel Price winner smart, and raise perfect little versions of ourselves...yeah because we all have all the time in the world to devote to that!

  2. Anonymous6:51 AM

    Great post, Cyn. So true! In my school and community,I see the two extremes of parenting, too much and too little. I teach remedial reading to 12-14 year olds, and many have no interest in books or reading. It seems like few parents read to their young children, and I definitely see the repercussions, including a limited vocabulary because their parents didn't talk to them and used the TV as a babysitter. I like your attitude!

    1. What amaze me, is that there is no longer a middle ground in everything, it is or an extreme or the other. You can be or the absolute best, perfect parent, or you are the bad parent. It is a dangerous slope we are heading down as far as society goes.

    2. apple9:24 AM

      I can talk about India. The parents that you see today are the frustrated generation of 1970-1980s. They lived under "socialist poverty" with little luxury since the purchasing power was less and there was nothing much to buy in the market. There parents were strict and misers. This generation vowed that once they are parents they are going to be provide all material comforts to their children and would be friendly to their children. Then comes economic liberalization. People fall over each other to buy consumer goods. They had to make up for decades of scarcity.

      Thus emerges the american style "cool parent" who wants to be buddy to his child. These parents cannot scold their children without getting guilty pangs. They are afraid of their children. They cannot enforce discipline. They have turned their children into little adults.

      It is great to provide children with their space but we cannot be their friends. Times have changed. Children are no longer as innocent as they used to be but I guess we could do with some old style parenting. BTW you new comment section is proving to be difficult. I am still trying to get used to it.

    3. I had to kill Disqus because the platform was going on my nerves, not loading half of the time. And because of it, I would get spam from robots hitting me about 200 times a day. The comments never made it live thankfully but I was still getting the notification in my mailbox non stop. The only drawback of the blogger platform is that if you forget to click the "notify me" box in the right bottom corner you aren't going to know if someone replied to your comment...unless you are the author of the blog, I get all notifications in my mailbox regardless :-)

      The parenting I see these days in India is a dangerous one, I keep wondering how these kids who just had to bat an eyelid to get everything they want will grow up into stable grounded adults. I have a feeling many will learn the hard way through credit card debts and overdrafts...sigh.


Blog Archive