Monday, February 13, 2012

Let Go! (and Stop being a perfectionist): A new lesson I have learned as a parent

It seems like forever since I have posted here, and...well, um...I guess nine months is a long time. But I am back!

Over the past couple of months my daughter (almost 6 years old now) and I have been working on some projects. We made Christmas presents and ornaments, her birthday party invitations, and daddy's Valentine's Day present as well as a few other smaller ones. It struck me today how different it is to do a project now that she is interested in "helping" me. Gone are the days when I come up with an idea, plan it, and execute it with my own sense of style and perfectionism. They have been replaced with the imperfect cutting of the card stock, uneven placement of the pieces, big splashes of paint where I would have only put a shimmer, and another person's perspective on what would look "beautiful" or "perfect" instead of just my own, etc, etc, etc.

She, being my daughter, has strong opinions and a voice with which to speak them...loudly! I can hear my mom's thoughts as she reads this, "I told you that you would regret patting that big pregnant belly and telling her to be strong-willed! Didn't I?"

No, I do not regret it!

I am happy that I am raising a self-assured being with strong opinions and convictions. I am proud that she has her own sense of style, her own creativity, and a desire to participate in our "shared" projects instead of just watching! I even like that she wants to cut out, glue, and paint the details on in her own way her. own. time. however. long. that. might. take........

The only problem is that before today, I had missed that it was time to let go a little. I can plan the project, I can buy the materials, and I can explain the plan to her. BUT when it comes time to execute the project, if I want it to be a truly SHARED experience I need to LET GO of the result and just enjoy the process.

Who cares if the lines aren't straight? I will always remember her biting her lip as she concentrated, carefully and slowly cutting along the lines I had traced.

Who cares how much extra glue she used (and got all over)? I will always remember the silly look on her face when she had glue all over her fingers and they kept sticking together!

Who cares if her invitations aren't perfect? I will always remember the pride in her voice as she tells people the parts that were her job!

Who cares if something that could have taken me mere hours turns into a two week long project? I will always remember the giggles we shared as we went (and will plan it ahead a little more next time).

Who cares if that paint is smudged? It makes it that much more memorable that she actually participated!
Today I let go of my need to have perfection in the finished product and decided to find the perfection in the experience and in allowing her to have a feeling of accomplishment!

I guess this can really apply to all of our parenting experiences. When you stop worrying about the little things you have more time to enjoy the bigger ones. Thanks for this important lesson my little love!

I hope your days are filled with messy hands, uneven cut-out lines and lots of love!
Emily Filmore, Author

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I came across this post and had to comment. Like you, as a new parent I had a similar realization: life is not about being perfect, but its about enjoying an organic, always growing and changing, relationship with my child. Its about enjoyment of the journey together.
    Monika Pia