Years ago I was struggling as a new mom – learning to cultivate the rituals, traditions and values that would create my own family culture. I didn’t have much practice sorting out what mattered to me and my little family, and what was just other people’s expectations, not be something that would feed our souls. I would run myself ragged trying to please everyone, and our connections would suffer because of my stress.
I came across this phrase and it became a mantra as I navigated this new family territory. As I learned to make choices about how we’d spend our time, what I could let go of and what I needed to forgive myself for, I would say to myself, connection not perfection.
Connection: looking in at yourself, your child and your family and making choices that help you be the person you want to be, the person your child needs you to be.
Perfection: looking out and trying to become something you believe other people want.
Connection Not Perfection
I use this phrase to remind myself of the top priority in my most over whelming moments. I use it to remind me to keep the relationship I have with my family at the center or my life, instead of listening too closely to the ‘shoulds’ that seem to come from all angles. When we choose connection over perfection we look for people, information and experiences that will nurture our relationships rather than wear holes in them.
You’ll make mistakes.
You won’t know the answers.
You’ll lose your cool.
But if you make your relationship the priority, you will not steer too far off track. It comes back to connection, it comes back to you. Your kids don’t want perfection, they want you.
Living Connection Not Perfection- What does it mean?
We put our relationships first- trusting that by building strong connected relationships we will raise resilient, emotionally healthy kids who are capable and will be able to make their own healthy, loving relationships as they grow.
- When you’re angry, lean on the side of connection.
- Stop comparing with others and realize I can be ME and you can be YOU. You don’t have to be good at the same things as other moms or dads.
- Practice listening, even when it isn’t exactly convenient.
- MOST Importantly: Try to listen more to your Good Mama, not your Should Mama – learning to trust yourself and Let Go of the Mommy Guilt
On holidays (when perfections often calls our names) we make intentional choices about what we choose to include.
- Finding simple birthday celebration ideas that delight, but don’t overwhelm
- Practice taking pictures, but staying present during the special moments that you truly treasure.
- We looks for the little moments to celebrate that might not be huge to the outside world, but matter a lot in our hearts.
Look for ways to be present, and notice that these can be very simple (100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child, for instance has ideas that will make you smile as you realize you are doing a lovely job on so many of these things already.)
- Find short and sweet ways to connect, and realize that they DO count, even if it’s only 10 minutes.
Connection not perfection simply means we look inwards at the family we have and make choices that will nurture that family, rather than trying to please everyone else. Leaning on the side of connection means we can give ourselves a little grace as we figure this out, knowing that parenting won’t always look pretty. We keep the big picture in mind:
Your children (and all those who love you dearly) want you – imperfect, silly ol’ you. They want connection not perfection.