Today I am having one of my favorite writers here to share her beautiful and always so powerful message.  Tricia’s posts will find their way into your heart as she has a gift of painting pictures of parenting with gorgeous words and themes.  If you haven’t yet read Tricia’s blog, you simply must.  She is a constant source of inspiration.  Her perspective will always touch a part of you~promise!  Have I ever steered you wrong?  I know a good heart when I see one, and having a good writer with a good heart?  Perfectly Tricia.


Perfect I had just finished braiding her hair. “Anna style” more-or-less by request. I say more-or-less because she’d really prefer “Elsa style.” But while I’m pretty handy with a brush and she has really lovely hair, we all have our limits. She was smiling and showing it off and my husband and I both told her she looked cute. “But, you know, you’re not just cute.” My husband went on. (Because, yes, we’ve read the books and the articles. And because our girl is so much more than cute.) “I know!” (four-year-olds speak with omnipresent exclamation points) “What’s better than cute?” “Perfect!” Umm… uh oh. I’m a recovering perfectionist. Recovering. In progress. And there is progress. Actually, I had thought there had been quite a lot of progress. I’ve worked hard to eliminate the word ‘perfect’ from my vocabulary, especially in her presence. I don’t ask that she be perfect. I don’t talk of striving for perfect. And a passing glance around this house would tell you that not only do I not talk of striving, I don’t actually strive either. Most days we’re just holding on and riding the wave. Perfect isn’t even on the menu. But do you know what’s crazy? That word. That one little word, it sneaks in. And as I began to think more about how quickly that word spilled out of her little mouth, I realized how often it sneaks out of mine. A friend suggests that we meet up tomorrow at the park. My response: Perfect!

I meet my girl at the door and she’s already there with shoes and jacket and she’s ready to go. My remark: Perfect!

I’ve got my fingers woven into her hair and I really want to create the perfect Anna braid and though I’ll keep my desires for my own perfection to myself, when she starts to wiggle, I reminder her to: Sit perfectly still!

Perfect. There it is. There it is everywhere.

And without ever intending to, while intending just the opposite, in fact, I’m passing it on to her. Along with my smile and the shape of my face and my introversion and my love of painted fingernails, I’m passing on my aspirations for perfection.

And, of course, she is just four. She will still draw half a picture and call it done. Her room is not perfectly clean; her clothes never on perfectly straight, and, by the end of the day, that Anna braid is far from perfectly sitting on top her head. Mess and chaos and things slightly off kilter don’t bother her. So far, she strives to be just who she is. Perfectly her, in all of her glorious imperfections.

And it’s because of her that I’m recovering. In four short years she’s shown me the beauty that lies outside of the tight constraints of perfection. The beauty in clean laundry that sits for days, wrinkling more by the minute, because we couldn’t help but dash off to the park instead of staying inside to fold it. The beauty in ridiculously small and oddly shaped muffins that are that way because she wanted to help and, in probably my wisest decision of the day, I let her. The beauty in waking up each day and trying so hard to be the best mommy to her that I can be, all the while knowing that I’ll never be perfect at it. And knowing that I don’t need to be. Because she loves me anyway.

She loves me anyway.

And because of her grace and her love, I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to be perfectly me, teaching her that perfect is nothing more than a silly word I say sometimes. It’s not a thing to strive for. It’s not a thing to be, because it’s not a thing we could ever be.

And it certainly isn’t better than cute.

Raising Humans Tricia is a freelance writer, wife and mother of two.
Her blog, Raising Humans, is about those parenting moments – the good and bad, the beautiful and sometimes ugly – when we realize that we are all growing together.

You can find Tricia on Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. says

    So well said! I have two daughters and perfect is SO. NOT. POSSIBLE. And the sooner they know that the better and you are showing her important things early. What a good momma! Loved the little muffins part–I remember those days! Great post!

    • says

      They totally are! And now that I know that (or at least am better at recognizing it) I wonder how I didn’t see it all along!

  2. says

    I am a mom to a almost 5 year old and a 3 year old and they too have both taught me that I just have to be me and they seriously love me for better or worse. What more can I ask for, really 🙂

    • says

      What more indeed. I feel like they love me more sometimes when I’m not perfect. And I’ll bet that continues as they get older.

  3. says

    It’s funny how that word ends up in our vocabulary, though we try to banish it. My son reminded me just the other day that nobody’s perfect. But, really, if we’re true to ourselves that’s all the perfection we need.

    • says

      It is funny. I had no idea until I heard the word in her voice that it isn’t gone just yet. And yes, being true to ourselves is always all we need.

  4. says

    Tricia and Chris! Together! Yay!
    Scarlet will say, “I’m not cute. I’m beautiful.” Oy. I mean, I think she’s right but where does she get this stuff?
    Oops. Probably from me.
    My kids are teaching me a lot about the beauty of putting chores and work aside – and that is NOT easy for me.

  5. says

    We had a kids’ CD years ago with a song on it called “Perfectly Imperfect,” and it was about how each person is just that in their own way. I love that message, and I wish children would hear it as they grow into teens and adults. Ironically, I share that message with my children while holding impossible “perfect” expectations for myself. Clearly I need to work on this – thank you for the reminder, Tricia.

    • says

      That is a lovely message! I’ll have to look for it. It is sad that they write these songs for children and somehow we loose it as we grow up. But it’s not all lost. We can still re-learn to love perfectly imperfect!

  6. says

    You’re right, this is a beautiful perspective on parenting. I like to look at perfection as a relative term. I know that I’m the perfect mother for my daughter. Universally perfect? Not so much!

  7. says

    Beautiful post! We try so hard at perfecting things that we miss out on a lot (and we still come up with something far from perfect!). Thank you for sharing this!

  8. says

    This is awesome! No one is perfect. I will freely admit that I am a perfectionist, but to me that means just giving my best effort and fixing things that are wrong that I see. I don’t let things go, just because they are good enough, if I know I can do better. But at the same time I realize that there will always be someone who does something differently (and perhaps better in my eyes) and that’s ok. I shouldn’t be worrying about what someone else can do, I should only be worrying about doing the best that I can. And that is what I teach my kids!

    • says

      Thanks, Michelle! Love that – different is just that, different. And sometimes better. And always only we should aim to do the best we can do.

  9. says

    Thanks so much for this wonderful reminder! It’s amazing how much we don’t want our children defined by “perfect” while it’s so hard to let go of trying to be perfect ourselves. Beautiful writing, beautiful message.

  10. says

    a great reminder — even though I am not a perfectionist in any way, shape or form — I never realized how much it does creep into what we would think of as “normal” responses.

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