In my work, I definitely tend to be bound by perfection, but one area of my life where I’ve really enjoyed letting my perfectionist tendencies fall to the wayside is in my parenting. Not only is it too hard (and somewhat pointless) to strive for parenting perfection, but the extra bonus is that letting go often translates to fun (and often educational) experiences for Laurel that also foster her independence and free up my hands. Here are two examples where this played out beautifully (while prepping yesterday for Jon’s birthday):
When it comes to wrapping presents, let me just say that at one point in my life, I actually got paid to wrap presents perfectly. But Laurel really wanted to wrap Jon’s present yesterday, and since lately we’ve been a tad challenged in getting her to work on projects independently, I followed her lead and set her up with several rolls of wrapping paper (she loves collage work), kiddie scissors, and plenty of tape. I love how heartfelt and perfectly imperfect this gift looks. I bet Jon will love it too.
About this time last year I did an interview with NECN on parent friendly kitchen gadgets. Among the items I recommended was a cherry pitter, primarily because it helped me keep up with Laurel’s speed in gobbling cherries.
Laurel has always loved helping me bake (she knows the rewards) and last night when I started prepping Jon’s birthday cherry pie she was clamoring to help out with the cherry pitter tool. I let go of perfection in the sense of knowing there likely would be a very messy child, counter top, and floor to clean up, and proceeded to teach her to balance the cherry and squeeze the pitter. This was a HUGE success. She loved depitting the cherries and it ended up being enormously helpful, allowing me to clean up the kitchen, make pie dough, prep all the other ingredients, and even (admittedly) have a few quiet minutes to check my Blackberry. She even carefully counted the pits as she went to make sure she wasn’t missing any.
Both of these tasks encouraged independence, math and measurement skills, motor dexterity, and helping out. How utterly cool is that?