The Truth about Cracks

Imperfection

Stepping on the cracks offers a refreshing glimpse of imperfection. Without broken backs.

Step on a crack and break your momma’s back, right? My kids laugh endlessly over this game.

To me, those cracks are blatant reminders of the balance of parenthood. So relatively small, yet disproportionately impactful — less so for breaking backs than the metaphorical understanding of not successfully holding things together. You know what I’m talking about, right? The fragments of our lives that fall through the cracks, making us feel defeated and tarnish our goals of perfection.

If only I could so easily jump over them on the sidewalk knowing that with every step, I’d avoid the consequences that come with not being on top of my game.

All parents are juggling an extraordinary workload. Between spouses, kids, jobs, school and the semblance of a social life, it’s not realistic to think that we can avoid something from falling between the cracks. Something is bound to be forgotten, someone bound to be disappointed. So why, then, do we spend so much effort to attain the idea of perfection?

I know many parents who lament over the feelings of guilt at falling short from time to time. Including myself. Many who express regret and sorrow over unavoidable circumstances. Like myself. Many who lose their sanity in those cracks. Again, I’m right there with them.

Recent perspective has offered me the humbling view of imperfection. Because with imperfection comes flexibility, humility, understanding and through all this, determination and tenacity. Yes, all these wonderfully positive attributes are ones that I credit to my own shortcomings. The things I credit to being imperfect.

What better things to ask for? What better example can I provide to my children than that of imperfection?

Among the things falling through the cracks — the missed doctor’s appointments, the forgotten show & tell, the lost library book — perhaps we can see the balance, and the benefits, of being imperfect. Maybe we can see the crack as a respite from our own expectations of self. Maybe we can re-define the notion of success. And if that doesn’t work, we can always go back to being perfect tomorrow.

Comments

The Beginning
About Brienna McWade

Brienna lives in the great Pacific Northwest where she writes and grows a family. She travels, watches baseball and loves live music. She has previously written parenting articles for Patch.com and music reviews for Seattle Wave Radio.

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Comments

  1. Perfect imperfection. The goal should always be to be the best you can be, not striving to be perfect. I dig this article. Really gives you something to think about. Nice job.

  2. Perfect is boring. It is the imperfections that make it fun, unique and memorable. Our kids need to learn to enjoy those imperfections.

  3. “Something is bound to be forgotten, someone bound to be disappointed. So why, then, do we spend so much effort to attain the idea of perfection?”

    First sentence is a guarantee, while the second quite possibly might be a question with no answer.

    My experience with perfectionists is that they don’t even attempt certain things for fear of their efforts not living up to their perfect expectations. So instead of trying and focusing on simply giving it their best, something our parents, teachers, and coaches have been trying to drill into our heads since day one, something we ourselves ask of our own kids, perfectionists decide to not even participate because of their fears.

    Your perspective on imperfection resulting in, “flexibility, humility, understanding and through all this, determination and tenacity,” tells me that you aren’t one of these people. My guess is that you’ve helped your kids with show & tells since the forgotten one and have checked out books from the library despite the lost one.

    I agree with you that we need to re-define the notion of success, and personally, I think you do a damn good job of it in this article. This is great perspective that many parents can learn from. Thank you for putting words to it.

  4. brickwade says:

    Thanks for the feedback, friends. The support of imperfection is clear but it’s still not making a large enough impact to break through the stigma of imperfect parenting across the board.
    I believe that in imperfection, there is vulnerability, and that alone is what draws parents to the shiny mirage that is perfection. No one wants to be perceived as weak and certainly not expose the soft underbelly of our self-esteem.
    Even now, as I read what I post about imperfection and it’s benefits, I’d be lying if I told you I still didn’t sometimes cringe at the dropped balls of my responsibility. I’m a work in progress as I imagine many others are too.

  5. There is so much guilt attached to not constantly trying to attain perfection. It’s total BS. Parents need more messages like this one:

    “Because with imperfection comes flexibility, humility, understanding and through all this, determination and tenacity. Yes, all these wonderfully positive attributes are ones that I credit to my own shortcomings. The things I credit to being imperfect.”

This is what I think...

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