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.