I’ve just been to the cinema with my husband (a very rare treat these days!), and we saw the film Lady Bird. Have any of you seen it?
It is basically a story of a teenager’s relationship with her mother as they go through her last year of school and applications to college.
There is a scene in the film that really struck me. Lady Bird is asking her mother for approval, and her mother comes out with “I just want you to be the most perfect version of yourself you can possibly be.”
And Lady Bird replies “What if this IS the most perfect version of me?”
It is so easy to see the struggle here when it is a (highly) eloquent teenager on the other end of the conversation, but how many of us are guilty of trying to ‘better’ our children? Especially our young children?
I find myself doing it all the time with my five year old. Expecting such great things of him, teaching him how to do stuff perfectly, getting him to undo his shirt buttons and start again when they are mismatched, instead of being able to see the joy in his face that he has managed to dress himself.
Maybe the most perfect version of my son right now is the boy who can make his own breakfast, but spills some of the milk. The boy who can keep up with his cousins in the woods, but still needs a long cuddle when he gets a tiny cut on his knee. The boy who has finally mastered a jigsaw puzzle, but the effort of tidying it away is just too much.
Maybe I could stop striving for perfection and start to recognise what is already present and perfect in my child.
By Alexandra Harris - Consultant at CalmFamily Hampshire
Alexandra has two children, aged 4 and 6, a dog and a husband, and spends most of her time exploring muddy streams in the New Forest and storing collections of special sticks, stones and shells on the floor of her car. Her favourite way to decompress and recharge is to immerse herself fully in the sea and her daughter regularly sends her for a swim when she’s finding Mummy a little difficult to manage.
Alexandra's passions lie in supporting parents to be able to understand their children and themselves more fully, and so develop relationships that lead to calm, respectful and joyful family lives.