Monthly Archives: January 2016

Why I am NOT a Perfect Parent

Why I am not a perfect parent

Why I am NOT a perfect parent

By Joy

I’ve been noticing an alarming trend among parents these days, myself often times included.

With a vast amount of people delaying childbirth until they are “ready” financially, career wise, and other reasons, childbirth and rearing children is often seen as another aspect of the career ladder in which perfection is sought.

I look to my right and I see a parent spend literally, an hour in the sippy cup aisle reading a downloaded review of sippy cups to find the “perfect cup” for their child who is asleep in the shopping cart at 10 PM.

I look to my left and I see a parent spending $500 dollars a month on extra curricular activities that have been master planned to perfection in the hopes of staying above the edge of other 8 year old competition, while leaving only an hour of every day to see their own child.

I stand in my own shoes and I begin to doubt myself as a parent… wondering, how ~ without a way to benchmark review my parenting progress, yelp my parenting style, or have “likes” for my mothering activities ~ how will I know if I am becoming the Perfect Parent? Do other Moms ever think this way? Doubt this way? Wonder this way? Prioritize this way? And even if they do think like me …. well, then, I can think of a million other people who do not.

No matter how hard you try to be a perfect parent, there is someone who will think you are not.

If you let your kids run barefoot because you think exposure to bacteria, dirt, and nature are good for them – you will receive glares from people thinking you are neglectful.

I don’t know why I spent a good majority of my month thinking about this. But,  I have. I have been observing parents in every situation I could. It was quite a social experiment. And, now that my research is done, I have come to an evidence based, educated, peer reviewed conclusion.

I am going to stop trying to be a perfect parent.

I am just going to be myself.

I am going to love who I am.

On the days that I don’t like how I acted, or the mistakes I have made, then I will allow room in my day for the process of growth.

But I will love myself.

I will be myself.

I will leave room in my schedule to be human. To be silly. To make mistakes and allow my kids to watch me grow from them. 

I know we all want to be “the perfect parent”, and that is absolutely great. We want desperately to create a perfect childhood, perfect experience, and offer our children all the opportunities for education and life that we perhaps were not provided. Or perhaps we just want to offer our children more.

Today, I decided, in many ways ~ less is more.

I will spend less time and energy trying to become the perfect parent, and more time and energy on being myself. Loving myself. Right where I am, and sharing that journey with my children.

Who knows? Maybe in the process I will destroy the dream of Perfect Parenting, and end up giving them the perfect gift instead ~ my whole heart, available to them, as an authentic person. I think that matters more than all standards of perfection.

So, to the parent who has been online for the past 8 hours straight researching “what is the best bib for my baby?” Turn off your consumer reports. You aren’t doing it wrong if you got spit up on yourself and on your child. Laugh and Live. We do not have to be perfect. We do not have to buy every product. There is nothing new today that will make us a better parent to our children than we could have been yesterday. Let’s plan room into our days for down time, for mistakes, for being human beings – and let’s allow our kids to see how we recover from them. Let’s forget about being perfect – and just remember the immense and priceless gift of just being parents.

imperfect parenting


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Home: written with black and white ink

Home: a letter written with black and white ink

by: Joy

Hi my dear friends,

Today, I finally have the words to say about how I have been feeling the past few weeks as racial conflicts continue to escalate in the media. I know that this is just a shadow of the true presence, and this post could not begin to address the root causes.

My feeling, my heart, is nowhere near large enough to speak on anyone’s behalf who is suffering or has suffered at the hands of racism and prejudice. And, each person has their own story to tell. This is simply my heart. As someone who heals through writing, I must write from my heart, even in its smallness, if I can ever hope to understand the largeness of another’s suffering.

I hope, that if you are hurting, that we can find joy from ashes together. And if, by some twist of fate, you cannot understand or imagine what I am talking about today, my heart opens up to you even more, and I invite you, to please take just a minute, and come inside my letter. This letter is written from my home, to yours. This is a picture of my family, my home.

fam photo black and white

When two cultures are in conflict it feels like there is a bubble of tension always on the verge of bursting. Do you know that feeling, where everything safe and promised has vanished, the disillusionment fades, perhaps something great was in the palm of your hand, and now you can only glimpse at the ashes? The sadness leaves a horrid taste in your mouth, and you just want to turn around, wipe your tears, and go home?

Well, the sadness over recent social racial events, makes me feel like I want to come Home.

Home to where Black and White are not colors that battle, but hearts that serve one another with love.

Home to where we take turns learning how to have empathy, compassion, understanding, and non-violent action.

It is an ebb and flow of hearing heartache and understanding from another human being. 

One morning it is a quiet question from innocent lips, “Mom, she said I’m not a white girl, what does that mean?”

In the afternoon it is a comment made by my daughter through tears, “She said I’m the only black girl in the whole school. Is there something wrong with me?” 

By dinner it is the news reporter who called me back at home, while the chicken simmered on the stove, for a comment on air, “So mam, would you let your kids walk around the neighborhood wearing a hoodie?”

Brush teeth, say prayers, listen to hearts, grow in wisdom together, kiss kids goodnight.

10:00 pm news is full of protests, signs, arguments, violence, riots, adding fuel to the fire. My heart breaks watching humanity battle one another, only to hurt themselves.

My heart hurts so badly, I want to take every person I see on the news home.



Home. Four letters that are written with black and white ink.

Four letters that do not require one to become weak for another to be strong. Four letters that I am only so blessed to be part of, because at another time it would have been illegal. Four letters that make everything better, not because we are all the same, but because we are all different- and yet we love, listen, and care about each other the same.

I watch the news through tears and I’m so sorry.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I can’t sit with you in your home and invite you to sit with me in mine.

If I could, I would listen to the ebb and flow of your heartache, emotions, trials.

We could sit together and talk about how to make it better.

We could pass food around from hand to hand, and nobody would even think to ask what color the hands are- they would simply be holding them open, invitingly, lovingly.

I’m idealistic to think that our small Home could hold the entire world right now. That it could house the sorrow, the riots, the pain. That it could mend treacherously deep caverns of wounds that bind and spit and relive your worst nightmares.

I know my Home is too small.

But if you lived in my Home for one day, and had your tears wiped by the most innocent Black and White little hands I’ve ever held, and were fed from the purity of their love that sees every color and smiles, and were restored not by violent actions of hate, but by even stronger actions of peace; I know, that your heart would be filled with enough of God’s love, to want to try and invite everyone home also.

I’m praying for every person hurting right now, of every culture, and holding out hope. But I cannot just sit back and wish on the stars for it to get better. Dr Martin Luther King Jr said that “It is in the darkness that we can see the stars.” There is something that each of us can do today.

If we each make enough loving Homes, that uphold respect for all people, of all colors and all cultures, maybe, just maybe, we can have enough Homes to invite everybody to come inside.

I know several loving people, who are ready to say, “Welcome Home.”

Will you?


Current Events Referred To: Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin

Now Read “Uncross Your Arms” Uncross Your Arms