Raising The Not So Perfect Child

In all honesty, there are days that I can’t figure out why I don’t have my act together as a mom or why my kids aren’t picture perfect. We’ve all seen the kids in the stores wearing perfectly matched clothes with their hair perfect and not an once of dirt to be found on them. Then I glance over at my kids with their sloppy hair, mismatched clothes, and the occasional (ok more than occasional) dirty face.

Is it because I’m a bad mom? Do I not care enough to go upstairs each night and lay out the perfect outfit for my kids and iron out any wrinkles, scrub any spots? Why don’t I fix their ponytails once again after they’ve gone down the slide 50 times and it’s falling out?

Then there’s the times that wonder why I can’t control their actions. Why is my daughter having that major attitude right now? Is it because of what I’m doing wrong?  Why did they snub that little girl at the playground instead of asking her to play? What am I doing wrong?

Why aren’t my kids perfect?

Daily I have to remind myself that the one that is wrong here is simply myself. My kids aren’t perfect because no one is perfect. I’m not a bad mom, I’m not raising them poorly.

My kids are mismatched because they love to dress themselves and if that means we’re wearing leopard print tights with a purple floral top and kitty cat ears, than so be it. They are growing and learning to express themselves. Their face is dirty it’s because we played too hard that morning, not because we haven’t wiped it 10 times within the last hour already. If their hair isn’t perfect than join the club because mine won’t be either.

And if their behavior is off than they’re just human. Not only that but they’re little humans who haven’t been around as long as us adults and yet we expect them to act better than us. We forget about the woman at church that doesn’t dress conservatively so we stay away. Let’s not even mention the driver that cut us off this morning on our way to Starbucks so we gave them a piece of our mind or layed on the horn, extra loud. When my daughter with the strong will glares at me and tells me, “no”, I too quickly forgot the exact stare that I probably gave my husband that very morning just because he made a joke about the size of my rear. (Death rays are the rage around here some days).

We put kids on pedestals. We expect their grades to be stellar, their outward appearance as a shinning example of our parenting skills, and their behavior to be one of a future saint. When we do that, we rob them.

When we expect more from our kids, and from ourselves as parents, than is even humanly possible we don’t let them grow up and learn along the way. When my kid doesn’t friend another child on the playground that’s when there’s an opportunity for us as parents to step in and teach them. When they refuse to do a chore, that’s when we have the responsibility to teach them about consequences. When they have bad days full of yelling and fighting, that’s the best time for us to teach them about mercy. Forgiving them, loving them and hugging them and overlooking their behavior, only for a second, but long enough to show them that we have a job on this earth to love others more so than we love social protocol.

This is something that I struggle with all the time. My goal should not be to have the model citizen on my hands at 3 years old, it should be to have a child that  is experiencing their childhood with such joy and love that they will grow up to be a person that pours out that love and joy on others.

That is something that I have to remind myself of daily and strive for minute by minute.

If you’re like me than you might like the link to this post that I found awhile back. It’s about raising a child for who they are by Lysa TerKeurst. It’s a must read for parents that strive to raise their children, not bad, not good.. but  as a child.


Bobbie is a homeschooling mom of three girls in the Houston area. Although most of her days are spent scrubbing up paint or ungluing her fingers, occasionally she also takes the time to burn dinner.

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  1. Lisa W. says

    Today hit home…seriously. We do have to guide our children and that is the best and worst job of a mom!
    Just wanted to mention that those “perfect” kids you see at the store with their clothes all matched and their hair done perfect…don’t think those mom’s are any different than you! I happen to be a mom of one of “those” kids and it happens that I have OCD tendencies so it isn’t something that I can just “let go”. I am good at not putting pressure on my daughter but there are little things like having her look “perfect” when we go out that I can’t help. So next time you see that family in the store don’t feel like you have to examine yourself, just send a quick prayer their way because they may need it too.

    • Bobbie says

      Thank you so much. Sometimes I forget, all too often actually, that the parents I see as perfect have their own struggles and need the prayer and support just as much as the scatterbrained parents.

  2. says

    Love when you said this : “My goal should not be to have the model citizen on my hands at 3 years old, it should be to have a child that is experiencing their childhood with such joy and love that they will grow up to be a person that pours out that love and joy on others.” I dont have kids (yet) but have worked with kids for years (as a teacher and tutor) and I agree with you 100%. Those ‘perfect’ kids you see with not a spot of dirt on them have either a) just been washed off in the store bathroom or b) need to have a little more fun like going down a slide 50 times :) I hope you keep blogging so that your readers can find out what wonderful, beautiful, loving, joyful women your girls turn out to be because they have a great mamma!

  3. says

    Thank you for this. It is a good reminder for me. I do expect a lot from my 4 year old, and I realize that I am not perfect and neither is she. And that is okay. I appreciate this post a lot.

    I am visiting today from WFMW, and I am glad I did. I hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

  4. says

    Nice post! You reminded me of a family I used to babysit when I was a teenager. Their house was very clean and neat and perfectly decorated. The kids had lots of expensive clothes and wore clean pajamas every night. Yet their mother rarely looked at them without pain and irritation on her face; they were so much livelier and messier than the children she had in mind. It especially bothered her that her daughter was a tomboy instead of the pretty princess she’d decorated that room for. Those kids are in their 20s now. Thank you for reminding me of them so I can pray for them. They still had lots of spirit when they were little, but I know they were beginning to realize they were disappointments to their mom.

    I try not to be that mom! Often I remind myself to focus on the really cool things about my son instead of the ways he’s different from what I expected.

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