The Practice for the Panicky Parent

I recently learned that my kids see all that I am. They’ve known about my many flaws for some time now, but I am just starting to get okay with this fact. My hope is that I can use their truths about me as a learning tool for personal, parental and professional growth.

C’mon though… I miss being seen as a “perfect” mom by my daughters.

chocolate pudding
Even my vision was still “perfect” then.

I have always known about my imperfections. Plus, for extra credit like a perfect perfectionist, I threw in a bunch of additional defects for good measure. Most were likely not real but created by my Inner Critical Committee of Jerks. They still meet daily.

Years ago, I cherished being idealistically adored by my daughters. I just rolled out of bed and was a pretty, pretty princess. For me not to miss such ease and pleasure would be pretty weird, I think.

As a typical perfectionist, my first impulse was and sometimes still is to work myself to death to become that beautiful, perfect mother I once was. Lucky for me and anyone around me, I am a realistic optimist and catch on pretty fast. Also, I was never a pretty, pretty princess to anyone other than my young daughters.

This is obviously my inside job and has everything to do with my panic, my perfectionism, and most of all, my daily practice in PAUSING, as I try to wear all of it like a loose garment.

My girls and I talk and have always chatted about real life subjects. I have to remember that I was never pretending to be a perfect, pretty, pretty princess. When they’ve asked, I have always been straight up with them on the following subjects:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Dating
  • Sex
  • Cancer
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug addiction
  • Eating disorders
  • Panic and anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Workaholism
  • Social justice
  • Human Rights
  • Oppressed communities, macro and microaggression
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Mean girls
  • Teen and tween ouchies
  • Boys and men (And more recently Boyz 2 Men)
  • Trust
  • Gluttony
  • Laziness
  • Surrender
  • Acceptance and living life on life’s terms
  • Mindfulness
  • Barometric pressure and other weather forecasts
  • Hair and make up
  • Sports
  • Facts versus feelings (especially where the word “failure” is mentioned)
  • Respect
  • Exhaustion, sleep disorders and racing minds while trying to fall asleep
  • L O V E, no matter how the above bullet points present themselves in any one of us

Throughout most of my life, I have walked through bouts of depression, anxiety, addictions and then, recovery. For me, all of my recovery has to do with a commitment to daily practice. Trauma, alcohol, drugs and donuts never really go away. They are, after all, an enormous part of my story and my construction into who I am today.

I still experience what feels like paralyzing panic and I immediately go to “fight, flight or freeze.” No matter where I am, the next step (action) is to practice mindfulness. I must  take a few deep breaths and remember that I am experiencing feelings which are not based on facts.

So now, with my daughters, the jig is up. I’m not perfect and I’m not a pretty, pretty princess.

One thing I can give to my daughters are the gifts that come from walking through life through practice. No, it may not be fun or glamorous, but for this mother, it’s the best I’ve got to give.

Today, which is all any of us really have, it’s enough.

So are we.

So are you.

I am enough
The first thing we hung in our home and I think, the truest and most important.


Author: PKW

Writer, Speaker, Facilitator, Trainer, Fundraiser, Strategist, Listener, and Lover of Humans. My love for humans and relationship building are a part of every single thing I do, except for maybe using the bathroom.

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