Celebrating Imperfections: Breaking the myth of the ‘Perfect Parent’.
Growing up in the decade kick-started by gems like Baghban and K3G, our generation has been manipulated into believing the perfection of parents. Motherhood is no more a personal experience but a web of experiences of a thousand other women except YOU.
But this chase of perfection has harmed not just the children but also the parents. Parents chase perfection. You want to eat that last bite of your favourite chocolate but how can you be so selfish? You should give it to your child. These seemingly small actions are worth it as long as they are performed out of one’s own free will and not from the fear of judgement.
My mother didn’t pursue a career. She has always said that she didn’t do it because she felt she didn’t have to. But I always blamed myself because I couldn’t help but think what could have been if she was not a parent. Maybe she was never career-driven but the fact that things could have been different in my absence makes me feel guilty. You don’t have to be a parent. It’s a choice. What it does to you is your personal experience and you don’t need anyone to validate your emotions.
Expectations that are humanly impossible
There’s no way a human can read the mind of another human (or any being, for that matter) Yet, in the name of love, we have been conditioned to believe in a language that doesn’t exist. And this has seeped in all our relationships. We expect our parents, friends and significant others to know and understand our feelings and thoughts without us having to ever voice them. Sure, your parents and loved ones can feel there’s something wrong if you behave differently or are in low spirits but how will anyone ever know what are you truly feeling unless you tell them? Or telepathy exists between you and them!
When Movies deify parents
Baghban, K3G, Hum Saath Saath Hain And endless other movies have played a vital role in pushing this narrative of the ‘perfect parent’. Jaya Bachchan ‘knowing’ that her son, in the film, has arrived (from God knows what intuition) to Hum Saath Saath Hain’s popular song putting parents at a pedestal adhering to which is mentally and physically exhausting for parents, themselves. Surely, the narrative these movies once propagated is the same they are now trying to break (through movies like Helicopter Eela and more recently, Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan but the effect has already impacted millions.
What happens when you look at parents as fellow mortals and not angels
Some may argue that life-givers can not be normal. But what they forget to realise is that in the end, it is a cycle. The life-givers of today give birth to the life-givers of tomorrow which by default, makes us all God, that is people with certain superpowers. But if that were the case then again, we are all equals because, in the end, all of us are ‘uniquely same’. When you look at parents as fellow humans, you give them space to make mistakes and don’t expect them to go the extra mile. You realise that they too have their physical, emotional and mental needs that need to be met. You treat them like a human and make the attempt to understand their perspective and opinions whenever you can.
Failing to adhere to the ideals
With the advent of new technology and gain of new information, issues like Postpartum depression have become mainstream. Imagine the pressure on these women who because of biological and medical reasons find it tough it to love their children. The societal expectations on their heads must act as a deterrent for them in continuing their normal lives. The stigma behind a mother failing to love her child is the same that a few years ago, sterile women had to face. People blame it on women who are made to feel as if they ‘lack’ something in themselves only because they need time to fall in love with their children.
The myth of perfection and it’s impact on the relationships that our youth forms
These ideals that children see their parents trying to adhere to stays with them through life. And gives us a generation that is trying to adhere to the ideals created for it. Uniqueness is underappreciated and all children are expected to follow a set path for fulfilling the hopes of their parents, their parents’ parents and their uncles and aunts who they may not have ever met! Why? Because the ideal is that kids should be well-settled by the age of 28. If not? Sorry, you failed as a parent and your child is a liabilty.
Only that they are not, just because you are not-what that post on Instagram defines as the traits of highly productive people-doesn’t mean that you are unproductive. As long as you are contented with yourselves, nothing else matters. Of course, every parent wants their child to be a millionaire but is it possible? What is possible is, that you live the life you want to. Without trying to adhere to or run behind hollow ideals. You need to accept that no person sitting miles away from you can tell you if that friend of yours is toxic. You will have to decide for yourself.
When 2 unique individuals come together. Their experience will be unique.
No human is perfect. Every person is unique and so are the relationships that we share. Don’t let those ‘3 traits that will prove he is the guy’ affect your sanity. When 2 unique individuals come together. Their experience will be unique. As long as you feel something is right, do it. Don’t let the fear of future stop you from being your loving self. Maybe that relationship won’t work out but at least you would have cherished every moment it gave you.
When we accept that our parents are imperfect, we begin to acknowledge imperfections, everywhere, within ourselves and others. Is it not beautiful, though? To know that we live amid imperfect individuals who love each other with their imperfections.
So accept it while there’s time that it’s okay to eat that last bite of chocolate. It’s okay to choose your me-time over another picnic with your kids. It’s okay to prioritise your career. It’s okay to tell your parents what you want as a gift. It’s okay for them to not know and understand you. As long as you are making children feel loved, putting in the effort to understand them and ensuring their well-being, it’s okay to make mistakes because all of us, are humans at the end and imperfection is where lies the beauty of humankind. It’s okay to make mistakes because parents at the end of the day are humans just like the rest of us.
The Myth of the “Perfect Parent”