Nothing is Perfect

Recently I messed up our schedule and my daughter missed her only chance to get professional ballet photographs in her recital costume. It’s honestly not a big deal to me. However, to my theatrical seven-year-old it’s a catastrophe! Part of me feels really guilty, but the guilt is less about this one scheduling mix-up and more about my everyday struggle to keep our family organized. 

Perfection is an impossible ideal, but somehow it is still something we aspire to be. We want to be “Super Parents” that can “do it all!” While we know there’s no such thing as perfect parenting we seem to worry a whole lot about what isn’t perfect. 

With kids we can’t always be on time, or have all the laundry done, or go to every birthday party. Bedtimes are variable, baths get skipped, homework is forgotten, and somehow everyone survives. Why worry so much??? Why expect perfection??? 

In my experience the “mommy guilt” I put on myself is usually from an unrealistic expectation, not a true failure on my part. Even if I make an actual mistake that I must fix, like apologize for overreacting to my children, I believe the apology a good lesson in itself. 

It occurred to me recently that I need to be kinder to myself, I need to worry less, and I need to consciously shut off the “mommy guilt.” Because what does it teach our kids when we ruminate on our imperfections? What if they pick up on our obsession to be “super” at everything, and what if they think we expect them to be perfect? 

If we can’t forgive our own imperfections how do we teach our kids to forgive themselves when they fall short? 

To all the parents out there please give yourselves a break! The reality is that being a “super” parent isn’t about being perfect. In my opinion it’s about being loving, consistent, and forgiving… and sometimes admitting that we are regular humans who can’t “do it all” all the time. 

“Better beginnings, better balance,” is our catchphrase at Harmony Children’s Village, and balance is another thing that we can’t get perfect. Like most other parenting challenges it’s something to work at every day. 

So the next time you’re late tucking the kids in bed or digging through dirty laundry for the shirt your child needs, just know your’e not alone and remember to go easy on yourself! I’ll be doing the same. 

How do you cope when you can't "do it all" as a parent? Please share your insights by commenting here or email me at lilly.pulko@harmonychildrensvillage.com with your thoughts and ideas for more blog topics! 

Thanks for being part of the village, 

Lilly 

Creativity- no, not art

Creativity really is essential in parenting. I'm not talking about decorating a magazine-worthy nursery or crafting hand-made Valentine's cards for all 22 of your preschooler's classmates. I'm referring to creativity like making a peek-a-boo game with your restaurant menu when your toddler is hangry.  Keeping a couple of treats in your car (like gummy fruit snacks) for when you need to incentivize your kid to be patient on errands. Arranging your 4 year-old's closet and drawers so it's fool-proof for her to put away her laundry (I'll let you know if this actually works in the next blog post). Some of these "life hacks" give us a little more sanity and we only discover them by talking to each other and bouncing ideas off of each other. 

I bring this up because it has become more meaningful for me to reach out to the parents of my daughter's friends. These other moms and dads have helped me with behavior issues, carpool, homework, social dilemmas, and all sorts of stuff.

I'll admit that as an inexperienced mom I thought I was too busy with my every day priorities to make room for other people in my life. It's already a struggle to spend time with my closest friends  because most of us have kids and our schedules are impossible! However my ability to ask for support and find support has exponentially grown by finding a couple of other parent friends in my daughters' social circle. 

One of the things that weighs on my heart for families who have children with medical conditions is how they often become socially isolated and don't get to meet as many other parents as the rest of us, especially not in person. Many of these parents cut their work hours or even give up their careers, they may not be able to find or afford qualified babysitters, and going out with their child becomes complicated in and of itself because of all the medical stuff they have to bring. Did I mention how many doctor's and therapist's appointments they have on their schedule too?  

It's an unintentional, unimaginable reality that I have learned and I want to fix it. With Harmony Children's Village I aim to make our community as open and supportive as possible so that not only do the children with medical needs get to socialize, but so do their parents. It takes a village, y'all! And we are creating it one family at a time :)

What are some of your favorite creative life hacks??? Please share them here or email me at lilly.pulko@harmonychildrensvillage.com with your thoughts! 

Thanks for being part of the village, 

Lilly 

Loving what makes my kids special

Loving my children feels as natural as breathing. It's so fun to see how each of them is different and to discover their individual quirks. For instance, my oldest daughter, Jane, is always hot. She stopped sleeping in footy pajamas when she was 12 months old because she clearly felt uncomfortably warm in them. Even now, as a silly 7-year-old, she tries to get away with wearing shorts during the winter. On the other hand, Violet, who is 4 years old, wears a second layer of cotton pajamas under her footy pajamas and also wears footed tights year-round. 

Noticing these special things about our children is part of being parents-- and it's stuff like this that makes me reflect on how each and every child has special needs of their own according to a lot of things-- their genetics, their preferences and their personalities. They may or may not sleep with a paci, or only drink from a particular bottle, or have a food allergy, etc. So if a child also needs physical therapy for their development, or has a feeding tube, or has a rare genetic condition, sure, we can call those things special but the majority of their needs are the same as all of their peers: loving caregivers, a safe environment, quiet nap times, healthy habits, educational activities, and friends to play with.

So for anyone telling your friends about Harmony Children's Village and trying to find the words to describe what makes us unique, my go-to phrase is "care for children with and without medical conditions" since every child has special needs, but not all of them have medical conditions. 

I have really enjoyed caring for three different babies so far in our in-home babysitting service and it has truly been a joy to get to know each of them. Also, we have some exciting news to share-- another baby will join Harmony Children's Village in a few months because I'm pregnant with baby girl #3! I can't wait to discover all the special and unique things about her, and I'll be sure to share them with the village. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on special needs and how your children all have unique quirks. This blog is a new way for our village to keep in touch, so please comment and email me at lilly.pulko@harmonychildrensvillage.com with topics you would like me to address and anything about parenting that you would like to discuss!

Thanks for being part of the village, 

Lilly