Teaching My Kiddo To Navigate The Balancing Act That Is Life

One of my favourite ways to excuse myself to eat an extra cookie or sit on the couch all day reading is my friend, balance. The cookie is fine because I had kale in my smoothie, and the couch day is justified because I’m a mom and I never get to sit down so I’m going to take advantage when I can. Stopping for ice cream on the way home from yoga? Balance.

I joke about it a lot but truthfully, balance is one of the things that I strive to teach my child. As a perfectionist, it can be hard to let things slide. But I have a little trick that I think helps.

I don’t expect one hundred percent.

What does that even mean? It means that I don’t expect my kid to get straight As. If he’s acing every assignment, he’s not learning. I’d much rather see him get high seventies and know that he’s working hard and has room to grow. I don’t expect him to be the best tennis player at lessons, I just expect him to be respectful to the teacher and his classmates. I don’t care if he has to repeat a level at swimming, as long as I know that he’s listening politely. He’s the one that will quickly figure out when it’s worthwhile to work harder and when it’s not.

I forgive my kiddo when he screws up. I don’t hold grudges. Yes, I guide him to live a healthy lifestyle, but in my opinion a healthy lifestyle involves fast food once in a blue moon and an afternoon of video games. I want my kiddo to know the importance of hard work, but the equal importance of doing things that make him happy.

And while I know that when my kid is grown he will hate me for all of these choices that his father and I are making in raising him, that’s life. We have shaped our parenting to actively help him understand when to use his perfectionism to his advantage and when to let it go. Even in my own life, I’m still learning that when I do things like meditate because “I’m supposed to” it’s far less enjoyable and beneficial than when I meditate because I enjoy how peaceful and grounded I feel afterwards. And that when I berate myself for skipping a day it’s much harder to get back into the routine than when I shrug my shoulders and get to it when I get to it.

And I don’t just model these things, I talk to my son about it and so does my husband. We make sure he knows that there are exceptions to every rule. That it’s okay to play hooky. It’s okay to have cake for breakfast. Yes, it’s important to do our best but we can’t do our best in every single thing we do every single day. Sometimes it’s enough to do our best at listening to our body and what it needs. And hopefully one day, these little things will help him navigate the bigger things in life.

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