How My Daughter’s Love of the Imperfect Has Helped Me with My Desire for Perfection

I’ve always been what some may call particular. I like things in a certain way. My aunt says  I was the only child she’d ever seen who would throw the paper away and start over if any coloring went outside of the lines. Unfortunately, that last sentence is a pretty accurate summary of my childhood. I liked my clothes a certain way. I never wanted my books to look any different than when they were sitting on the shelf at the bookstore–perfectly smooth with not a wrinkle in sight. And don’t even get me started on my constant attempt to tame my curly hair. These characteristics have brought me a lot of frustration. It took a lot of joy out of everyday activities. They have also driven me to be successful in many ways. Thankfully I’ve mellowed out a lot with age. My daughter’s love of the imperfect has also helped me with my desire for perfection.

Her easy-going personality

My daughter is a free-spirit in every sense of the word. The complete opposite of most of the characteristics I exhibited when I was her age. One thing I hear her say a lot is “Mommy, it’s fine! It doesn’t have to be perfect!” This phrase encompasses many aspects of her life. It’s not as though she settles, so-to-speak, but she isn’t bothered by things that shouldn’t matter. Do her shoes have a little dirt on them? No big deal. They are still just as pretty. Is the frosting on her homemade cupcake not completely smooth? It still tastes just as good. Did she make a mistake while using a marker? There’s always the other side of the paper. Or scribbling out works too!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I’d like to say that my daughter’s lack of desire to be perfect immediately transferred to her mother. It didn’t. She’s almost 9 and it’s taken me a majority of those years. Just the other night we were reading a book together. My daughter took a bookmark out that she’d received from her teacher and colored herself. The first thing I noticed was that it was coming apart on one side. The first thing she said was “I just love this bookmark!” When I was younger, I would have hated it as soon as it started coming apart. Her attitude has allowed me to be okay with choosing the imperfect and still being able to find joy in that.

Many parents will say they have learned important lessons thru their kids. Words cannot adequately describe my gratitude for my daughter’s ability to see past perfection. It’s definitely a work in progress for me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to see the beauty of imperfection thru the eyes of a daughter who is perfect to me.

Emily Draper
Emily grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She graduated from The University of Arizona with a degree in Business Administration, where her love affair with all-things desert began. She originally moved to Tampa in 2009 to be closer to her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Kyle. Together, they have two amazing (and amazingly strong-willed!) kids. Since starting a family, Emily has also lived in South Carolina and Metro Detroit, before returning to the Tampa area in 2017. In her spare time, Emily enjoys fitness, essential oils, reading, country music and anything crafty.

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