So here's the thing, I'm a fairly average parent. And I am totally okay with that. I sent my kids to school dressed as a Pokemon and a Ninja for Japanese appreciation day. Let;s not get stuck on whether that's potentially inappropriate or not - it was all we had.
Unfortunately for them, it was the wrong day and they were the only ones dressed up. Only made worse by the fact it was the same day Jack was to be presented with an award in front of the entire school. Safe to say he refused to get up on stage. Once I stopped laughing I did feel bad, but Jack's response was priceless... "It's ok mum, you didn't mean it and it just means it's another day I don't have to wear uniform". He knows I tried. And that's enough for him.
When I was little girl I thought that when you grew up you knew everything and you became this perfect version of yourself. I idolized women in my family, thought they were perfect, that they never made mistakes. In fact I felt that way about a lot of the adults in my life. To me they were bigger and better than everything else and one day I wanted to be just like them.
As the years got on, I continued to make mistakes and beat myself up irrationally each and every time I did. Because I was supposed to be perfect. If I did't say the right thing, do the right thing, or be the person people thought I should be I felt like a failure and that was all that I could focus on.
My internal critic became my best friend and worst enemy all it once. It drove me to work harder, be stronger, be better. But it was a harsh and nasty voice when I made a mistake. Mistakes weren't allowed. To that critic, sending your kids to school dressed as fictional characters on a day they were to receive an award meant you were the worst parent in the world. And that you were failing in 'adulting'.
What I am slowly realising is that the nasty little voice that sits in the back of my mind constantly and some times comes from those around me... needs to back off. I make mistakes because I am still trying. I am trying to be better and to be something more.
No one knows how to be a parent straight away, and every knows the first kid is the one you make mistakes on. Happened to me and I've done it to Jack. It's how we learn, it's how we grow.
No one knows how to deal with a difficult situation until they're in it. They won't know the right things to do or say they'll just have to wing it. If they get it wrong or think later on they could have done it better... then next time they will. They have learnt something, they're growing.
I couldn't count on both hand and feet the amount of things I have royally messed up lately and some of them have been BIG. At the time it feels like it's beyond repair, that there is no coming back from it. And then you flip it on it's head and look at it from another angle.
I have learnt to not only learn from my mistakes so that I do not repeat them, but I also look at the way others react around me.
I recently made a massive mistake at work. I felt sick. My boss was not happy and rightly so.
I could not make sense of why it had happened, or how I had managed to do what I had done. That's just how silly this mistake was. I knew I had to try to fix it, to make it right but I had no idea where to start. I knew I had to own this.
I had a colleague on the phone to me all night talking me through different solutions, he knew I had messed up but he was supporting me through my efforts to try and fix it. He understood that it was just a mistake and that I would learn from it.
Once I saw my boss after the weekend. I was expecting rockets to go off. He wasn't happy about it, I had cost him a lot of money. Here's the part where I really started learning though... I felt so sick about what had happened and he could genuinely see that I was trying to make amends and that I would learn from it. He too, stood by me and said "WE will fix it".
In that moment I was able to see that not only were they both able to see that I had made the mistake because I was trying in the first place (most likely trying to do too much) but they could also see that I was still trying.
I don't want to be perfect. I want to keep making mistakes, I want to keep learning, I want to keep growing. It is through my mistakes that I have learnt my greatest lessons and grown the most.
Looking back, the adults I looked up to so much weren't perfect either. I just didn't see their mistakes as mistakes. I saw them through children's eyes - they were trying, they were working hard, they never gave up. They loved, they learned and they lived.
Jess Castree is a mother to two little boys and one angel little girl. She is the General Manager of a Plumbing Company in Melbourne. All round workaholic, perfectionist, over anxious, slightly neurotic woman trying to make it in the big bad world we live in today.