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The "Unicorn" Parent

I think I have finally “jumped the shark” with this one but it’s something that stuck in my head that other day after listening to a conversation among parents and getting it out was the only way to make peace with it.

 

The Unicorn Parent.

 

What could I possibly mean by this? It’s the parent type that doesn’t exist, whatever parent “type” you think you may be.

 

It’s the parent type singled out for something, some thought, some feeling that is just not true.


As much as we try to label things and try to make them make sense, parenting is one of those things you just can’t categorize. Yes, there are varying degrees of good and bad, but even then, who gets to judge that?

 

You see this a lot on social media with all the mom influencers out there; funny moms, busy moms, sports moms, healthy moms, new age moms, there’s even one called scary mom! If you follow these accounts, you know of what I speak.

 

The common theme is that they are all parents just trying to make it through the day in the way they know how. Laughing, complaining, mocking or life hacking, we’re all parenting.

 

When we talk about the parent unicorn, there are three types: the perfect parent, the parent that does it all wrong, and the parent that thinks they are on their own.

 

The Perfect Parent – Doesn’t exist!

 

Everyone thinks they know one or wants to be one.

 

If you’ve read enough of my blog posts, you know I own up to a lot of missteps and blunders in my personal parenting journey. It doesn’t make me a bad parent; it makes me a parent that is trying.

 

For all the errors and tears, deep down I know I’m doing the very best I can. Will I ever be perfect? No. No one can. And why would you want to? That’s a lot of pressure!

 

So, there’s two things at play here, there are the folks that are trying to be perfect, and driving themselves crazy in the process, and the people that wrongly assume that someone is a perfect parent.

 

For the person trying hard to be a perfect parent, it must be exhausting. And, if you were, you would in fact be “A Unicorn” because it’s simply not attainable.

 

What’s the end goal? Our kids will turn out to be the people they are meant to be despite our best and worst efforts, because we’re all human. Our job is simply to love them and guide them the best we can to be the best they can.

 

When we pour so much effort into attempts at perfect parenting, we can miss out on the organic moments they were meant to be. Also, we set ourselves up for disappointment with ourselves and our children.

 

Parenting was not meant to be perfect, and so "The Perfect Parent” unicorn does not exist.

 

Now, to the people out there that wrongly assume that someone is a perfect parent, let’s get real. That’s just comparison, jealously, and insecurity, and it’s just not true. (See section above.)

 

They may say they think someone is a great parent, but they are really just comparing their own personal journey to someone else with no reliable data to benchmark it against, just their own perception.

 

If you were able to pull back the veneer of someone you assumed was a perfect parent, your eyes would be opened at what you find, they are just like you.

 

Don’t put that kind of pressure on someone and certainly not on yourself to live up to an ideal you set in your mind. Particularly for social media moms, what you see is what they want you to see, not what really is.


The Parent that Does it All Wrong – Doesn’t exist!

 

That’s right. Just because you burn the roast, the house is messy, and you were late for soccer pick-up and your kid is crying, you’re not doing it wrong.

 

We can tie ourselves into knots not only with comparison and jealousy, but also self-judgment and unrealistic expectations of ourselves. You’re not “The Unicorn Parent” that’s constantly getting it wrong.

 

We all know those parents, hyper-critical of themselves, and trying to pass it off as humor. We see you. We know it’s tough. You know why? It’s tough for us too. You’re not doing it any worse than anyone else. We can’t point to you as a shining example of what not to do. We have mirrors in our homes!

 

Show yourself some grace, today and every day.

 

Think back to your own parents. Were they perfect? I think I’m hearing a lot of “no’s,” out there and we turned out okay. Okay enough in fact to try our hand at parenting too.

 

No one is judging, and if they are why?

 

The Parent that Thinks They are on Their Own – Doesn’t exist!

 

So let me explain this one.

 

Yes, there are parents out there that feel isolated, that are dealing with difficult or intense situations and may feel like they are on their own, but they don’t have to be. There are others out there just like you that are not experiencing the ideal parenting journey, so you are not “The Unicorn Parent” of suffering, unfortunately.

 

The most important thing to remember here is that you have the power to help or improve your situation, you just need to reach out for help.

 

Look to family, if you don’t have family, ask a friend, if you don’t want to burden a friend, reach out to a church or a community organization, there is support.

 

Do it for your kids but most importantly, do it for yourself. Suffering in silence builds anger, stress, regret, and it takes a toll on your health. Remember to honor yourself in any situation and that begins with reaching out for support when you need it.

 

Here are two resources that may be helpful if you just don’t know where to turn:

 

 

 

There is always someone willing to help you get to a better place.

 

We get so wrapped up in the responsibilities and nuances of parenting that we work too hard toward the wrong efforts, judge our own efforts too harshly, and hide our shortcomings.


When we embrace the understanding that we are all doing the best we can, and in our own way, that's what makes us unique.

 

Take care and be well,

Courtney

 



A girl petting a unicorn.
Many of our beliefs as parents just aren't true, just like unicorns don't exist.

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