So, after I sent my last email newsletter, I found a flaw. Eek! That’s how it usually goes for me after I share something important. I look back at it and see what I should’ve done differently. As all writers know, every sentence could be said another way. Although, we can’t play with composition possibilities all day!

Still, constructing meaning is worthwhile. And I feel best when I’m at my best. But the reality is, we can’t always do or be our best—for a long list of reasons, grief being a big one.


Confession: I am a “recovering perfectionist,” as non-fiction author Brené Brown describes, and truthfully, I often “fall off the wagon.” Brené demonstrates that writing means daring greatly. In fact, inside the cover of her aptly titled book, she includes a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech in 1910: “It is not the critic who counts…the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.” Moreover, my husband has this quote taped to our family computer. Note taken. Perhaps you can relate to being brave inside an arena of sorts.

I try to focus on what I did and do well (energy and effort count), but sometimes perfectionism can feel paralyzing. I am attached to every email I send, as imperfectly as the message may be conveyed or interpreted.


Nevertheless, Brené reminds readers there are gifts to imperfection. Maybe my mistakes motivate others to put their creative feet forward? Could my errors be encouraging?

As local mom and accomplished author Kristen McGuiness wrote in her new novel Live Through This, “I had been raised to demand perfection, and I forgot that the biggest adventures were born from mistakes and accidents” (287).

I know people who find satisfaction in discovering typos, and I get it, but authors (and editors) are fallibly human, too! Sure, there should be standards we strive for in order to communicate clearly. Yet, there is also the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, a philosophy that honors acceptance, imperfection, personality, art, beauty, and impermanence.

I am inspired by stories. What is an example of a time when you grappled with perfectionism? Know this, mama: you’re not alone.

Parenting and Living Imperfectly

There is a lot of pressure on parents to “get it right.” We deal with a calendar of extracurriculars, medical/dental/pet appointments, personal ambitions, creative pursuits, exercise intentions, educational goals, mindful parenting, spousal support, relational matters, community activities, school correspondence, volunteer commitments, worldly concerns, voting responsibilities, office work, house chores, never-ending laundry, healthy/rounded meals, and for some, paid employment outside the home! There is SO MUCH to be accountable for; the expectations can seem overwhelming, especially within our always on-call (smart-phone) culture. We simply can’t get it all right all the time. 

Leadership and self-expression require vulnerability, inspire courage, and invite authenticity. Parents are love leaders. We model maturity, time management, determination, coping skills, positivity, and resilience for our kiddos. In this video of a speech from 2022, Brené says, “to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive!”

Let us try to embrace the temporary gift of time with our kids. Also, it is risky to be bold. Our brave and artful acts might embolden our children for the future. Perhaps, they’ll gather more confidence to stretch themselves, too.

Going Forward

As we enter the season of spring (cleaning, renewal, and growth), we can learn from our “mistakes,” toss out some self-criticism, give ourselves grace, celebrate accomplishments, look for the good, and try to do better if given another chance at something. We can join supportive networks, lean on loved ones, and accept our earnest attempts as “progress over perfection.”




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Tamara Miller Davis
Tamara Miller Davis is an author, mother of two kidz with Z names, pet owner, fire captain's wife, substitute teacher, parent club volunteer, dance enthusiast, and U.S. Coast Guard veteran from Michigan. Tamara published her debut book "Despite the Buzz" in 2021. The colorful novel is a cautionary tale about tech's influence. She is a member of other local writing groups: the Writers and Publishers Network and Ojai Poetry Series. Tamara enjoys reading, rollerblading, downhill skiing, boogie boarding, biking, tubing, kayaking, walking her dog, listening to podcasts, traveling, going to concerts, supporting causes, and finding common ground with a variety of people. She also likes making lists. Tamara appreciates this quote from Stephen King's memoir "On Writing": "You must not come lightly to the blank page."


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