The myth of the perfect family?


On the  17th of October 2016, police broke into a home in a middle class suburb of Sydney, Australia's largest city to find the bodies of a family—mother, father and their two young children. They also found the body of the family dog. The police have stated that they are not looking for any suspects and believe the father killed the family (it is unknown at this stage if the mother was aware of his plans). In the newspaper articles following the discovery, those who knew the family said they were "loved", a "much valued family in the community" and the mother was bright, cheery, a "rock",  happy, heavily involved in the school her two children attended. They appeared to be the perfect family.  Even with two severely disabled children, the mother was considered strong and determine and doing a great job. 


NO family is ever perfect and every family will experience challenges, trials, troubles and more. 

None of us want to admit to others that our family is far from perfect. Instead we put on a mask and appearing happy and able, when behind the scenes, family life is anything but. We pretend our family is perfect because to admit anything else is a sign of failure. Thanks to the glossy magazines and now many bloggers (who like to tell us about their "perfect families"), many women are feeling less the adequate about their parenting skills which for some leads to resentment and negative thoughts, the feeling of failure. Women (mothers and wives) need to drop their masks and share with others the truth rather than continue this lie of "happy families". 


I knew a woman who kept on telling me how perfect her daughter was, how smart, how clever, how pretty. My son, who was the same age, was a bit naughty, a bit silly at times, struggled with learning and I hated to listen to her go on and on about her beautiful daughter—what was I going to say, that my son had difficulties and was struggling at school. I was embarrassed that I didn't have the perfect child. Fortunately we moved and I never saw this woman again—my son has done really well, he is married to a beautiful girl,  he has succeeded in his work, he still struggles a bit and can be very silly. He is far from perfect, but his MY son and love him just the way he is. 

We all do our very best and to be honest, sometimes our very best can go pear shaped. 

We need to be honest with ourselves and stop comparing our families and our children with anyone else. We should not and must not measure our families with any other families and continually search for the "ideal family" model, we are all different and that perfectly ok. If we continue to do this, it will be destructive to our families as they will never live up to our expectations. 

Some families have far more troubles than others and it isn't because they are inadequate, but life is like that, the bible makes it clear that our journey will not be smooth sailing. Let’s refrain from trying to become that perfect family, but instead become the family that God intended us to become. Our desire is to please the Lord.

For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12)

God knows that NONE of us are perfect and NONE of us should be boasting that we are. When you read your bible you will find many examples of individuals and families that were far from perfect —only God is perfect.  We are a work in progress "That He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6) and God is still working on us. 

All families will experience struggles and failures. 

However, these struggles are meant to send us to the only One who can help—our Lord Jesus Christ. As we go through the difficulties in life, He wants us to go to Him with these struggles, because He is the answer to our problems. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Don't look at your struggles as failures, look at them as lessons that will bring you closer to the Lord Jesus Christ, if we were perfect we might wander away from Christ because we wouldn't need Him. 

Look for the best in family members and praise those qualities. 



Comments

  1. I will never forget a girlfriend told me, you have the perfect family. I was shocked to hear this. I never considered our family perfect.
    My husband was an alcoholic, my daughter was bulimic, our son was painfully shy and our dog, when he got loose, would terrorize the neighborhood.
    I can't say we hid anything. We just kept it to ourselves.
    If I could go back, I'd be more truthful about my husband and daughter's trials. As it turns out, there were many who had similar trials.

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    Replies
    1. We hide so many secrets as families and i can understand why, I do the same - however we create expectations to young families who want to have families "just like us" and they of course are only seeing an imagine that we are very good at creating. We do need to be more honest with our closest female friends, in particular our younger female friends.

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  2. This is a really important topic. As the mother of a son with a severe disability, I can vouch for the fact that one does try very hard to present a picture of normality, for fear of social isolation. Only by being as 'normal' as we can be, do we hope to fit in to the perfect family picture. Similar to Christine, I was accustomed to hearing how 'inspirational' we were, how we were to be admired for being so strong. And really, we were just falling apart behind closed doors. Thank goodness for my wonderful husband, and a strong family network. That is how we survived. What a terrible, sad outcome for this particular family. Heartbreaking. Mimi xxx

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    Replies
    1. I have done it myself, seen a family with a child with a disability and thought the much was an inspiration with out much thought about what I was saying. The fact is, so many families are hiding secrets, some worse than others and we need to be far more open and honest as women so new mums don't feel they need to match some sort of level of excellences. We also need to admit to ourselves that is ok to stumble and fall and fail from time to time - and that we are weak humans that is in need of Gods endless strength.

      The story of the family that died is heart breaking and I wondering if people knew the truth it would have saved them.

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  3. I was just having a conversation with my friend about this very subject. Comparing myself and my family to others is a daily temptation. With social media everywhere these days it seems comparison is easier than ever. Deep inside I know social media doesn't show the whole picture of someone's life but it's still tempting to compare and wonder why I can't have this and that or be like so and so, etc.. Comparison causes me to be unsatisfied and ungrateful for the gifts God has given me.

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    Replies
    1. I try very hard to not make comparisons but it is so easy to slip into the habit and as you say, it causes dissatisfaction and unhappiness but we still do it. We just need to keep reminding ourselves that behind doors there is no such things as the perfect family, everyone has their problems.

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  4. How true! None of us have perfect families.

    I hope you can stop by:

    http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2016/11/happy-homemaker-monday-112816.html

    Colletta

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  5. You bring up some really important points in your post. Not only our non of us perfect, our families arn't either. I heard it once said you can't comepare your blooper reel (and we all have one) to someone else's highlight reel. Good post on an important topic!

    God bless,
    Patty

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  6. Thank you so much for this article; it is so very easy to think or believe other families are perfect and wonder what we are doing wrong, but as you stated, none of us and none of our families are perfect, we are all sinners and broken, only Christ is perfect, and nothing we do will make us or our families perfect on this earth; we're all in together, it's time we banned together and started supporting one another rather than comparing ourselves to each other resulting in tearing down our own families and our friendships .. good good article, thank you so much, from an imperfect mother and mimi

    ReplyDelete

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