My son, Locke, got a pair of Cars pajamas from his grandma for his 2nd birthday last week. He adores all things Cars.
It took me back to a time when my older son, Crew, was also obsessed with Cars. He had a pair of Cars pajamas that he wore every day too. I remembered a imperfectly perfect parenting moment I had around those Cars pajamas.
I was 8 months pregnant with Croft and I had to give a talk in church one Sunday morning at 9 am. I had to wake Crew up to get him ready for church. He was tired and grouchy and didn’t appreciate the early wake-up. As I tried to take off his Cars pajamas, he kicked and screamed and thrashed about. He was a big kid for his age and I couldn’t coax him out of those jammies, plus he had kicked my pregnant tummy one too many times. It was nearing time to leave and I could not be late because I was speaking.
It was time to make a choice. The way that I saw it, I had 2 options:
1. I maybe could have forced him out of the pajamas with great physical effort and probably some yelling. Although I am not sure my pregnant body could have done it. But I am pretty sure the Spirit would have left and I would have been frazzled as I left for church. Not to mention what my hair and clothes would have looked like by the end of the struggle. (Remember I am speaking in front of hundreds of people. I gotta look good.)
2. I could let him wear his Cars pajamas to church and avoid a confrontation. We could be on time and I could be calm and still have the Spirit with me as I spoke.
Well, you guessed it. I gave up on the fight and let him wear his Cars pajamas to church. He was happy, we were on time, and I nailed my talk (and I looked as good as an 8-month pregnant Tiffany can look).
After Sacrament Meeting, I walked down to the bench and changed Crew into the church clothes I brought. Since Crew was awake and calmed down by this point, there was no fighting and no yelling. He happily went to Nursery in church clothes and he hasn’t worn pajamas again to church since.
As I left the chapel, a friend said to me, “I was so glad to see Crew in his pajamas… Now I know you aren’t perfect.”
My response outloud was “I could have the Spirit, with a boy in pajamas, or I could have contention, with a boy in church clothes. I opted for the Spirit.”
As she left I thought, “Actually, the fact that I could let my kid go to church in his pajamas knowing there would be stares and judgement makes me even more perfect.”
And I believe that. It is in those seemingly “imperfect” parenting moments that we are actually being the most “perfect” parents.