Yesterday, I experienced Practice makes Prepared…and ended up having a “perfect” outing, despite the rain and the sweat!

Prepared not Perfect while biking in Paris

Yesterday was decreed “No-car-day” in Paris.  We live outside of the city and usually drive in for church on Sundays.

Instead, I bicycled into town.

In my 30 years of living in Paris, this marks the fourth day of my cycling adventures in the city.  Three of them were on no-car days and the other was at 1:30 a.m. (Don’t ask.) Enough to have learned from past experiences (mistakes) and to be prepared to fully enjoy this ride.

I (kind of) had a checklist.


  • Bike & lock
  • Helmet
  • Shoes for biking
  • Extra shoes to look chic
  • Pants that worked for BOTH sports AND fashion
  • Bag to manage the transition between my two “looks”

…and felt ready to roll.

The list was far from perfect.

Under the light drizzle, I would have done better with a waterproof jacket.  Jean jackets get wet…and so do the bodies wearing them.  Learning for next time.

I got lost.  Upon returning home I downloaded the Paris bike-route app.

Not Perfect.  Still wonderful.  And way better than before.

Prepared or Perfect in Parenting?

What are our expectations as parents? 

Truth be told, for many years I expected close-to-perfection from my kids.  These reflected some of the messages I had assimilated, and without thinking, was transmitting to my children.

  • Do it right the first time around
  • I said it once. Five minutes ago.  It should be done by now.
  • Act your age (meaning “Act like an adult!!”)
  • Do as I say…and follow the good examples of what I do
    (and ignore the bad examples)
  • Know what I mean, even when I don’t explain it

But I missed enjoying my children and feeling that home was sweet.

Hummm.  Either I would have to change my hopes (happy with kids) or change my demand for idealized behavior.

In this vulnerable, question-filled mindset, I became aware of alternative messages from a wide variety of “philosophers”

Practice makes prepared to learn from mistakes.  Prepared to grow.

Prepared to plan ahead.  Prepared to be intentional.

Prepared to be creative.

Prepared to do the best you can no matter what comes your way…with the confidence there will probably be a next time when you can do even better.

Kids Prefer Prepared over Perfect

This paradigm shift in my mind translated into allowing the children to be responsible for their mistakes (so what will you do about it?) AND their successes (You must be proud of yourself).

Here’s what it sounds like at our dinner table:

Before – when I was expecting perfection –

Child (with mouth full): “Today…”

Me: “The table is a place for pleasant conversation and good manners.  Please speak when you finished chewing.”

In my search for perfection, I interrupted their creativity and zest for learning!!! Agghhh!

Now – when I am learning about preparation –

Me: “Guys, I am so disappointed in myself…” and I shared about how a professional opportunity slipped by and what that mishap is teaching me to do differently.

Later that week, as I was leaving for work, my lackadaisical son piped up, “Don’t miss an opportunity today, Mom.  Look out for it and go for it!”

My son is getting prepared for life through my imperfections!

Will you let go of perfection for your children to gain their preparation for life?

Will you let go of perfection for your children to gain their preparation for life? Click to Tweet

Everyone wins.  Ready to roll?!

Cover photo from LeParisien 2016 Journée Sans Voiture Paris



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