Shattering the Perfect Family Myth

Before we go further together, you as readers and I as writer, I need to make an important clarification.

Rewind to 10 years ago, when our family unit was a family put together only by marriage and birth. Perhaps it’s tempting to think we were a sweet, giving, fairly typical family with few problems. Then we went on to adopt two children from foster care and now, while we love our adopted children very much, we deal with many challenges.

It doesn’t play like that.

The Typical Family

Our family was sweet, giving, and yes, fairly typical. Here’s the rub. “Fairly typical” does not mean with few problems. “Fairly typical” means problems all over the place.

Fairly typical might mean a family is better at hiding them. It might mean deciding not to seek out resources for help or not discussing the help that is sought. But I don’t believe for a second any typical family escapes the problems of life any more or less than I do.

If you read this blog and think, “I need to quit complaining. My kids are healthy. I don’t have issues like that.” Stop it. Hard is hard is hard. You just have a different type of hard from mine, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult to manage. Give yourself some compassion.

Our adopted children give us a whole huge bundle of challenges and so do our children by birth. Mike and I walked into creating this family with our own clutter and cluelessness too. There are days my so called “special needs” children sit back quietly watching the world go by, while my children by birth give me such a run for my money, they are lucky they are genetically tied to me. It’s only the embarrassment of seeing my own facial expressions mirrored back at me that stops me from saying something completely ridiculous like, “That’s it, I’m taking away your TV for a whole month!” (As if! That would be more torture for me than it would be for them.) Not to mention the times I’ve said and done things I truly regret as a parent, and there are plenty of those to go around.

Between the five of us in our family who supposedly do not have “special needs,” we have ADD, depression, anxiety, perfectionism, learning issues, medical problems, and eating disorders. We have fighting, drama, tempter tantrums, denial, and plain old every day sibling rivalry — which to tell the truth might be what drives this mother to insanity the fastest.

I don’t say this to air our family’s dirty laundry. I did that more literally here. Kiersten asked, “Really, Mom, did you have to show our dirty laundry on the internet for all the world to see? I offered that she could be in charge of laundry from now on, so I wouldn’t have any pictures of it to post, and strangely that ended the discussion.

There is No Perfect Family.

Here are my reasons for sharing.

There is no perfect family. Not your neighbor down the street with the gorgeous lawn and perfect decorating. Not your best friend who seems to have it so totally together all the time. Not the picture of your kids or your marriage you have in your mind that you are constantly striving for and continually frustrated that you are not attaining. We are sinful people living in a broken world.

Our hope is not in ourselves or our skill in attempting to get it right. Our hope is in a Savior who has already paid the price for us.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Romans 3:23,24

Do you sometimes feel frustrated that others seem to have the perfect family and you don’t?