Perfect parent syndrome - Kinderling Conversations

Listen in! I found myself on the Kinderling Kids Radio The Parent Panel this morning. We were talking all things imposter syndrome (because parents have that these days too), kids with perfectionism (who may or may not be the product of a perfect parent) and Shakespeare. It was a riot!

You can listen in here:

The programme host, Shevonne Hunt is an absolute doll and she has the BEST voice. I told her today that she should be on television reading the nightly news. If Shev was reading the news, we’d know all was right with the world. (Oh, and a little shout out for Cold Chisel’s Ita is very fitting here… you’ll know why once you listen to the podcast!!).

My fellow guest, Matt Baseley is a presenter on Channel 7’s Sydney Weekender and stay-at-home dad to two smalls (with another almost on the way). Lovely guy!

Other The Parent Panel appearances: 

Bye bye working parent guilt
High school is when not holding kids back really bites


Perfectionism and imposter syndrome

Two of the topics we talked about at length were perfectionism in kids, and imposter syndrome in mums. For me, these two kind of go hand-in-hand, because surely imposter syndrome is born out of all of us thinking we need to be perfect at all times? And therefore is it any wonder that our kids think they need to be perfect too?

I’m not sure when we started all of this nonsense.

Perfect parent syndrome - Kinderling ConversationsI don’t feel like I need to be perfect. I don’t even know what perfect is. When someone tells me that they feel like they need to be ‘the perfect parent’, here’s my response:

“I’ll worry about being a perfect parent when I have perfect children.”

My kids don’t need to be perfect, and nor do I. Being real, being true, being open and authentic are far more important to good parenting than being ‘perfect’. Our kids need to see us fail with good grace; they need to see that losing, making mistakes, outright fucking things up, is okay.

We don’t have to be perfect

We can go into the world knowing that we don’t have to match up to any ideal or expectation. That we are valued and loved, no matter the outcomes. Shrug off what we think ‘society’ wants from us and ask ourselves what we want, and our kids need, instead. Perhaps then we won’t feel so much like a ‘frauds’.

More on this here: To be a good mum, you’ve got to raise yourself first


Imposter syndrome is a complex psychological issue that I’m not qualified to delve into (some good information here), but I do know this: life isn’t about being ‘perfect’, it’s about being real. We’re never going to be ‘found out’ for being real, for giving things a go, for asking for help.

Win or lose, the effort is often the same

It’s critical that we are just as open with our kids about our failings and flaws, as our wins and our wonderfuls. We need to teach them that nothing is ever ‘perfect’. There are good jobs and bad jobs, but the effort is often the same, and the effort is really the most important thing.

I’ll leave you with my mum’s very wise words (that to this day she doesn’t remember saying to me, but have always been my favourite thing she taught me, go figure): “The only thing you have to be perfect at is trying.”

Have a listen to the podcast and let me know what you think.

Bron Maxabella


Bron is the founder of Mumlyfe and is so happy to welcome you here.

Bron has been writing in the Australian parenting space as Maxabella for more than seven years and is mum to three mostly happy kids and wife to one mostly happy husband. Mostly happy is a win, right?


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