Years ago I read a diet/healthy lifestyle book that I remember very little from…even the title. Must have been a great book, huh? Well, there is one thing that I do remember clearly from it that has impacted my life in such huge ways. It has changed the way I see the world and has allowed me to really put life in perspective.
It’s the 80/20 rule.
The author of this book states that we should never try to eat perfect 100% of the time. She made the case that most of us try for perfection, but no one is perfect. We set such a lofty goal of eating right 100% of the time and then, we always end up eating chocolate or an entire bag of chips. Afterwards, we feel like losers and failures and quit trying all together. We go back to our bad habits because there’s no point in trying if we can’t eat right 100% of the time.
To break this cycle, she suggested to eat right 80% of the time and allow yourself to eat treats the other 20%. Eat chocolate, ice cream, chips, whatever you like, but only do it for 20% of your diet. We’ll still be doing better than we were before and we’ll quit beating ourselves up for not being perfect.
So what does this have to do with parenting?
Well, what I take away from the 80/20 rule is that it’s impossible to be perfect because we are human. The goal is to do more good things than not so good things.
Give 80% more hugs than shoves.
Speak kindly 80% more than you yell.
Feed your kids 80% good foods than junk.
Give 80% more laughter, smiles, compliments, “I love you’s”.
Forgive yourself for that other 20%.
Let’s be honest, I try to be great 100% of the time. But, in the same breath, I understand that I’m human and that I mess up. Shoot, sometimes I mess up more than 20% of the time, and that’s ok too!
We follow the 80:20 rule for eating, I hadn’t thought of using it to parenting in general. Would allow me to release some of that pent up guilt, that’s for sure… 🙂
What great advice!
My friend had a therapist that told him something similar. I forget the break down of percentages the therapist gave but it was something like most of the time you will be an okay parent, some of the time you will be a great parent, and a little of the time you will be a bad parent.
When I get down about something I messed up on that advice makes me feel much better. Most of us as parents don’t like to share the times we really mess up, but it’s comforting to know that nobody is really perfect even if it is looks like another parent may have her stuff together.
oh i like this rule. it allows you to forgive yourself. Great post
I love the 80/20 rule thank you for sharing it! There are times when I feel bad about not giving or doing my very best for my child and it gives me a lot of stress. It make me feel like a failure. But I think parenting is a really complicated thing and there is no such thing as being a perfect parent. So yes, the other 20% helps me forgive myself in times when I feel like a failure.