"Do we have to listen to the news?" Fiona asked as we headed home after a playdate. It is a common question in the car. I like to listen to the news in the car when I get a chance, but Fiona isn't all that interested. Normally, I try to listen to the news for a few minutes and then engage her in a discussion about what was on.

The story that was just starting was Learning To Embrace Mess And Chaos Through Yoga about Claire Dederer and her new book, Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses. She spoke about trying to be the perfect Seattle Mom.

"You had to eat organic food, breastfeed your baby – well, at least 'til it could talk. [You had to] carry your child in a sling; strollers were completely banned."

The NPR story goes on to say, "yoga was part of the plan: Do the poses and become a perfect, calm, contented mother." To me, it sounded a bit like the Stepford Ashram. The author talked about measuring up against her own mother in an effort to provide the best possible upbringing for her children. Then, it took a much needed twist.

Dederer says,

What I found instead was that I would sort of fall down and be a mess and sweat ... and that it was fine. And so yoga really ended up teaching me about loosening up and getting away from some of this perfectionism

This is what resonated with me, trying to get in touch with my own imperfect. Catholics go to confession as part of staying in touch with their imperfection. Others focus on human's sinfulness as part of their theology, again returning to imperfection.

Yet these days, it seems as if we are further and further from being able to admit our own shortcomings. Politicians only seem to be able to admit their shortcomings when forced to through some scandal. Friends post Facebook statuses about how great everything is, when really it isn't all that great. Many of the bloggers I see online seem to fall into the same thing. The image is reenforced on television when the only place for shortcomings is for the villian or to provide a comic interlude.

So, how can we confront our own shortcomings? Perhaps falling down and being a sweaty mess is part of it. Admitting that we aren't always charitable to the people around us may be part of it. Letting go of the idea that we have to offer better opportunities to our children than others do may be part of it. I know I'm not perfect. I don't always show the kindness I should to the people around us.

On the other hand, presenting our imperfections may actually be part of providing our children with the opportunities they need. It can bring humor and humanity.

It would be very interesting to see how our political dialogs would change if they were based on a recognition of our common imperfections. Perhaps, it would move us past a condescending, "There, but for the grace of God go I" to a deeper understanding that the Governor of Wisconsin and a homeless man really aren't very different.

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