So You Want to Be the Perfect Parent ...

When Parenting Isn't Perfect

Perfection is the enemy of parenting.

As the President of Focus on the Family, Jim Daly sees and hears from mothers and fathers like you trying hard to pursue perfection. They listen to the best experts and read all the right books. When someone gives them a “World’s Best Mom” or “No. 1 Dad” coffee mug, they want it to be true.

It’s admirable for you to want to be the very best mom or dad you can be. But sometimes in so doing, you can leave grace behind—both for yourself and your children. Jim believes that a quest for perfection can lead one to become a Pharisaical parent, quoting endless rules and holding everyone to impossible standards.

When Parenting Isn’t Perfect won’t be a catalyst for becoming the perfect family. But it will point the way toward a good family—one that feels safe and warm; one filled with love and laughter.

Let this book encourage you to embrace the messiness of parenthood and show grace to yourself and your own less-than-ideal children.




New York Times bestselling
author of Have a New Kid by Friday

"Jim Daly has done a great job in reminding parents that perfection is not only unattainable but harmful in the journey of parenting. God’s grace is available in abundance for good reason: we all need it. Perfectionism is slow suicide!"



licensed marriage and family therapist,
author, and executive director of
The Fatherhood Commission

“This book is long overdue. Many moms and dads today are beating themselves up because they are not perfect. This book shows parenting for what it is—imperfect. It highlights the beauty of imperfection and lets parents off the hook,
so that they can focus on the tangible truths and realities of parenting.
A must-read for every parent.”



former president of Catalyst
and author of H3 Leadership and The Catalyst Leader

"In When Parenting Isn’t Perfect, Jim has written a book that all parents, regardless of their season of life, are and will be high-fiving about, since they all know it’s true: perfect parenting is just not possible."



president of the National Hispanic Christian
Leadership Conference (NHCLC)

“In this incredibly timely book, Jim Daly offers a much-needed shot of grace to stressed-out parents everywhere and reminds all of us that messy is often perfectly okay, and even beautiful, in God’s eyes. When Parenting Isn’t Perfect is an absolute must-read for families everywhere.”


Jim Daly is president and CEO of Focus on the Family and host of its National Radio Hall of Fame–honored daily broadcast, heard by more than 6.3 million listeners a week on more than 1,200 radio stations across the U. S. and by 85 million listeners worldwide.

Daly’s personal journey from orphan to head of an international Christian organization dedicated to helping families thrive is a powerful story. Abandoned by his alcoholic father at age five, Daly lost his mother to cancer four years later—a wound deepened when his grieving stepfather emptied the family home and took off with almost everything while Daly, the youngest of five children, and his siblings were at their mother’s funeral. After being in foster care, Daly became a Christian in high school and found meaning, purpose, and a sense of belonging.

Daly has received the 2008 World Children’s Center Humanitarian Award, the 2009 Children’s Hunger Fund Children’s Champion Award, and the 2010 HomeWord Family Ministry Award. His blog, “Daly Focus,” appears online at

Daly is the author of six books: Marriage Done Right, The Good Dad, ReFocus, Stronger, Finding Home, and When Parenting Isn’t Perfect. He and his wife, Jean, have two children and live in Colorado Springs.

Paul Asay is an award-winning journalist who wrote about religion for The Gazette in Colorado Springs. He has been published by such outlets as The Washington Post, Christianity Today, Time, and

The author of God on the Streets of Gotham, Asay is a senior associate editor at Plugged In, a ministry that reaches more than six million people with movie reviews that help people understand popular cultural trends and how they intersect with spiritual issues.

His particular interest is the unexpected ways faith and media intersect. He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Wendy, and their two children.