Perfectionism’s downfall

Being a responsible first born and growing up in a family where success and ‘making a contribution’ were at the top of the importance list (which isn’t necessarily bad!), it’s no surprise to me that I’ve struggled all my life living under enormous pressure to be perfect.  Much of it I’ve heaped upon myself, all by myself.

Perfectionism is innately prideful, in my opinion, and says “I should be able to do all, and do ‘all’ well, all by myself”.  When I type it out it sounds utterly ridiculous.  But as it plays out and creeps up time and again in my life, it somehow holds tremendous weight.  I want to be independent, self-sufficient and capable enough to do the job right, whatever it may be.

Being a mother is ripping the grip of the facade of ‘perfect’ away, one painful piece at a time.  While I may have thought before I was rearing children that my life was fairly ideal and I had a pretty good grip on things, I certainly realize now that it isn’t and I don’t.

For me the great trap is believing that if I can’t do it perfect, I shouldn’t do it at all.

If I can’t work out 6 days a week at 6 AM then I shouldn’t even try.

Turns out doing a quick video workout at home is still better than nothing and my body thanks me for it.

If I can’t have a devoted and lengthy time of prayer and study then I should just forget the whole thing.

Well, to be honest I still feel like this sometimes but I’m coming to see that it’s actually a big cop-out.

If I can’t start the day with order and a somewhat clean home, then I should just forget cleaning entirely.

Despite the dread I feel waking up to a house disaster, I still am better off trying to get ahead throughout the day.

If I can’t eat foods that are more nourishing for me then I should just give up and eat cookies all day.

Turns out this mentality has kept me looking 5 months pregnant while my ‘baby’ is two years old, talk about flawed thought!

As a wise writer and speaker said so simply in January, “Work harder”.  No one else is going to exercise for me, make healthy food choices, hug my children for me, give honor to my husband or make more time for school/chores/cleaning/cooking.

Regardless of how great the mound of life is that is set before me, it is my life to live.  It is my responsibility, dare I say my privilege to live it out.  I may not feel like it today, or this month.  I may be in a bit of a funk.  I may be filled with doubt about things that I’ve always held to be true.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s this:

Life isn’t all about me.

I can do everything in my power to make my children do something and sometimes they still won’t do it.  They are after all their own little persons.

I can try to impart the truths and values that are important to me and then listen as my son answers the question ‘What is Easter all about?’ tonight with these few words ‘I have no idea.’  I could have died I was so embarrassed.

Despite multiple lessons in modesty, somehow my almost 4 year old still welcomes the UPS man at the front door while wearing absolutely no clothes.

One would think with the daily dose of humility I am offered in this life with little ones that I would maybe arrive at some great place of ‘letting go’.  While I truly have let go of much, there is still so much I hold onto…and for what?  I don’t really know.

Random thoughts I know, but since I’ve been blog-quiet for so long, that’s all I have to share tonight…


[…] before my kids come pouncing onto my bed to wake me up!).  But have lacked the guts to try, I just don’t want to fail.  Its just been a L-O-N-G seven months (did I already say that?).  I’m tired.  Like bone […]