I used to be inspired by humanity’s pursuit of perfection. Transcendentalism, minimalism, clean eating, paleo, local, hand-made…etc.
Now I am continually horrified at the pressure we put on ourselves and others to be perfect. Heres a funny video about this issue in parenting:
Major takeaway- someday you too will dump a salad in your purse!
Maybe not- but I would like to share my experience with battling perfectionism in homeschooling, mothering, and living. Before Princess Sophia, our first, was born, we swore to never let her near screens of any sort. We swore she’d never use a pacifier. We thought that we were better parents than that…We thought….well….we were wrong.
One day soon after becoming parents, we realized our may failings with a heavy burden of shame. Sophia loved her pacifier. We were too exhausted to do anything in the evenings other than watch televisions, and our lives revolved around our children. It was very unglamorous. It was not what we had aspired too. Imagine attending an artist reception for your best friend after having traveled for hours only to excuse yourself to breast pump. Parenting was not meeting my expectations.
And for that matter, I was not meeting my exception.
I didn’t make all the baby food. We didn’t sit down at the table for dinner and practice our use of specialised silverware and napkins. They weren’t learning ettiquette from our dinners. We weren’t modeling police discussions. Instead, we disagreed about grocery lists and other minutiae. I had failed to be perfect and it weighted heavily on me.
So I quit.
I embraced imperfection.
I let the kids eat instant macaroni and cheese while watching television. Not educational, enriching programs…total junk
And I felt…relieved. Safe. Okay. I had given up the idea that I could eve be perfect. No one can ever be perfect. My body is not perfect. My home is not perfect. My marriage is not perfect. My children are not perfect. And this is all okay. Liberating, in fact. I am allowed to be me. Beautifully, authentically, imperfectly, me. And so are you. Give yourself permission to live, love, make mistakes, be human, be lazy, and be real. You may actually do your children good by demonstrating that no one is perfect. Your children may learn that perfection is not necessary to deserve love. You are gauranteed to do good for your children by doing these things for yourself.
When I need a break, I let the kids watch TV. I let them make messes. If they bother me, I order them away or task them. It works with husbands, too. I hide in the kitchen with an iPad or computer and pretend to be busy wiping the counters when interrupted…(shhh! Don’t ruin my cover!)
I’d like to extend this forgiveness of imperfection to other things. Nail biting, an affinity for candy, celebrity gossip, and other mostly harmless but very real imperfections. What would happen if we accepted these flaws? Who would suffer? Could anyone ever suffer as much as we do, trying to make ourselves perfect for our families? So much of our perfectionist tendencies are in our minds. I see pictures of myself from years where I thought I was too fat, too thin, too…whatever. I see now that I was just right.
My daughter overheard me complaining about my body, although I try not to spread my body disapproval around. She told me that “for my job, my body was just right.” I asked her to clarify, and she explained that if I “was a supermodel” I would need to be more thin. But “for a mommy, you are just right.” She expressed concern that I would become too thin to cuddle! Because, “mommies should be soft.” Now, in my case, mommies are also ill-informed on world events, and often clumsy…maybe those are in the job description as well.
For today, I’ve decided to think that I’m good enough. For today, you are good enough, too.
(This post isn’t everything I want it to be. I’ll share it, anyways.)