For most of my life I have been a perfectionist. I can’t deny it, nor hide it. I’ve accepted it as a double edge sword. Depending on the day, it works for me, and sometimes it works against me. When I became a mother, I learned that trying to be a perfectionist was driving me crazy.
There were several instances where I’d have the perfect day in mind. I’d wake up that morning. I’d make the perfect breakfast. My son would eat his breakfast without any problems. We’d get dressed for the day. We’d run errands. We’d eat lunch and take an amazing nap.
But instead what happens…I’d wake up late. I won’t have time to make breakfast, so cereal it is. However, my son decides today that he doesn’t want cereal and fusses because he wants oatmeal in the red bowl. My son refuses to sit still so I can get him dressed. Therefore, it is now a wrestling match. And when he’s finally dressed, he decides in that moment to poop. We’d run errands. But now, he doesn’t want to leave and has the biggest tantrum ever. He’s cranky, but for some reason refuses to settle for a nap.
That isn’t the way I had hoped my perfect day would be.
I would feel overwhelmed. I would feel frustrated. I would feel angry with myself for even thinking that this is how the day would be. But being this perfectionist and expecting the day to run so smoothly was already setting such high expectations for my eighteen-month-old son. How dare I put that amount of pressure on my little one to make it through a day without any hiccups? How would this impact him as he gets older?
I knew that in order for me to enjoy the time I have with my son, I had to kick that perfection out the window and just relax. I know. That’s frustrating to hear even as a perfectionist. But it’s true.
I remember one time I wanted to take my little one over to a friend’s house. She hadn’t seen him in a while. I stared at my son and realized that his hair was pretty matted. I wanted to comb his hair before heading out. So I struggled with getting him to sit still long enough for me to comb his hair. Let’s just say, he was having no part of it. I was frustrated because I wanted him to look so cute. I wanted him to look perfect. But, it was getting the best of me, and I didn’t even want to go out anymore. Eventually, I fought against my desire to make him look perfect. Forget the hair. Let’s just go.
I’ve learned to take things one step at a time and refrain from placing such high standards on everything in my day. I’m able to see how one thing goes on to determine how the next thing may likely turn out. Instead of perfectly planning out my entire day, how about I just see how my morning starts? How about I just see how my son is feeling first?
I’ve adopted my own personal mantra to get me through my moments where I want everything to be perfect. If it isn’t hurting my son, if it isn’t hurting my husband, and if it isn’t hurting me…it’s OKAY!