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As I sip my afternoon cup of coffee, I glance around to see my living room in all its messy glory. There’s leftover snacks on the end table. A doll car at my feet. My husband’s shoes are in the same place they landed when he kicked them off last night. The sofa is for once, surprisingly, not covered in last week’s art projects but I don’t even want to think about the “trail mix” that’s under it! This scene is probably expected considering that I’m a mother.
But what if I told you I was a perfectionist? Would you believe me? Or would you laugh in my face because after all, a true perfectionist would have a spotless home despite of her three children.
But believe me. I’m a perfectionist. You see, I had the luxury of growing up alone and getting to do things MY way. This let me cultivate some pretty strong perfectionism qualities. Need more proof? Somewhere buried deep in the depths of my mother’s basement there are pictures in which ever strand of hair in my bangs are equally spaced and sprayed in place. You could also probably find evidence of my graduating college Summa Cum Laude. My childhood toys still have lots of life left in them and any that are broken, met their fate at the hands of my children (little savages!).
But as with any good story, this one has a plot twist. In my case, his name is Marshall and I stole his last name. He’s far from perfect but somehow has perfectly taught me the beauty in letting go, loosening up and going with the flow. Because of him, I, now, consider myself a recovering perfectionist. I’m learning to embrace this crazy unplanned adventure we’re living together and am beyond thankful this man came into my life!
Still though, in my dreams, my house is spotless. My kids wear perfectly coordinated clothes and never get dirty. I never yell, I read to my kids all day and plan elaborate craft projects. And I always cook delicious, organic meals that everyone eats and loves every last bite. I’m a size 8 and have a well toned body that doesn’t even hint to its history of growing three humans. I have lots of friends and we all take turns planning perfect parties in our perfectly maintained gardens. I also enjoy every moment I spend with my husband and can’t wait until he retires so we can spend every moment of every day together.
This is not reality! And if you are still living in the world of trying to be a perfectionist, you’re only setting yourself up for a life of disappointment and self-loathing. Perfectionism is not about your success in doing things perfectly. It’s about equating your self-worth with your failure to live up to your own ridiculous standards. Oh, mama, you are so much more than your success and failures.
We live in a world of social media. Our world is bigger. We have more people to compare ourselves to and people have more opportunity to white wash their own realities. Even outside of social media, we tend to only show the world our best selves. This hypocritical existence leads to judgement, unhappiness and sometimes down right cattiness among other moms who are walking this same journey as we are.
I say we do something crazy and start a revolution! Let’s start being real with each other. How about we support each other instead of tear each other down? What if you started owning who you are, that perfectly imperfect woman that you are? Free yourself from your own ridiculous standards because I promise you, the rest of us truly don’t care about the beautiful mess that is you, my dear. Stand tall, sweet sister, take my hand and let’s be recovering perfectionists together!