Perfectionism: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable
especially : the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness
(From the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary)
Anyone else struggle with this? Before having kids, I didn't really realize I was a perfectionist. I felt like I was able to let a lot of things go, and not worry too much. After having children, I realized that in my previous life, I was able to compartmentalize. I was a perfectionist in English, but could let Math go, for example.
As a mom, there are no such easy compartments; all of life runs together in a yucky, sticky, impossible mess. And my latent perfectionism kicks in.
I want the perfect home for our family, the perfectly mannered kids, the perfect amount of patience, the perfect temper, the perfect schedule, the perfect chore system, the perfect homeschool, the perfect.....
You get it.
Things get even more twisted and difficult when we open our lives to other people, inviting comment. I have a hard time taking criticism anyway (though I am growing thicker skin). I had reached a balance in my life; my house was by no means perfect, but I felt at peace with what I did in this season.
Recently, though, I received a criticism about my homemaking abilities. In response, over the past few weeks, I've found myself pushing limits of sanity and physical ability to keep up with what I imagine this person's expectation to be. I try to let it go, I do. But, everyone time I decide to stop, I hear a little voice telling me it's not good enough.
So, here's the thing, a new sacrifice for Lent, if you will. I'm going to fight for that balance again, the kind of balance Hubby and I decide on, not friends or family. I was going to take part in Project:Simplify over at Simple Mom. I pulled out all the kids' toys and clothes this morning to get to work.
Simplifying is good; maintaining high standards is also a good thing. But, in so many ways, I'm addicted to perfectionism. Perhaps right now, in all this upheaval, isn't the best time. So what will I do instead? Hmmm, I think I'll sit down, pull a kid into my lap with a book, and watch the mess pile up.
Now THAT sounds perfect.
I'm linking today with Ann.