What motherhood has taught me about being a perfectionist

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


The toughest lesson that motherhood has presented and that I have tried desperately to keep far from me - is that perfectionism does not apply.

I want every item in my home to have a place and be in its place. How practical is that really when having children? I've always enjoyed homes that look like homes and not a museum in dedication to one's sense of style - where children don't even seem to exist in the house.

I'm not sure that every item has been in it's place at any one time throughout my motherhood experience.

In college, I prided myself for getting my to-do list accomplished. Now, it grows without end. More items are added than are ever crossed off. That's okay. My children having my attention is far more important than finishing a project that won't matter in the future. My attentiveness will.

My children's rooms are very lived in. My son's imagination soars and it is difficult to ever pass a toy on to another child - as he uses everything for something. He is forever building forts, stores, etc,... in his room.

My daughter is always creating something new. Necklaces. Artwork. Potholders.

My furniture and home aren't what I had always imagined my perfect home to be.

Now when I say my perfect home - I do mean that every corner was scrubbed and dusted. Drawers organized once a month. No hair left in hairbrushes or combs. Tooth brushes scrubbed and kept clean during the 3 months you were allowed to keep it. Bathroom cleaned daily.

Trying to have a home that qualifies for a home decor magazine while raising little ones - is just too much. At some point, reality has to set in.

Every time I turn around, there is a new glob of toothpaste on the bathroom sink.

There is a tiny hand print on the wall.

Cracker crumbs seem to appear as if out of no where all around my kitchen table.

My feet are slowly becoming Hot Wheel and Lego proof.

Savannah denies writing her name on furniture and underneath the table.

Joey has placed tape on every wall of the house.

My home is filled with the love of children.

Yes, there are a few rooms that must remain organized, like our homeschool classroom and the kitchen. Yet, these rooms seem to always be in a state of reorganization as items in them change constantly.

I look back on early motherhood and the years prior to it. Perfectionism dominated. Whether it was my clothes, my body/weight or workspace... it had to be perfect. How overbearing and annoying. Thank you to anyone who remained a friend.

I was recently in a situation where I had the pleasure of experiencing a perfectionist personality who repeatedly {and out loud} reminded herself that the way I was doing something was okay. It was okay that I hadn't done it how she thought it should be done. A very peculiar situation to say the least. Yet, she was seeing that her way - didn't equal the only and right way.

The perfectionist in me still struggles to want and fight for her way.  Maybe she will one day rage again.  But for now, my kids leaving a drawer open - is okay.  Every toy does not have to be put away at night and kids jumping from one toy to another is fine - that's how the imagination works.  Crayon on the floor?  Big deal!   At least it isn't in the dryer - again.