Thursday, May 23, 2013

Perfectionism: my disease?

This is what prompted me to blog. Ever since I saw it yesterday I've had a nagging feeling I needed to write.

This is true in so many ways, and as I put on my Facebook, it should read more like "All of us can't look good, it's the humans or the house." In my perfectionism I have to make sure people realize my family is part of me, and how they look and act seems to be a reflection on my abilities as a wife and mother.
I've been a perfectionist my whole life. Jer's been working with me since we got married, however, to make allowances for myself for not being 'perfect enough', or striving so much for perfection that it causes me ridiculous stress, especially when things aren't 'just so'. Learning to be ok when I don't have control has been difficult, especially with our unexplained infertility. I don't have what I expected for a 'perfect family' or a 'perfectly working body', but it has to be ok because I have no control over it.
Back to the meme... the looking good encompasses so many things in my mind, this isn't about me being superficial. Laundry done: to have clean clothes to look presentable. Dishes done: so we can eat food to stay healthy and strong. Exercise: to be healthy for my family and attractive for my husband. Clean(ish) bathrooms: so we can get clean and ready for the day in a clean setting. Weeded front yard: so we have a presentable looking house, even if it is just on the surface. Clean(ish) kitchen: so we can have a clean place to get our food. Doing all of these things takes time and energy, some things (maybe a lot) fall to the wayside on occasion.
The clutter and the crumbs, the sticky spots and the piles of toys mean someone lives here and has a busy life. It has to. If I were my friend I'd give allowances for her not having the 'perfect house' because both parents work and there's a busy 3 year old living there. If it were spic and span (where did that phrase even come from?) all the time then I'd be impressed, but think to myself 'how is that even possible? This can't be normal or healthy'.
I'm doing the best I can, but I'm extremely hard on myself. I don't have dinner ready every night for my family, I don't have a spic and span house, I don't have the energy to go on adventures every day with my daughter. BUT (this is something Jer keeps pounding into my head) I work (and get tired easily, as well as having a weaker immune system), we have a 3 year old (who is a master mess maker and can't clean too many things yet), Jer is in school (and as many people know, the king of creating clutter and piles of stuff). I HAVE to give myself allowances.

But then, my perfectionism starts in on me (in a nasty tone, of course)... '"Your house should be cleaner, you don't have as many kids as everyone else, you don't work as much as some people. You should have dinner ready every night, why can't you even do that-it's not THAT hard. You should take your daughter out to do something almost every day, you're being a lame, bad parent for not. You should have the backyard perfect as well as the front yard, just because you have weak wrists doesn't mean you can't take care of it. Jer works too, why can't you get EVERYTHING done ALL the time, you're home anyway." I could continue, but you get the point.
It's mean, right? I look at that and think 'I would NEVER talk (or think those things) to anyone else like that, why am I so rude and judgmental to myself?'
So, every day, I struggle. Some days the perfectionism wins and I feel awful, and some days being nice to myself and making allowances wins. I'm not perfect, and that's ok.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think having a home that is perfect isn't indicative of trying hard or having a good life. I clean my house really well when people are coming over or are staying over. Other than that the house is still pretty clean, but not as perfect as when someone is coming over. So I get this post perfectly! A dirty house bugs me so much, until I remember that I have a beautiful wife and handsome son that make me happy.