If you're a perfectionist, it's too easy to get caught up in routine, structure and rigidity. If you're a perfectionist, it's easy to miss the moments because your focus is elsewhere. If you're a perfectionist, it's easy to become frustrated and annoyed because things aren't 'right'. (If you're a perfectionist, it will take you forever to write this blog post, because you're not happy with it!)
I should know. I am one.
Sometimes I've been so intent on organisation and having things 'right' that I've left little room for anyone to breathe (or make mistakes) - I've caused a lot of angst and I've missed out on moments in front of me because I've been focused on having things a certain way. At times I've become so caught up in trying to achieve 'perfect', that the fun and enjoyment have been sucked right out of my role as a mother. I've lived in a vacuum where I've felt I've needed to have things meet a certain standard before I'd be happy.
I'm a routine-oriented person, and as such have always needed a solid routine to feel that I was managing. But if my routine ever became out of whack, I would feel out of control and like a failure. I was never happy enough, despite my best intentions to do things the 'right' way, because I felt there was always room for improvement.
While perfectionism can have its benefits, it can also create a lot of tension. When I can't meet expectations that I've placed upon myself I get stressed. And I generally take that stress out on the closest thing, which unfortunately for the most part, is my family. When I place my (sometimes unrealistic) expectations on my kids, they feel pressure to perform. When I place emphasis on neat, clean and orderly - rather than play, quality time and fun, then my children align value with superficiality and appearance, rather than the importance of relationships.
I don't want to be the perfectionist control freak parent. I don't want to be the parent who stresses because things aren't done a certain way or by a certain time. I want to be the parent who doesn't sweat the small stuff - because in the bigger scheme of things, sometimes the smaller things just don't matter so much.
- Small things like - having baked beans for dinner (again) because I was too busy jumping on the trampoline with the kids to cook dinner.
- Small things like - not reading to the kids in a couple of days because we have been out late.
- Small things like - allowing Miss 2 to wear her pj's to school drop-off because she refused to get changed, and this mummy just wasn't in the mood for negotiating.
- Small things like - skipping bath time because the kids were playing nicely together.
I'm learning to let go of perfectionism. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm realising and accepting that: a) there is no such thing as perfect; b) I will continue to feel frustrated if I don't change my attitude; c) my family will bear the brunt of that frustration and d) I need to see things from the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is that some things aren't worth the worry.
In creating a calm home environment, I'm learning to set the bar a bit lower - choosing to let go of things and not let them affect me so much. Choosing to accept that my best is good enough.
I want to be the type of parent that can let go and live.
If you would like to join in with 30 Days to Create Calm, grab the button from the sidebar. You can link in to share what works for you in creating calm, as well as commenting on facebook.
Also linking up with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.