Letting Go Of Perfect

Over the course of any given day, I forget approximately 1,419 things. I remember twice as many things (mostly from the day before) and I follow through on lots of things, but I still manage to not get around to a lot more things than I do get around to. I am the queen of feeling like I am coming up short

Over the course of any given day, I have worked, I have played, I have refereed arguments and have been the person who gets done whatever all of my people need done. I have spent hours annoyed with myself and minutes feeling accomplished. I have apologized profusely for things not worthy of an apology and I have hated how I looked or how slouchy I was sitting at least once an hour. I’ve harped and picked and nagged and apologized and I end almost every day telling myself that tomorrow is the day when I find the calm. 

I’m not good at taking compliments because I usually don’t believe them. I can tell you all of the things I didn’t do easier than I can tell you what I did do and I judge no one more critically than I judge myself. I try my best to be the type of wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, employee or whatever other role I might be in at the moment that everyone needs me to be and even though I am painstakingly aware that I cannot simultaneously be good at them all, I will never quit trying. 

I am 110% sure I drive my husband batshit crazy and I completely blame my own inability to accept “good enough” for that. If it’s not my complaining about the house feeling dirty (or even worse, disorganized) then it is my steady flow of questions that stem from my own assumptions that whatever I’m doing is pissing him off. By the way, if you know my husband, you know how stupid of an assumption that is…but I assume it anyway. I feel selfish for loving to get out of my house to go to the gym, so I assume he thinks it’s selfish. I feel guilty for occasionally missing bedtime to go to the store or to sit down and write so I just assume that he is annoyed. Which he never is. 

I have always been this way. A perfectionist to a fault, I expect too much from myself and I’m not really sure why. I like to have all of the answers, solve all of the problems and make sure there is never a shortage of laughter…but I rarely feel like I’m doing enough. 

My kids are happy, my husband and I get along (I think. We get along, right?) and people tell me I’m a good mom. So why is it that I can’t wrap my head around the fact that sometimes just being enough is actually enough?

I think part of it is because it is just who I am. I have an overwhelming need to have order. Shit has to make sense and things need to have a place. But I’m also starting to truly think that part of it is because of the nauseating amount of articles and posts all over the totally addictive internet that are in my face all day every day. For the love of GOD – everywhere you go, posts about how to be the best mom with the cutest little body and the happiest little kids with the happiest husband who makes all the money for you to live in your perfect house in your perfect neighborhood. How to make the best dinners and have your kids eat them, how to make sure you fit in the workout, the homework, the housecleaning, the laundry, the story time, the play time, the date nights…
At a certain point, even when you tell yourself the articles thrown in your face are total crap and/or mostly unrealistic, you start to read into them. Perfect everything, happy everyone, beautiful everything…social media can quickly make you feel totally inept.

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, I am totally jealous of my husband and all people like him. You know the type, the ones who can just not over analyze everything and can look past the dirty carpets. Yes, I’m jealous that he can go to sleep while there are dishes in the sink and that his heart rate is not increased by the sight of a pile of laundry or mail or miscellaneous crap that doesn’t have a home (I mean, just typing that last sentence was almost enough to force me to reach for the Xanax), but I’m also totally jealous of his ability to just focus on whatever it is that he is doing at the moment. It is fascinating to me. He just enjoys whatever it is he is doing and doesn’t worry about what is still left to do. Steady line. Calm dude. So jealous.

One would think that after almost 17 years with that man I would have figured it out and that maybe some of his calmness would have rubbed off on me. But instead I get worse by the minute. My to-do list is so damn long that I can’t figure out where to start and I’ll  absolutely never finish it and where the hell is that Xanax?

If you have a brain that functions at more of a “normal” pace than mine, there is a pretty good chance you either stopped reading a long time ago or you have moved me right to your list of “crazy chicks who are seriously crazy.” Fortunately, I’m good with that. Because however you might see me and my hyper little brain, I see it worse. I would give anything for my brain waves to steady and my heart rate not to skyrocket at a closet that is not color coded or a junk drawer that doesn’t make sense. But that’s not me.

I have done a lot of thinking lately. The brakes on my already rapid train of thought have pretty much fallen off (I blame the long winter and even longer basketball season…so much time to sit inside and think) BUT I think that I might have finally grasped one thing that might just steady this ride.

Although the perfectionist in me will never ever go away, I am going to give that part of this girl a little bit of a break. I’m letting go of perfect. There are just too many standards, too many expectations, and too many goals with too few minutes. Some of the list has to be checked off. Some of the deadlines and expectations have to be met. Some goals are the most important goals.

But because I know me, and I know how impossible I make it on myself to just move on or go to sleep or finish anything later, I’m setting my less than perfect bar low. So tomorrow when I seem no different to you, I’m going to be doing a happy dance in my head because I’m going to not call myself a deadbeat when my kids don’t get a bath or didn’t get a book before bed.  I’m going to refrain from calling myself names over the laundry that sat in the hall for a few days and when my kids will only eat blueberries and pizza for a week straight (partly because they are being picky and partly because I quit fighting), I’m not going to kick myself over it.

I may not ever be able to let go of the perfectionist in me, but I can let go of perfect. I have been holding really tightly onto perfect lately and I’ve lost control of it all in the process. I’m better when I, even with my own unrealistically high expectations, just let one or two things go. It’s never going to be perfect…and it might just be more fun that way.

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