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Perfection November 3, 2012

Posted by Judy in Musings, parenting.
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I’m a perfectionist. I always have been and always will be. It’s part of what makes me a good musician. It’s part of what makes me a good seamstress. It’s the reason some of my students loved me while others hated me: I expected nothing less than perfection of them, or at least their best attempt at perfection. It’s a blessing and a curse, all at once, but it’s who I am, I don’t know how else to be. Seeing that perfectionism is found at the core of my being, it’s interesting that ever since becoming a parent, I haven’t really thought about being a perfectionist. That is, until today.

I belong to a local parent’s group that is pretty large. Some people I only know in passing, others have become my good friends, while others fall somewhere in between. Today, one of the moms sent me a little note on facebook.

I know i don’t know you that well, but whenever I see you, you inspire me. :)You seem to love being a mom so much it is great! It seems a lot of people I know with four young kids complain a lot about how busy/hectic life is….and you always act like it is the best thing in the world (which I know it is!!)….I just love your positive attitude!

What a lovely note to receive from someone, right? It totally made my day and made me walk around with this goofy smile on my face. Earlier in the day, I had two other encounters that, coupled with this note, got me to thinking about my parenting.

While at church this morning, I was talking with two other parents about my newborn. One parent was amazed that I had four babes and said, “I don’t think I’ll be following in your footsteps!” The other parent responded, “You are just amazing!” I just smiled. We continued talking and I mentioned that I never imagined myself having a small brood of children. I shared with them that while pregnant with #1, I recalled telling a friend that although I had enjoyed the pregnancy experience, I didn’t really want to do it again and was done having children. That changed the instant #1 was born. I remember thinking “Let’s do it again!” When I said that, another lady who does not have children said in a completely shocked manner, “Wow!” It was like she couldn’t at all fathom having that sentiment.

So I got to thinking about those encounters today. To me is seems like no biggie to have four babes, and I don’t really see myself as having it all together or exuding an overly positive attitude. I definitely don’t see myself as Supermom, a moniker DH uses often. I have high expectations for how things should be and what my parenting should look like. I expect that I should be able to have and stick to a daily schedule while having happily adjusted children that are obedient and polite at all times. When that inevitably doesn’t happen, I feel totally derailed, and then it feels like chaos ensues. Some days I feel like I’m just stumbling through, barely making it from one disaster to the next.

It would seem that others do not have this view of me. It would seem that I really do have it together much more than I think I do. It would seem that my perfectionist tendencies have been running in the background for the past five years, sabotaging my confidence making it seem like I was failing miserably at this thing called parenting. For the first time in my life, I’m feeling like I need to kick perfectionism to the curb and just enjoy this crazy ride called parenting. Enjoy the ride and believe that I am doing a good job and that I do have it as together somewhat.

So, maybe, just maybe, it’s possible that I won’t always be a perfectionist. It will probably always be at the core of my being. But maybe, just maybe, I’m starting to figure out how to not let it run my life and how to let it out in manageable doses.

I’m a perfectionist but perfectionism is no longer calling the shots.

About that motherhood thing . . . . June 29, 2009

Posted by Judy in Musings.
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I’m two years into this motherhood thing, and I’d say I’m completely flummoxed 50% of the time, frustrated 40% of the time and feel-like-things-are-going-well the other 10%. Shouldn’t that last category have a higher number? Maybe, but maybe not. For a long time I thought that the PPD was making me feel flummoxed, frustrated and not at all put together. But, now that the fog has lifted for 4 months, I know that it’s not the PPD talking. Rather, these feelings are part of the motherhood landscape, and the feelings are fairly universal. I’m sure it seems bold to say that ALL moms experience this to one degree or another. Maybe it is bold, but it’s also true.

So why isn’t this part of the normal motherhood dialogue? Why do moms feel like they have to lie and say “Oh yeah, it’s going great! We are a happy little family!”, when really they barely made it out the door that morning? For some reason, society has made it taboo to be honest about your feelings on motherhood. I’m reminded of an Oprah show that aired about 4 years ago. She had lots of moms on talking about motherhood, and most of them expressed in one way or another, “some days, motherhood sucks.” Boy, was there a backlash! (more…)