I’ve already told you about my insecurity and how I hope my boys will never allow someone’s opinion to make them feel less than.
More so, though, I hope they don’t pick up my perfectionism. My need to do everything perfectly, the best, without error or fault. But I fear that Z already has it. I fear he was born with it. And I feel sad that he’ll have to bear this cross.
I can remember beating myself up for not being the best as early as 6 years old. I didn’t win some contest (can’t remember what) and I was gutted. HOW could I not win? I clearly remember the negative self-talk that went on- why even bother trying again? if you’re not going to be number one it’s not worth it. perfect or nothing.
Fast forward to the present day and my perfectionism is worse than ever. I just expect myself to be the best, immediately, at everything that crosses my path. I feel so frustrated that I haven’t lost my baby weight yet, that my hair still sits in a ponytail more often than not, that I don’t keep my house clean enough that I’d feel comfortable having a stranger stop by. I know, most people do feel frustrated by these things. But the difference is that I obsess. I can not stand the thought of not being perfect. I am more frustrated and angry than most by the silliest thing- including my eyebrows not being perfectly waxed or forgetting to use a comma. Silly.
I started a new job recently. It’s an industry I had no knowledge of before I began. Yet I expect myself to be perfect. PERFECT. To the point where I obsess about the simplest mistake (and, yes, we’re all allowed to make mistakes and SHOULD make mistakes). I genuinely believe that I should be the best at my job, only 2 months after starting to learn how to do it.
I can only hope that I am able to teach my boys that making mistakes and not being the best is OK. (now I have something new to obsess over). Actually, it’s great. It’s freeing to not feel the need to be perfect and obsess over every error you make in your life. It’s amazing to try your best and work the hardest you can…and then be satisfied with that. To be happy and content with what you have. To live life without the shackles of needing to be better than the rest. I don’t know if it’s in the cards for me. I’ve lived a life trying to be more perfect than any human being should. But my kids, now they have the chance to just be them…and be totally ok with that.
That must be so tough Sarah…I was like that for a time but have since realized (remember my tat) that things can still be imperfect and beautiful. So hard – I know that I've set up Will to be a competitive dude…just like his mom. I so wish he wasn't but he already is.
I remember after I had my first son, I was freaking out that I couldn't get everything done. I'll never forget a friend reminding me that my kids won't look back on their childhood and remember how clean the house was. They will, however, look back and remember how much fun they had with their mom.
Don't sweat the small stuff.
Ruth (aka "Grandma) says
Firstborns tend to be perfectionists. You, as a firstborn have excelled at motherhood! The most important job in the world! Your little boys will have a headstart in life because of their loving, nurturing mother!!
Love Kath's comment – so true!