My name is Chrissy and I'm a perfectionist. A really awful perfectionist because pretty much absolutely nothing I do is perfect. I guess you could say I am a recovering perfectionist, I just wish they had meetings for it. I no longer actively seek out my next opportunity to be totally flawless, whereas I end up being not-even-close, and therefore, end up hating myself to some degree, depending on the enormity of the task. And I always claim that it just want to do right by you or my children or some outside source, but it's really just ME that ends up disappointed. I learned others usually don't expect as much from me as I expect from myself. So I think a lot about my imperfection. I judge it. I get mad at myself. I feel sorry for myself. I feel angry or defeated. Notice the pattern? Me, me, me, me, me. It's all about me. Which is really quite vain if you ask imperfect me.
Much like an alcoholic never stops wanting a drink, there are still parts of me that ache to be perfect. Painfully so in some moments. I just want more time to focus more on others and less on me. I actively seek out opportunities for good enough- which I am learning to simply call "good". I talk myself off ledges. I focus on what matters in the silver lining of my soul. It's pretty hard to unstripe this zebra sometimes.
Sometimes I look at the perfect-perfectionists and I judge them. Their perfectly fixed hair. Their every single day shower. Their outfit - yes OUTFIT complete with accessories- not a mom uniform of tshirt and jeans when I am DRESSED UP. I'm mad at them for being SO much better at perfect than I am. I'm mad at them for always being so put together when I feel so darn scattered. I'm mad at them for always showing up on time, for the pristine inside of their car that does NOT look like the crime scene of a CSI show, for the bottom of their purse that does NOT have mystery goo crusted on it, and for the fact that their children eat vegetables. I don't know the last one for a fact, but I'm assuming.
But then I also feel sadness for them. Because they don't get the opportunity to name the three-- yes THREE huge rudolph zits on their nose they woke up with yesterday morning.
Edited bigger to prove my point. Tony, Roberta and Jude Law by the way.That's their names. Why Jude? I just feel like he's kind of a zitty guy.
Perfect people either don't get zits at all or they aren't allowed to leave the house when they get them. That must be so exhausting scheduling your entire life around your cycle like that. They can't complain to their friend if they haven't pooped for 4 days. Perfect people are extremely regular AND they do not talk about bowel movements. Gross. Perfect people have a perfect reputation to uphold, and I imagine that is EXHAUSTING-everyone always assuming you can do it- and do it perfectly at that. I feel like I don't have nearly enough time each day to do all the things I need to do good
Perfect people can't lay in the mulch with their children and laugh over how HILARIOUS fake sneezes are. They would get their cute pants dirty. They would never eat tortilla chips and ice cream for dinner because that's unhealthy.
They would never think that a 3 year old walking around wearing a too big beer hat is the funniest thing ever. They may even call it "inappropriate."
They don't ever get to sleep in because they are too busy blowing their hair straight and smooth and perfect. They can only be friends with other perfect people and perfect people are in short supply. It all sounds so exhausting.
So I'm starting to realize that being imperfect is kind of a luxury.
And I'm also starting to realize that I don't know what's going on under the hood of ANYONE else's car. I bet perfect people are more like me than I realize. Maybe no one ever told them about the theory of good enough. Someone might have even let them think that in order to be loved they must be perfect. So I'm trying to extend the same grace and kindness to the perfects, as well as the imperfects like me. I'm tired of being an awful perfectionist. The truth is- I'd rather just be a decent human. Sometimes that's more than enough.
I also want to share these words I put on Facebook earlier today. They remind me that judging is never the option and none of us are ever alone...
I am that mom.
The mom I judged before I was even a mom at all. The mom who made me think- why are you out in public sister? You need to take that crazy mess of a child home and feed them or put them down for a nap or something. The mom I knew must ignore her kid, or at least deliver a hefty void of discipline.
Now I am that mom. I am the mom at Home Goods store with a child screaming so piercingly that you turn your head and can't help but mutter JEEZ. I don't blame you, his most intense of screams still make me jolt. I am the mom not yelling at her child, not disciplining in this moment, not instantly gathering our mess of a family to run home. We are past the point of all of that. I am the mom who gathers her screaming son, set off because I said he couldn't have the saxophone toy. Sometimes I buy him something to prevent this moment that I don't always have the strength to weather. We sit for a minute on the floor and I hold him so tight that my love penetrates through to some of his pain. We rock back and forth for a minute while I shoosh in his ear to calm him. It's a Saturday and the crowd of people move so fast all I see are feet in a blur. There are so many moments in parenting that I have no idea what the hell I am doing. Moments that I wish someone could tell me the right thing to do. This moment is not one of them.
I was born to do this.
We sit and rock for a few seconds, until the screaming falls in intensity. His face is purple and covered in tears and sweat. His hands shake in frustration and anger. He is certain if he doesn't get this toy he simply won't survive. I pick up his screaming, bucking body to carry him outside. He is getting so big and it's getting harder to do. I gather us up while my husband goes up to the register to pay. We sit out front where the cool January breeze cuts through the sound of his screams. Toy! Toy!! TOOOOOOOOOYYYYYYYY!!!!!!! Greyson yells at me in a voice filled with rage and frustration. He gets louder, hoping it will make me understand. Not being able to really talk leaves you constantly feeling misunderstood. He's sick and tired of feeling misunderstood. Sometimes having autism really sucks.
And some look over in alarm. But most look with the kindest of eyes that love and support. Some with a sympathetic smile that says, "I've been there too." However my focus is on my son in my arms. He is beginning to calm. His sobbing transforms into exhausted shuddering.
It hits me. I am that mom.
I am that mom, and these are strangely some of the most sacred moments of parenting. When it isn't easy- but it's still so good. When God reveals himself to me through my boys. I think back to that mom that I judged from years ago, and I understand important things about life I didn't know then. I'm grateful for the shift in perspective.
I am that mom, and I am so lucky.