I hate to think of myself as a perfectionist, as I think of that as a derogatory term. I do, however, hold myself up to a very high standard and have high expectations of myself, and others. I have a difficult time admitting when I’m not perfect–or even a 90%. I’m okay with my public self being a 90%. But anything less? Well, that’s just not me! Except that, honestly, it is. And I’m coming to terms with that.For example, I lose things. I consider myself well-organized, yet I lose things. My losing stuff tends to increase during busy, stressful times. Most recently, on Christmas Eve, I lost my keys. My keys are like my lifeline…my work keys too! I have no idea if I’m responsible, whether my husband misplaced them, or whether my 2-yr old threw them in the garbage. Regardless, they are gone. And I find myself very embarrassed at this very human error, as I’m going to have to explain to my employer that I’m imperfect if they don’t turn up.
I’ll readily admit to friends that I’m 15- 20 pounds overweight even though I know it’s more like 25- 30. But to say “30 pounds” seems insurmountable somehow (I know it’s not and many have lost that much and more). To say “30 pounds” out-loud is admitting how very average I am. So, I’m swallowing that lump in my throat, and I’m putting it out there. I’m 30 pounds overweight and I know what I need to do (eat small meals throughout the day, extra protein, reduce sugar). I want the end results but I can’t seem to change my habits to get there.
I let my kids watch TV. And it’s not the 30 minutes of educational programming my perfect self would want to allow them. Sometimes it’s the same ridiculous episode of an annoying Disney kid show that entertains J (’09). Sometimes it’s on for hours at night, mostly unnoticed, but adding background noise to fill a quiet evening. I put it on for the kids so I can pay my bills, wash dishes, or just to have a bit of quiet time.
Another confession–and this is a tough one–I don’t always follow the exact prescription of exercises and time-frames set out for physical and occupational therapy for my son at home. If I get most of the 90 minutes of therapy done each day, I consider it a major success. Life gets busy and we need time for play, and for going places, and exploring too. Additionally, I spend a lot of time managing sibling squabbles, cooking dinner, feeding them, dealing with food refusals, bath-time, and other general craziness and regular fun of raising young children and meeting all their needs. The fact that I’m imperfect with his home exercise regime is hard to admit, because I want to do everything I can to help my son develop and grow, and while I am doing my best, it doesn’t always match up with the standards the therapists set out for us.
This year, 2014, I’m getting real about who I am. I’m a working mom. I’m a commuter. I’m gone from home minimally 55 hours a week depending on traffic. I’m a single-shift mom, as my husband works evenings. I do a ton of housecleaning, dinner prep, bath time, bedtime routines. I’m raising two young children. I’m managing their medical needs, developmental needs, and educational needs as well as being their entertainer, booboo-fixer and mediator. I’m not perfect, I can’t be. I have too many hats. I’m doing the best I can, and that’s perfectly fine.
This year, I’m going for honesty and integrity, and giving myself permission to be less than perfect all the time. I’m not going to be ashamed of it. It’s a journey of progress, not perfection. I will allow myself the understanding that there are things I need to work on, from the inside-out, but I’m a good person and I will always do my best. I’m not going to beat myself over the head with my mistakes, or shortcomings, because I admit I’m imperfect. I’m allowing myself to be human….to be average sometimes and, ahem, to sometimes fail. I will learn from my mistakes, apologize when needed, change what is needed, and move on. I deserve it. And you do, too.