No Such Thing as Perfect

There really isn’t. I know – shocker, right? Being the loony, idealistic perfectionist that I am, however, there’s a part of me that believes it should be possible. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten much right. Ever. So when I became a Mama, I was determined that no matter what mistakes litter my past, the one thing I WOULD do perfectly was simple.  I. Would. NOT. Screw. My. Kid. Up. I would have weekly family feasts. Dinner would be served precisely on time, and be entirely homemade. I would have perfect order, perpetually clean laundry, completely childproofed rooms. I would do multiple enriching activities with Leo on a daily basis. I would NEVER spank, NEVER raise my voice, ALWAYS be respectful of his feelings. In the interest of being a SuperMama, I read every touchy feely, free – thinking, attachment parenting, natural parenting, unschooling,  book, blog, or magazine article I could get my hands on. I was appalled, incensed even, when seasoned Mamas told me stop, to throw the books out and stop torturing myself. I ignored them. I kept reading. And after each reading binge, I berated myself. I should have done that. I shouldn’t have done this… the self recriminations went on and on, the guilt building to epic proportions. Because that IS one thing I do well. I am an EXPERT at useless guilt. And boy, can I run some EPIC guilt trips on myself. To add to all that, I exposed myself over and over again to people who only served to amp that guilt up further, either by their holier than thou,  “sanctimommy” attitudes or straight up hostile attacks on my parenting choices and misteps. And I let them. Over, and over and over again. Until finally, I melted down under the pressure, all over myself, my real friends, my family and my bewildered hubby. I look back at my naivete, my unflagging belief that if I could just somehow read enough, remember enough of what I read and was told, just figure out exactly how to implement all the “advice” perfectly, Leo would be okay. I have to laugh at myself now, at my blind belief in the magical properties of parenting manuals and conflicting “advice”.  When I think about it, I’m overpowered by the urge to hide my head under the sofa cushions in embarrassment – followed closely by the urge to issue a blanket apology to everyone who ever had to put up with the uptight, obsessive moron I became, online and off.  (And in all honesty, may become again, at some point in the future, should perfectionism get the best of me again.) Now though – I’ve let go. Mostly.  It helps that at this point, I’m just trying to survive. Toddlerhood is taking it’s toll, and I think it’s supposed to. Toddlers teach us how little we know about the world,  how very little control over the universe we really have. How very few answers we can actually provide. I no longer have any illusions of perfection. My house is a wreck most of the time. Cooking is limited to quick, one pot or skillet meals I can make in the length of a nap. Lots of pasta, lots of crock pot meals. FireDaddy cooks pretty often too. Much more often than he would need to in a “perfect” world. Laundry gets washed, and then gets put in baskets. Sometimes the baskets get folded, other times we fish for clean clothes. They might be wrinkled, but at least they’re clean, right? Right. Don’t get me wrong – we’re doing  just fine. Sometimes, my vision of perfection is almost a reality. And then Leo wakes up and my living room once again resembles the toddler version of a crisis zone. And despite the anxiety this causes my obviously borderline OCD soul – I wouldn’t trade all the organization in the world for my pint-sized tornado and our perfectly imperfect, messy, complicated, happy little family.

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