After reading a couple of thought-provoking posts here and here about not being ashamed of who you are and not judging others, it really got me thinking. Not so much about the judging others part but more in lines of the soul searching and being honest about myself.
Hello, my name is Danielle and I'm a self-diagnosed perfectionist. That may seem harmless to some but for me, it's a giant thorn in my side, even crippling at times. I wish to begin the 12-step recovery process but I honestly don't know how.
I'm not sure when this all started, this whole nothing-but-the-best-will-do mentality but it goes back as far as I can remember. I can remember getting math tests back and reworking the problems that I missed to make sure the teacher did, in fact, have the correct answer. I remember the process of getting ready in the morning and redoing my hair 3 times until I got it just so with not a single hair out of place. I remember hanging my clothes in order, so as to not repeat an outfit. Okay, now I'm starting to sound neurotic!
Now I've allowed it to rear it's ugly head in my parenting techniques. I want to be the perfect parent with the perfect child. I want my children to do exactly what I say, when I say it and feel I've failed if (when) that happens. I know there's no such thing as a perfect parent but I continue to try to convince myself I can somehow achieve that unattainable title. I have read numerous books to try to make the perfect child and be the perfect parent but wow, it's overwhelming. For every book that says to do it one way, there are 3 more that say to do it another way. Don't reward. Do reward. Don't try to figure out the why and just deal with the issue at hand. Do try to figure out the underlying cause.
This rigidity creates a good deal of undue stress. It manifests itself in ways I'm not even aware of sometimes. Take for example at dinnertime when it's time to feed Sawyer. For whatever reason, I feel I'm the only one capable of properly nourishing our child. I know Wes is more than capable (and even does it on his very own during the day when I'm at work) but this crazy mind of mine leads me to believe my way of putting the spoon in Sawyer's mouth is somehow better than Wes'. Is it that I put more or less food on the spoon? Is it that I don't allow myself a bite in between his bites, so as to not allow any whining, crying, or whimpering? Who the heck knows! But I do know it happens every day and I do know the result is a stressful meal for me, created by me, and executed by me.
Or how about when someone offers to help me with nearly anything and I literally feel my stress levels rise because they don't do it exactly as I would have, never mind the fact the end result is usually the same. It's just very hard for me to see that at the time and let go. I usually interject and either take over for myself or resist asking for help in the first place.
I have a tendency to compare myself to others and I never seem to be satisfied with who I am or what I have. I'm a very blessed person and while I understand and appreciate that, I always seem to want more. I want to cook as good as Ina Garten, I want to blog as well as The Pioneer Woman, I want to be as fit as Jillian, I want to host parties like, well, someone who hosts parties, and I want to do all of these things while raising 2 sons, working full-time, keeping house, and being a caring wife and daughter.
I know the first step is admission, so I can check that one off. But what is the second step? Where do I go from here to change my incessant ways? How do I teach myself that's it's okay if everything doesn't turn out perfectly, that it's okay if I don't scrapbook every single memory and document every single dirty diaper? Some people enjoy those details and choose to take time to document them. I get it and that's great for them. Maybe those people don't cook dinner every night like me. Maybe they do that while I'm watching reality t.v. My point is, I get that it's okay that I don't have time to do everything that I want to and it's okay that others do things better or more efficiently than me, but how do I teach my mind to accept that and not beat myself up so much? How do I just let it go?
This blog only showcases the brag-worthy things in my life. But I'm here to tell you it's not all sunshine and roses. There is another, far less perfect person, who lives here. For me to open up and reveal this about myself is pretty big. Thank you for listening and if you have any advice or words of encouragement, I'm all ears. I feel like I've just aired my dirty laundry but I also feel better letting you know that I'm not perfect. Baby steps!