When Perfectionism Meets Survival
Updated: Jul 28
Isn’t it uncanny? How nealy e.v.e.r.y. time we find ourselves planning for an upcoming event, travel or other big “move”, something seems to roll into our path, causing us to feel as though we are falling short, or unable to prepare as we had hoped? As a child, it never seemed to fail…ER visits on Christmas Eve, chicken pox just days before an extended family vacation…the list goes on-and-on. I have no doubt my parents felt beyond disappointed at those times. Interrupted.
Now, as an adult, I am finding myself more-and-more in the midst of similar situations. And the timing never seems to disappoint…three little babes running temperatures the night before a birthday party celebration, pneumonia on Christmas; and just this weekend, an unplanned immediate-care visit the morning of a double-birthday party for the girls. Sigh.
Of course, for a perfectionist like me, when things aren’t unfolding as planned, it triggers emotions and feelings that don’t always bring out my best. Which don’t always allow for those situations to be handled with as much grace as I might like. That stir up anxiety. And worry. That things might not “hold up” to the imaginary “the-sky’s-the-limit” standards that I tend to create for myself. Because goodness knows I wouldn’t want anyone else to see something less-than-my-possible-best.
But, oh sweet friends. If I have learned anything as a mother to three tiny tots, who are currently relishing their time in the pool of preschool germs, it’s this…there. is. no. such. thing. as. “perfect”. It’s simply an imaginary ideology. A societal, and sometimes, self-created requirement for womanhood and motherhood. That is just plain and simply unattainable. And really shouldn’t be a goal for any of us.
Because, let’s face it, beautiful mamas; there are no hiccup-free days. Even on those seemingly impeccable light-is-shining-on-our–been-inside-too-long–faces, let’s-not-let-the-sun-go-down, ready-to-rock-the-night-away days; even on those incredible, molded-by-our-amazing-Creator-Himself kind of days, exist record-setting tantrums. Strep throat. Tumbles off the stairs. Milk spills on the freshly-cleaned carpets. Dog throw-up. An upset stomach. A flat tire. A grocery bag bottom-out in middle of the parking lot. An after-hours call to the pediatrician about a suspicious rash.
And for most of us, getting through even the best of days, can simply roll down to a matter of survival. During those imperfect, glitched, interrupted moments.
And when perfectionism meets survival, early on the start-of-spring morning, with a big double-birthday-party-bash planned for two very special sweeties, a life lesson in letting go and asking for help arrived in the form of one large pill, becoming much easier to swallow, each-and-every time.
Because, amazing souls, as a mama in the middle of a constant life-lesson about relinquishing the need for control and “flawlessness” and holding strong to an attitude of faith and dependence on those magnificent beings that God has placed into our lives for help and guidance; if I have come to realize anything…it is that everything will always fall into place. Maybe not hiccup-free. Definitely not seamlessly. But, as always, never falling far from my self-set expectations. As long as I never forget these beloved words:
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.” (~Isaiah 41:10)