“Perfectionism is the perpetual feeling of failure.” My therapist told me this when I was in my early 20’s, sitting in her office, discussing how to overcome the raging eating disorder I had at the time. Several years later, I got this exact quote tattooed on my wrist as a reminder. I never want to forget these words. I never want to forget how it feels to constantly try to be perfect and to never obtain that. So, why did I constantly feel the need to be “perfect?”
I grew up in a home where you didn’t discuss your feelings and appearances meant everything. So, it’s no surprise that I internalized these views and ideas and began exhibiting perfectionistic tendencies into adulthood. My perfectionistic attitude and mentality lead me down a very dark and destructive path of starving myself and overexercising to have the “perfect” body. It lead me to an emotionally and physically abusive marriage where on the outside everything appeared perfect, but on the inside, I was dying. I slowly lost myself trying to be someone I wasn’t. It wasn’t until starting a family with my current husband that I realized that I didn’t want to be “perfect” anymore. I’d like to say that I woke up one day and just let go of being a perfectionist. But that wasn’t the case. It was a slow and gradual process and it is something I continue to work on daily.
I chose to begin the process of letting go of being a perfectionist because perfectionism robbed me of so many wonderful things in my life; it literally sucked the joy out of my life. Perfectionism stopped me from appreciating the day as it unfolded unless it happened perfectly according to my plans. Perfectionism prevented me from doing and trying new things because if I couldn’t do them perfectly, what was the point, right? If I hadn’t let go of trying to be perfect, I never would have applied to write for this amazing moms blog. I never would have married my husband because I thought he deserved “the perfect woman” and that certainly wasn’t me. I never would have opened my own business with my husband. Most importantly, I never would have done the best thing that I have ever done: become a mom. And let me tell you, mamas, I am by NO MEANS a perfect mom. Why? Because perfect is a fake, a phony, and an illusion. I am simply me, and that is exactly who I am supposed to be. It took me a long time to realize that we are perfect just the way that we are, myself included. There is no other person on this Earth who is just like you, flaws and all. There are no perfect wives, no perfect friends, no perfect moms. And that’s ok. We are all winging this thing called life and if sometimes it’s hard and you feel like you’re failing at it, that is perfectly ok. Let that shiz go. In 5 years, will it matter that something didn’t go perfectly as planned? Heck no! Will it matter that maybe you lost your cool today and yelled at your kids? Nope! Will it matter that at school drop off there are some moms who are perfectly put together and you roll up in your pj’s with an extreme case of bedhead? Certainly not. Your kids love you just as you are, bedhead and all, and so should you. You are perfectly imperfect mama, and THAT is pretty freaking awesome!