Hi friends! Wow, it is strange for me to be writing about not being a perfectionist. For most of my life, I lived by the notion that if it was not perfect then it was not good enough. Even as a child, I would bust my butt to make sure I got a perfect score on everything. When I didn’t, because there were also plenty of those moments, boy did the sky come crashing down on me. I vividly remember my first year of H’s life. Despite working full-time, heavily involved in our property management business and raising a baby our house looked like it could be in a magazine. I cleaned all the time, felt I needed to have perfect meals and would not settle for anything less than perfection at work. Man, did that wear me out!
I am sure there was an underlying reason for this. A lot of it has to do with how I was raised. I was a smart kid and a lot of pressure was put on me to do well in school. However, I also think my drive to perfectionism, at least in my adult life, came from how I was feeling about myself. When I became a mother, I had a lot of guilt. I always knew that I wanted to be a career mom, but I had no idea how hard it was going to be. I had guilt at home that I was not spending enough time with my husband and kids. I had guilt at work because there were days when I could not be as focused as I wanted to be due to sick kids or issues at home. I had guilt because I was not taking care of myself in the way that I should be. I had a lot of guilt. I think that is what motivated my perfectionist instincts. I felt that to be a good mommy and to get rid of that guilt I had to be perfect at everything that I did.
What a load of crap! I have no idea what I was thinking! What I started to realize as I got older and wiser is that I was stressing over little details that did not even matter. It did not matter that my pillows were not in a perfect position on the sofa. It did not matter that every meal looked like it came from the Food Network magazine. It did not matter that I took such meticulous notes at work. What really mattered was the fact that I was spending my precious time worrying about details that did not even matter.
It was not an overnight revelation, but rather it happened over a couple of years. I started to realize that perfection does not equate to success. In fact, it really could be considered quite the opposite. At home I started to worry a lot less about what my house looked like. I am not one of those people that promotes the messy floors mean my kids are loved mindset, but I have definitely relaxed my expectations. I do not function well in chaos and still like to have an organized house, but I do not focus on every single detail. In fact, I have a layer of dust on my blinds as I type. I gave up trying to be a chef seven days a week. Granted I do make the majority of our meals by scratch, but I have simplified the process. I pretty much have a weekly rotation for the workweek and experiment in the kitchen on the weekends. At work, I started to focus on the tasks that really matter and will drive success in my career. I could go on a tangent here, so I will save that for a future post. The point is, I have learned that it is much more important to get done what you need to than to stress over every single detail and drive yourself crazy.
So here is what I learned from that shift in mindset – I am more successful in all aspects of my life. I am happier and I spend more quality time with the people that matter to me most. Now that my daughter is older, do you think she talks about all of the gourmet meals that I used to make? Do you think she cares that I use to wash the floor almost every day in fear of her getting sick? Do you think she cares our house was spotless? Heck no! The things she remembers most are the activities we experienced together, the trips we took and the bonding that we had. Those are the things that really matter and where our focus as mommies needs to be. I also found that this shift in mindset made me a better employee. I can confidently say that I am a very successful professional and I am not so sure I would be where I am today if I kept up with my perfectionist ways.
Mommies, we do not have to be perfect. We do need to be present. We do need to be involved. We do need to be engaged. We do need to be loving. We do need to be supportive. We do need to be a lot of thing, but we do not need to be perfect – not at home, not at work, not in any aspect of our lives. Enjoy life and be the best version of yourself, without going crazy!
Talk to you tomorrow!