Confessions of a (Former) Perfectionist

I’ve never been a completely neat person, but I have always liked everything to have its place, and I get joy out of a tidy house. I’ve never expected perfection from others, but I have been guilty of having unhealthily high standards for myself. I love making lists and checking them off. I hate the feeling of letting others down more than anything else. I really, really like order. I’ve always been one to judge myself by what I can do.

Can you relate?

In these ways, I’m a perfectionist. In other ways, I’m pretty go with the flow. Call me up and ask if the kids and I want to go to the beach with you in 15 minutes? I’m in. The kids see a mud puddle they want to splash in? Go for it! The clothes are washable, and so are the kids. The kids want to turn my living room into a campsite for the afternoon? I’ll get the sheets for making the tent and the tissue paper for making fire flames.

I guess we can see the pattern. When it comes to the kids expressing themselves creatively or exploring the world, I’m all for it. Then why am I so tough on myself?

I’m better than I used to be. Marrying a not-so-neat-freak of a husband (trying to say it nicely) was a big help. Having kids was also a good lesson on how to have peace in chaos and let go of things that weren’t as vitally important as I thought they were.

You would have thought that my family was enough to teach me what I needed to learn, but then…I got my injury. And suddenly, I wasn’t physically able to do many of the things I wanted to do. Well, I technically could do them, but I if I did I would be curled up in a ball and crying by the end of the day. I’ve chosen the latter route often, it was never a good idea.

Today I had what I call a “Blah Day”. You know, one of those days where you don’t exactly feel sick (my pain is within the normal range that I am used to), but you just don’t feel the motivation or energy to do anything. Before my injury, I would have beat myself up about the things I didn’t get done today. Ok, I still partially do, but I’m much better about letting myself just have an unproductive day every-once-in-a-while.

You see, I’ve been in the position where I can’t physically stand long enough to get through washing the dishes without crying from the pain. So I’ve let the dirty dishes sit for a day or two, until I arrived at a place where my inflammation is down and I can handle the dishes. Or my MIL or mom comes over and does them for me. And the world didn't end or anything.

It’s always been really hard for me to have others do things for me, but I’m learning to let go of that. I have not arrived, but I am moving in the right direction. I am learning to give myself grace. Lots of it!

Do you give yourself grace? Try, sweet mother, do try! Beating yourself up doesn’t make you a better mama. You can only do so much. You don’t need to be perfect!

Please allow yourself to be perfectly imperfect.


My perfectly imperfectly painted nails, done by my sons, who are 5 and 3. 


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