I’d like to introduce Jennifer Fink who is my guest blogger today. The Blogathon’s rules asked bloggers to have one guest post during the month of May. Please welcome her.
My house is a mess. Three of my boys are still in their pajamas and a two-day old basket of clean laundry leers at me from the dining room floor. Clearly, I am not a perfectionist – right?
Wrong. I am a recovering perfectionist, one who spent years denying her perfectionist tendencies. As it turns out, perfectionists don’t necessarily have immaculate houses; they have inner stress because their houses aren’t immaculate. Instead of living comfortably among the mess, perfectionists berate themselves for not being quick enough or organized enough to keep up with the housework. For a perfectionist, nothing is ever good enough.
And yet, many of us still cling to the basic tenet of perfectionism, which is, “If I do everything right, everything will be right.” We believe that the power to create a perfect life lies within – that if we simply do everything properly, people will like us, our marriages will thrive and our children will grow to be healthy, happy human beings.
I still want to believe that. I want to believe that if I parent my boys just-so, they’ll be protected from drug addiction, accidents, diseases and heartbreak. But a tiny part of me knows that’s not true. Bad things do happen to good people, and my boys may face serious trouble down the line, in spite of my years of conscientious parenting.
Parenting – like all relationships – is a gig with no guarantees. That’s not a message you’ll see on any magazine cover; parenting magazines and books feed the cult of perfectionism, lure parents with promises of “can’t fail” parenting techniques. Yet as all parents know, those “can’t fail” techniques don’t work on every kid. That’s because every kid, every family and every parent is different – and because there are factors beyond our control. Our job as parents is to love our children fiercely anyway, in spite of the eventual outcome.
It takes a lot of courage to pour your heart and soul into something with no guarantees, but that’s exactly what parents are called to do. So love your children freely and without expectation. Don’t worry about who or what they’ll be in the future. Instead, focus on who they are right now. Join them in their explorations. Nurture their interests. Play with them. See the world through their eyes and live in the moment, at least momentarily.
Are you a recovering perfectionist? Take this quiz and find out.
Jennifer’s blog can be found at Blogging ‘Bout Boys.
(Jennifer is a freelance writer, homeschooler and SuperMom extraordinaire! She has four boys — ages 12, 9, 6 and 4 — who inspire her, challenge her and keep her busy.