I have struggled with perfectionism for as long as I can remember. It got worse after I had my kids. When my daughter was born I had to have her always dressed nice and looking perfect. I always smiled because I wanted everyone to think I had this whole mothering thing down.
The thing they didn’t see was when I was crying in the middle of the night because I was so tired and she just wouldn’t sleep. They didn’t see the fights I was having with my husbands because we worked different shifts and never saw each other. One of the biggest moments that only my sister saw was when I dropped my daughter at my sister’s house and told her I wasn’t coming back. Of course I just needed some sleep and after a nap I felt so guilty.
I didn’t want anyone to see those moments because I had to look like the “perfect” mom. I had to look like I knew what I was doing and had it all together. In reality I was drowning and felt like my life was falling apart.
Then I had my son. He was born not breathing and had to be in the NICU for a month while he learned to breathe on his own. That was a hard time for us. Our life basically got put on hold as we were driving back and forth to the hospital. Things just did not get done during that time.
After my son came home I went right back to trying to make things perfect. My daughter was five when he was born and now I had to balance keeping two kids looking perfect. This was much harder and with not getting any sleep again almost impossible. Throw in the fact that I didn’t want to ask for help because of course I’m the mom so I should be able to do this on my own.
The big change for me was when I got a blood clot in my leg and lungs and ended up in the ICU for two weeks when my son was two months old. My husband took on the duties of a single father and did great. I realized that he does know what he is doing and I don’t have to do everything. Being away from my kids for those two weeks made me appreciate the time I have with them more.
When I got home I didn’t worry so much about what they were wearing or if the house was spotless, I just wanted to be with them. Time is precious. I almost wasn’t here to enjoy it. I didn’t want to waste time on things that didn’t matter.
Now I don’t wish a traumatic event on anyone to make you realize what perfectionism is doing in your life but I did want to share my story to help you realize that time is precious and any of us could be gone tomorrow. Is the fact that your kid is wearing mismatched clothes going to matter? No. What is going to matter is the time and love that you gave your kids.
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