Rejecting perfection

perfectionismToday was three on one. Suddenly. After nearly a week of very diluted parenting, suddenly it was all of them. Full on. On my own. Famine followed by frenzy.

I was stunned. Stunned by their energy, By their crashing violence towards one another. Stunned by the noise. By the talking. The talking that knows no end. That goes on and on. Words that compete, clash, and cross over each other. All of it directed, in some way, at me.

I haven’t had a thought all day. They’ve filled all my thinking space. It’s not my ears that are ringing, but my brain. It’s hyper aroused. Reeling. It needs to settle.

I so haven’t had it together. I really haven’t. I’ve swung wildly with them from crisis to crisis. Scream to scream. Minor injury to minor injury. Barely coming up for air. Or even a cup of tea.

I’ve bounced around between the three of them. Occasionally trying to gasp for a breath, like someone drowning. I need some kind of isolation chamber. To rock quietly and let it all subside. Today they’ve been killing me loudly.

Boy am I vulnerable in the face of their hurricane. Boy am I at sea when they’re all going full blast, and I can’t catch a breath.

The boundless energy of my children is at once impressive and overwhelming. I love it and fear it all at once.

I get whipped up by their maelstrom. I get a bit ragged around the edges. Combined they are a powerful force of nature. A thing to be feared and revered. The potential energy they hold between them is something akin to a wrecking ball as it speeds towards its target. It’s impressive. I regard it with awe. And on days like this, I feel small in the face of it.

For a recovering perfectionist like me, this presents a massive challenge. When I’m unsure and under stress it’s perfectionism I turn to, to shield me from the discomfort. And when perfection seems impossible to attain, when the children’s combined energy force laughs in the face of my attempts to make it all shiny, I get helpless and defeated. I want to give up. I feel angry at my inability to do better, to achieve more highly. My self-critic has a field day. And it’s this that absorbs my attention and energies. Even more than the kid-tornado crashing around my house.

I guess this is a little reminder to me, and to anyone else out there on the perfectionist spectrum.

I am human (and so are you).

I say it out loud a lot at home. My 7 year old can tell when I’m getting overwhelmed, and will say (wearily) “I know, you’re human”.

I’m flawed. Sometimes I’m struggling to keep upright. I’m tired, overwhelmed and impatient. And what I am definitely not, is perfect. Not now. Not ever. And neither should I be. And when I can remember that, I’m all the better for it. I have more energy. I am braver and more capable. I’m more like the person, and the parent, I want to be.

But, because I am imperfect, I forget.

I have days like today.

It’s just how it goes.

2 thoughts on “Rejecting perfection

  1. This rings very loud bells! I often feel on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown when in the midst of only 2 children firing noise at me simultaneously. I take my hat of to those with 3 kids or more…. impressive! And surely anything else that life could ever throw at you will seem a breeze in comparison to these times with multiple small people wreaking havoc…

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