Letting Go of “Picture Perfect”

For the past several months, maybe longer, I’ve been thinking about perfection. I’ve been watching myself. I’ve attempted to observe my behavior – to get to know myself better. It’s kind-of a hard thing to do. It’s definitely a work in progress. It’s been over a year now, since I left my full-time job for the Stay-At-Home-Mom gig. And, a lot has changed. A lot HAD to change. Before, I’d (we’d) spent 8-9 hours a day outside of the house. It was easier, somehow, to keep things tidy, picked up, put away. Now, spending my days at home with tiny mess-makers makes it nearly impossible to keep up with normal order, much less anything that reassembles perfection. I mean, how many times can one person clean up a kitchen?! For real?! I realized, fairly quickly, that my natural inclination toward order, toward a controlled environment, wasn’t going to cut it. It took awhile before I could pinpoint the problem. But, I did.  It’s Perfectionism. The urge for perfection is the main thing that robs me of peace. I want everything to be clean, neat, pretty, organized and tidy. But, it isn’t. Life isn’t. Life is NOT clean, neat, pretty, organized or tidy. So, I’ve slowly come to the realization that if I want to live my life with peace and happiness amidst the chaos of motherhood, I have to let go of perfection. I have to Let. It. Go.

I’ve been trying to spend more time in God’s Word lately. It’s something that has been missing from my life for far too long. I knew that I had spiritually drifted. I just didn’t realize how far. Now, I’m trying to study, learn and grow. During a recent Bible study lesson, I read that, “without God we’re incomplete, not yet finished, not who we should be. And, we all feel this; we know we should be different than we are. We try to fix ourselves, but we can’t.” Now, I don’t know about y’all, but I just had to sit there and let those words sink in for a while. It was an Aha! moment. As in, Aha – we were actually meant to be perfect. We were created in God’s perfect likeness. But, Eve’s sin changed all of that. Afterwards, we were no longer perfect. We were no longer what we were meant to be. We were incomplete and imperfect. We will never be perfect. We will never be everything we want or need to be. And, we all feel that. All the time. That missing piece. Once I let this all sink, it just hit me. No wonder! No wonder I’m like this! Aha! But, after that Aha! moment came and even better realization. We don’t have to worry about it. We don’t have to worry about being perfect. That’s the most amazing part. Jesus took care of that for us. We don’t have to want a perfection that will never come. It’s kinda freeing isn’t it? It allows us to breathe. It allows us to rest in Him. Let’s do that. Let’s breathe and Let. It. Go.

So, what now? What does it look like if I stop longing for perfection? Truthfully, I don’t know yet. I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m still trying to stop. It’s not natural for me. Messy bothers me. Clutter gets under my skin. I can’t just turn that off so easily. I can, however, stop beating myself up about it. I don’t have to always like the way my house looks or the way that I look, BUT, I can stop feeling bad about it. Stop feeling like LESS because of it. Breathe out negativity and perfectionism. Breathe in rest, calm and peace (amidst chaos of course.) What if I just go ahead and say that no perfect people are welcome here – in my life, in my home, on this blog? Right? No perfect people. Of course, that means that you are all still welcome. That everyone is still welcome. Including myself. That means that we are off the hook a little bit. If I throw a party and it’s good, but not quite perfect, and a little off-balance, it’s okay. It’s even welcome. If you come to a girls night and your toenails aren’t painted and you have a little PB&J on your shirt, it’s okay. You are welcome here. I am welcome. If I spend the day with my kids at the pool and my hair is in a wet bun, it’s okay. I can still go out to dinner. I don’t have to be perfect to BE. There are toys that line my floor at any given point. It’s just the way my house looks right now. And, if I’m truthfully honest, it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I’m getting over it. I’m letting it go. I’m going to go ahead and choose to say that it looks happy. It looks loved. It looks like memories are being made here. Y’all! It looks happy! I’m gonna pick happy over perfect, aren’t you? I can fight it and feel terrible about it OR I can embrace it and feel happy that I have two little people filling my home with joy and toys and mess and laughter. I’m going to embrace it. The dishes are endless, the dishwasher always needs emptied, the laundry always needs folded. I’m never quite caught up. I don’t know why, but in my crazy-woman-mom-brain I’ve always felt like if I were more, if I were better, all of these things would be done. My house would be tidy. My kids would be happy. My nails would be painted. My hair would look flawless. I would always have make up on. I would shower. Every day. I wouldn’t have snot on my shoulder or food on my shirt. Gah! I’m letting it go. Because, really … it’s not making me happy. It’s stealing my happiness. I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to realize this. What makes me happy is simply being with my babies. Holding them, watching them, smelling them. Even if that means forsaking the other things, the perfection, the overall look of having it all together. Let it go! It’s time to let go of that “picture perfect” image in our heads. We tried this with the “I’m Sorries”, didn’t we? That went really well, don’t y’all think? We let THAT go. Now we need to let “picture perfect” go. It’s holding all of us #GoodEnoughMomma’s back. It’s clouding the way we see life. It doesn’t lead to the happiness that we imagine it leading to. Embracing our imperfections, our gifts, God’s beautiful plan for our lives and building from there … that leads to happy.

 

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Letting Go – No More Sorries

I’m one of those people who says “I’m sorry” too often. I’m a chronic apologizer. I don’t why. I don’t know when it started or where it came from, but it’s annoying, I know. It’s annoying ME. I’m sorry that I say, “I’m sorry” so often. Ugh. I don’t even think I’m actually apologizing TO anyone most the time. I think it’s me apologizing to ME … for not being perfect enough. I think what I really need to start with is – “Hi. My name is Lori and I’m a perfectionist. It’s a problem. Internally.” They say the first step is admitting that you have a problem, right? So, there’s my confession. Now. I’m ready. To. Let. It. Go. But, first, a purging of the Sorries…

I’m sorry that the house isn’t clean. I’m sorry that dinner isn’t ready. I’m sorry that even though I’m organized, I’m not more organized. I’m sorry that there is clutter on my counters. I’m sorry that I didn’t call you back. I’m sorry that I hate dinner-time. I’m sorry that I don’t love to cook. I’m sorry that I don’t work-out more. I’m sorry that I didn’t take you for a walk today. I’m sorry that I don’t feel like having sex tonight. I’m sorry that I don’t want to go to the playground today. I’m sorry that we don’t go to the pool every day. I’m sorry that we don’t do more crafts/baking/playing. I’m sorry that I don’t rock you to sleep. I’m sorry that my stomach isn’t flat anymore. I’m sorry that my boobs ARE flat now. I’m sorry that I let you eat so many fruit snacks. I’m sorry that I didn’t get the vacuuming done. I’m sorry that we don’t talk as much as we used to. I’m sorry that dinner isn’t ready. I’m sorry that I don’t schedule more play-dates. Sigh. I’m sorry that I just said, “I’m sorry” again…

OH my gosh! It’s a disease. Truly. It’s attacking my brain. I’m so over it. Now, how do I stop it? I’m determined. I’m breaking free, y’all. Break free with me! That bully that lives inside of my brain, that size-4-college-body-version-of-myself-that-didn’t-have-anyone-but-her-to-take-care-of bully, she’s kinda mean. She’s mean to me. It’s so past time to ditch her. Bye-bye brain bully! I’m ready. To. Let. It. Go.

My beautiful cousin, Sharon, over at MommyVerbs, is on to something pretty great. Besides “engaging each day one action verb at a time” (check out her blog – it’s a good one), she’s also declared herself a #JustOkMom. How refreshing. How … kinda awesome. To say, hey, I’m good enough. I’m enough. I’m a Good Enough Momma. I strive to be a better version of myself and I’ll keep doing that. It’s what I do. I’ll keep trying to better myself, but I can stop trying to achieve perfection. It’s unachievable. And, that’s okay. Who wants perfect, anyways?! We can stop apologizing for it and just accept it – we are never gonna be perfect. God made us all perfectly imperfect. We can stop insulting him with all the beating up on ourselves that we’ve been doing. We are on to something here, y’all! A Good Enough movement, maybe? 🙂 Maybe we can be okay being Good Enough Mommas. Maybe we can be okay being Good Enough Wives and Good Enough Friends and Good Enough Housekeepers. The list could go on. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to let it all go. I’m not saying to be a Slacker Momma. It’s hard work and we gotta keep at it. But, we don’t have to “I’m sorry” ourselves through the day. Let’s just work hard, be the good mommas that we are, get done what we get done and save the rest for another day … without apologizing. Let’s save our Sorries for when we truly need them. As Sharon says on MommyVerbs, “Let’s all, Go. Do that.”