December 12, 2011

Letting Go: Perfection

Despite daily efforts of practicing mindfulness (emphasis on the word "effort"), I have a lot of trouble with letting go.  I'm human, after all (shocking, I know), but I'm thinking about posting from time to time about my struggles with letting go of stuff.  Not things like baby clothes and never-worn shoes, but of attachments to ideas, habits, petty annoyances, and character flaws.

One such thing that has been burdening my mind of late, well, really, of years, has been this need for perfection.  Perfection in our home with tidiness and order, perfection in keeping Soren in line, perfection in action, like saying or doing the right thing at the right time.  It's exhausting, and more pointedly, frustrating, but each day I still hop on that trick pony and keep up the act.  It's a habit that I SO want to let go of.

But the truth is, I'm an utter failure at achieving it; pursing it, I'm pretty good, but perfection is so fleeting that it frustrates me.  The house, though clean and orderly for all of 5 minutes, soon becomes sticky and toy-strewn.

Just today, I was visiting a friend who insisted that I sit down, relax, let the boys play, though every ounce of my being was wanting to hover, making sure my boy didn't destroy the place.  He was certainly in the mode of doing so.  I sometimes forget that, well, he's three, and he's a boy.  His energy is overwhelming to a slug like myself.  However, I really did try to mindfully let go of fussing over his every move, and then sat with my back to the kids.  Yeah, they made a mess with playdough littering the floor (and walls!), but they had fun.  And I even encouraged S to jump in an icy puddle on the way home.  Why not?  We were just walking back, and he could take off his shoes when we got inside.

One day at a time, breath by breath, I tell myself.  Who knows what craziness with ensue tomorrow, maybe we'll rearrange the furniture or ice skate on paper plates around the kitchen.  But you can be sure that I'll be still working on letting go.


  1. If you're ever going to learn to relax your standards, it'll be now because you have two. Cut yourself some slack, girl!

  2. That's something I struggle with daily. Along with patience ... coincidence? I think not.

    Good for you for recognizing that you can loosen the reigns.

  3. Ice skate on paper plates? Totally going to try that with the girls tomorrow..I love it!

  4. Oh man, I know what you mean. I constantly struggle with thinking that my house should be beautiful and orderly. Really, it is so far from it. But, I really want it to be that way...I guess I imagine that everyone else's house is a show place. I know that's not true..but I have a couple of friends..just 2, who's house is always perfect. How do they do it? So, I guess I feel like I should be able to do it too. thing..neither of these friends has any hobbies, or does crafts, or sews or, I'm thinking that is the issue here. I do all of I blog. I am spending time doing fun stuff...which, I should be cleaning, right???? See?!

  5. I commend you for writing this post. With four little ones myself, I've had to relearn this many times. It can be hard accepting that we can't do it all--especially as crafting, blogging mamas! Sometimes the best thing we can do for our kids is just enjoy them, and forget about their messy room (at least every once in a while)!

  6. I have no doubt that your house is cleaner and more welcoming than mine… certainly more color-coordinated! You do have high standards and while the toddler years kind of suck for that, I am sure that the boys will appreciate your eye for detail in years to come.

  7. I must say now that 2 out of 4 of my kids are off to college, "perfect" is a word that has got to be kept in perspective; your OWN perspective!! Many times I would worry about the house being dirty when the kids' friends would come over and they would tell me so and so's house was always waaay messier than our house, Mom! They only clean up when you come over... Oftentimes, people that have those shining clean houses also have forms of OCD or close to it and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

    Relax, enjoy your time with the sticky kids because it doesn't last long and you will have plenty of time when they turn into teenagers and start leaving all the time to do more of the organizing and cleaning and upkeep that you want to do. This time I can honestly say it really is just a phase, lol!

  8. I'm right there with you Kathleen-I'm a perfectionist through and through and I, too, have a hard time with letting things go. Especially when it comes to schooling O.o

    You do have to just catch yourself and FORCE yourself to just relax and take a few deep breathes.

    It's not easy by any means, but it's definitely one of those work in progress type deals.

    Like you said, one day at a time :)


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