Becoming a parent completely throws a perfectionist for a loop. I use the term “perfectionist parent” in the sense of someone who has always been a perfectionist and has become a parent. I do not mean it in the sense that I expect to be the end all/be all in parenting or that my children must be perfect little robots. I’ve remarked in past posts about my OCD/perfectionist tendencies but, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better at realizing that pretty much no one cares about certain things as much as I do. I’ve also learned to let some things go. This, however, does not mean that I don’t still get irritated,itchy, or anxious from time to time. I’m not perfect (GASP!) but my brain certainly tries to be. There are 4 areas I’ve found that are my “triggers” or things that make me get all hot and tight chested. If you’re a perfectionist parent like myself, I know you’ll totally understand!
Messes – They’re everywhere. Always. Day and night. Do we teach our children about cleaning up, of course we do. Do they do it willingly? Hardly ever. Toys, food, clothes they are always anywhere but where they are suppose to be. This is just a fact of parenting that everyone has to embrace but it’s one that I don’t find easy. I’ve tried the clean up when it’s time for bed. I’ve tried to teach my boys to clean up as they go or when they are done with a certain toy. It’s a daily battle and I’m just a sitting duck watching the chaos accumulate around me. (Too dramatic? Don’t care.)
There’s also the fact that even though everything is labeled, things don’t always end up in the right place. Totally minor, I know, but I didn’t say that I was rational about this. Most of the time I say forget it, get them to bed and do it myself. Nope, this does not teach them anything other than “mommy will clean up our messes for us” but sometimes, it makes me feel better and a happy mommy is better than a crazy mommy. Speaking of crazy…
Going Out In Public – I’m not talking about being afraid of the outdoors or people or anything like that. I’m talking tantrums. They are inevitable. They are an essential part of toddlerhood. A rite of passage in motherhood if I’m honest.
HOWEVER, if looks could kill. When you’re the one with the screaming kiddo in the cart, on the floor, hanging by the arm, it’s awful. There’s not a shade of red I haven’t turned. I just don’t want to be THAT parent because regardless if the people giving nasty looks have ever had kids, they seem to forget that kids are tiny crazy people. They have to be taught manners and to not shout in public and that you don’t always get your way. (Let’s be real, there are some adults out there that could use a refresher course…just sayin’.) And these lessons take time. So please excuse me while I continue to try to calm my toddler down who’s mad that I won’t let him sit in the big part of the cart while I grocery shop. Also, please don’t judge me while I hand him my phone so he’ll be quiet.
Independence – This one is probably the hardest one for me. Why? Because when kids are learning THEY DON’T DO IT RIGHT!
Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let me explain. We MUST teach our children to be independent. We WANT them to be independent. I don’t want to do everything for my children and have them be waiting for me to pick out their jammies or feed them when they’re 18. Since they are perfectly capable of doing just about everything for themselves, they should.
But why is this hard for the perfectionist parent? It goes back to the messes and things needing to be done “right”. When I let my toddler eat his spaghetti, red sauce and all, by himself, it has the potential to go anywhere. You never know, it could end up on the ceiling and I usually always find some in his hair. (Why?!) When I let my 6 year old clean his room unsupervised or make his bed or fold a pile of blankets, it’s not going to be done as it would if I did it. Horrible mindset, I acknowledge this. I definitely recognize this about myself and have made great strides in letting my boys be more independent. Next step for me is teaching Gav to help with the laundry. Pray for both of us!
Glitter/Play-Doh/Slime/Paint – This may be more of a general dislike for most parents but, for the love, this stuff doesn’t come out of ANYTHING! Thank goodness for the wonderful world of Pinterest and Google searches for all the cleaning hacks. (FYI – vinegar gets slime out of carpet. You’re welcome.) Thankfully my boys have pretty much zero interest in glitter. They see it and don’t really care. Play-Doh and slime however, well, I’ve come up with some solutions for my crazy OCD self. Play-Doh has been deemed an outdoor activity and slime is to be played with on the table on a big plastic platter. Both give them plenty of playing room and mommy stays calm. Paint can also be done outside or I cover everything in plastic. Whatever works, right?
What about you? Any of these drive you crazy? If not, please, oh please, tell me your secrets!