Monday, December 14, 2009
What's My Problem?
I just read an article (you can view it here) that really brought things home for me. It talks about parenting being a struggle for perfectionists. Yep, that's me.
See, I've spent the last 15 months beating myself up. I feel guilty for every little thing I do. On many occasions I have been in tears because I haven't spent my day working around my daughter, expecting her to work around me instead. Maybe she didn't have a nap because I took her Christmas shopping, or she came down with a cold because I put her into childcare with other germy kids while I did some work, or she cried while I took a shower in peace. It might sound stupid, but I really struggle with those things. If a moment goes by where I don't put her first, I get pretty stressed.
I know, it sounds stupid. Unfortunately, it's just the way I am. I like to aim to be the best (I like to say this is perfectionism, but some cynics could call it competitiveness), and so parenting has been a big adjustment for me. Some people seem to take to it naturally, and in some ways I do. But it's so completely different to anything I've done before. Think about school, university, work - if you work hard and be the best, you'll be rewarded. Parenting - nope, it's not about achieving more. I mean, how can you be the best mother? There is no benchmark, there are no tangible results, no reports or appraisals resulting in pay-rises, nothing to compare with.
I tend to over-analyse things, think too much and aim for perfection in general. The logical part of my brain knows that I am a better mother when I just RELAX (but let me figure that one out for myself; tell me to relax at your own risk!). But then another section of my mind kicks in and I start researching everything, thinking about it all and analysing myself.
Is there an answer to this problem? Probably not (this is not very satisfactory to a perfectionist). Maybe it's all just about muddling our way through. And at the end of each day, being satisfied with the best result there is: a happy, healthy child who has had some fun. Oh, and a glass of wine...
Posted at 10:27 AM