Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I'm not a perfectionist. Surprised? I know, the open cabinet doors, the pictures of my messy house and messier children probably clued you in.

The thing is, I think I used to be. I think I used to be a perfectionist, rather Type-A, pretty confrontational, and I think I rarely backed down from a fight.

Now, I can't even tell you how many nights I go to bed and the last conscious word floating in my brain is, "Whatever."

Here's the thing I'm learning about mommies and perfectionism. We're all supposed to talk a big slacking game:

"I'm not a perfectionist."
"My house is a wreck."
"I fed the kids hot dogs four times this week."

But, then, we're supposed to surprise the world, beat the odds, when (whoops, who knew?) we pull it all together and whip up a batch of perfection in our clean kitchen. People get rather uncomfortable when they figure out you really

aren't a perfectionist.
haven't vacuumed in weeks.
fed the kids hot dogs four times this week.

(for example)

So, first I want to say, that honestly, I am not a perfectionist. Just ask Ben and my parents who cleaned my kitchen while I practically dissolved in a heap of tears on the kitchen floor.

Like I said, I used to be, but that's because when I was younger, my life was full of things I was good at. Hence, it was easy to be a perfectionist.

Today, my life consists of absolutely nothing that comes naturally for me. Except watching tv, and I'm failing at that right now because I don't have cable at the moment. To stay sane, I threw perfectionism out the window.

That's why - my house is messy, my kids are dirty, they eat hot dogs, I have company coming for dinner and haven't started cooking, etc.

But, that's also why I sew. Because it doesn't matter to me that I stink at it - it's still kind of fun.
It's why I decorate my kid's birthday cakes - because they're going to eat my mistakes anyway. It's why I take graphic design classes - because I know I have a lot to learn. It's why I'm always cooking new meals - because it's more fun to mess up new things than eat the same old thing over and over again.

I'm writing this post because nap time is almost over and I'm staring at lunch dishes stacked on the counter where I need to be cooking dinner, and a broken sewing machine that I don't know how to fix because I barely knew how to use the thing in the first place, and a half-finished tablecloth than I need to have finished tonight because company is coming and my table is an unfinished piece of particle board with footprints on it, and it won't get finished because my sewing machine is broken and I don't have time to figure that out because I have to go wash the lunch dishes so I can cook dinner.

I am writing this post because I need a pep talk. I need to remind myself that it's okay if I get a lot of things most of the way done and some things not at all done and maybe one thing completed. Because while things have been falling apart around here, I will at least have dirt cake for dessert.

I may not be a perfectionist, but I do have my priorities straight.


Tina Harriman said...

You don't know me but I have been following your blog and I just love this post and had to tell you!!! As I type this I have a towel wrapped aroudn my head...I can't even accopmlish getting dressed toda so you are not alone. Haha. I adopted independently from Rwanda 2 years ago. Hope all goes well for you, I'll be reading the blog to check on your progress!

Tina Harriman said...

Okay just had to comment one more time... as I hit the "publish your post" button I flinched because I didn't proofread what I wrote and low and behold 2 typos stare back at me...perfectionist.???..clearly NOT!!!

Abby said...

Oh, Sus. I so understand how you're feeling -- I have always been a perfectionist. But I'm finding that motherhood and perfectionism do not mix. My house is a mess, my kid has been wearing the same sleeper for two days (and hasn't had a bath in four days), and I had hot dogs yesterday (and probably will again tomorrow).

You're not alone. :)

Sarah said...

I was at a friend's house recently, and I was a little shocked at how messy is was. And then I was profoundly comforted. I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!
I'm with you sweetheart.
-Desperately trying to dig out before family comes.

Elizabeth Koproski said...

if you were perfect, I wouldn't want to be around you! :) who would?

Morgan said...

And let me tell you... That dirt cake was good!!!!! Troy said he wanted seconds but didn't want to be that guy...'s amazing how beautiful imperfections are!!!