Recovering Perfectionists Unite!

I need to do ___________ to be enough.

Hello, my name is Sharon. I am a recovering perfectionist with Type A personality and OCD. The list of things my mind could easily put in the blank above is endless. Perhaps you find yourself constantly wondering if you are enough as well. 

Do you often strive to stick to routines and keep everything in order? 

Do you equate derailed plans with a “bad day,” or even worse, being a “bad mom?”  

Does your joy slip away whenever chaos or messes occur?

When you’re a perfectionist you want everything to fit in a box.

The problem is, children were never meant to fit in boxes. 

Being organized is not a bad thing. Be efficient with routines is generally good for you. Trust me, I could not survive as a twin mom if I wasn’t able to plan ahead, multi-task, and try and keep some level of routine. The issue arises when perfectionism becomes our guiding compass.

When we guard our own comforts and agendas, we fail to protect the one thing actually worth guarding…the magic of childhood. 

How to Let Go of Perfectionism

For me, this was an upheaval of my life…I had TWINS. I stepped into motherhood already outnumbered (when Daddy is at work) and that was a game changer.

No amount of planning, prepping, or praying would keep two tiny humans on my “schedule.” At first, it nearly broke me. My husband would come home to all three of us crying. I felt defeated. I didn’t feel like I was enough. Something had to change.

  1. Realize that MOTHERHOOD and PERFECTIONISM cannot (and should not) coexist.
    Take the scorecard and shred it. Stop the habit of evaluating yourself every day based on your children’s tantrums at the grocery story, whether dinner ended up in their bellies or on the wall, or whether you managed to even get dressed today.  If you evaluate your worth based on performance measures, what are you teaching your children to do?
    Write it on the mirror, an index card, wherever… that you are enough. You are enough because Christ has made you enough.
  2. Become OK with saying “NO.”
    If you do not become comfortable with saying “NO,” than you won’t be able to say “YES” when it really matters. You cannot please everyone, nor should you. You have to say “No” sometimes to plans or extra-curricular activities. You have to say “No” to yourself, for wanting to make sure your house is “spotless” for so-and-so to visit. You may have to say “No” to always being on time or answering phone calls and texts in a timely manner.You have to say “NO” to feeling guilty for not meeting everyone else’s needs all the time. There is so much freedom in “No” because it allows us to say “Yes,” and really mean it.
  3. Understand that PERFECTIONISM is actually MANIPULATION
    Yes, trying to be perfect is actually manipulation in disguise.If I do _____, then ______ will happen.
    If I get my kids to behave, then people will think I am a good mom.
    If I keep my house clean, then I will feel like I accomplished enough for the day.
    You are doing an action in order to get an expected outcome. That is a form of manipulating your environment, your spouse, or your kids. When we put it that way, it is easier to see the ugliness of it.
    Brene Brown
  4. Vulnerability slays Perfectionism
    People often think “showing weakness means your weak.” That is a lie.
    HIDING weakness is weakness.
    When we strive to be perfect, we are really just letting shame and fear win.
  5. Our children do not need moms that have it altogether. They need moms that understand they don’t need to be perfect.

  6. I make it a habit to pray out loud in front of my girls and tell them that “Mommy needs help” or “Mommy doesn’t have the answers for this.”
  7. I will never require perfection from my children, and it all starts with refusing to require it from myself. Cling to JOY: NO BIG DEALS ALLOWED
    When we commit to reminding ourselves that most things are not actually a big deal, joy comes so much easier.In 2017, every single member of my family had a near death experience, or two. Libby almost didn’t come home from the NICU, twice. Lani became unresponsive and was hospitalized for severe dehydration at 10 months old. Then my husband was hit by an 18-wheeler and smashed between two cars.
  8. Hopefully it doesn’t take almost losing your people to realize this:

  9. If you have each other at the end of the day…it was a good day!

  10. No matter what!

  11. Give yourself the gift of being imperfect this holiday season!

  12. So when you plan a family photoshoot that you are SUPER excited for, and then it starts raining and your toddlers tantrum…you can genuinely laugh. NO BIG DEAL!
    IMG_0952

Remember,

You are enough.

Shred your scorecard.

Perfectionism is holding on to SHAME and FEAR.  So instead, cling to JOY and FREEDOM.

Are you also a recovering perfectionist? Please comment and share with us how you have kicked feeling shackled to the curb!

To read related articles, click the links below:

The Anthem of the Abused

Finding Balance in the Chaos of Motherhood by Amanda Fagan

The OTHER “Sex Talk”

Photography by Deb Evans Photography

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