Saturday, August 15, 2009

Perfection and Parenting don't mix

I've wanted to be a mother my whole life. As far back as I can remember I fantasized about what it would be like to be a mom. I am the oldest of four children. Anyone out there who is the oldest in their family knows, you spend your life parenting your younger siblings anyway, so you're naturally conditioned for parenthood right?? Well, this was my thought process.
I'm a perfectionist and control freak by nature. I hate making mistakes and beat myself up when I do. I am constantly striving for perfection in my life. How unhealthy is this?? For my fellow perfectionists/control freaks out there, we all know that perfection is impossible! Yet, we continue the day to day struggle to reach for it, secretly knowing that we will never achieve it. To add insult to injury, we beat ourselves up for not achieving it! What the hell? I mean, its a vicious cycle. I like to think that I have perfected the technique of providing the illusion of perfection.
What does this have to do with motherhood? EVERYTHING! My fantasy of what motherhood would be, continued through my first pregnancy. I had visions of taking walks in the park with my perfectly clean, perfectly dressed child smiling and giggling at the scenery. Me, looking great with my hair and makeup just so, feeling like life couldn't get any better. I imagined being able to put her in her play pin outside while I planted flowers in the garden on a breezy summer day. Boy was I in for a rude awakening!
Motherhood hit me like a mac truck!! For some reason, my pre-motherhood fantasies never included things like sleep deprivation, colic or emotional breakdowns. I had no Idea my self image would be altered so much. I never fantasized that I would have chronic hemorrhoids from giving birth or stretch marks that cover my belly like some crazy art deco painting. Not to mention things like my boobs being lop sided from nursing so much or having NO desire for sex what so ever! Maybe by naturally blocking these visions from our subconscious, this is God's way of insuring the continuation of the human race.
Don't get me wrong, I love my children! they are my life. I just wish I would have had more realistic expectations of what motherhood was really going to be like. If I could go back, I wouldn't change having my children for anything! I would however, work on conditioning myself for the journey ahead. I still expect way too much from myself. I, like many women, fall victim to the image society expects us to portray. I compare it to an addiction of sorts. Its like constantly trying to loose weight and having a cheese cake dangling in front of your face everywhere you go! The more I try to condition my perfectionist self to strive more for realization, I have society and the media telling me "You can and should do it all"!! and if you don't, you are less of a woman/parent. I consider myself kind of a cross between Brie and Lynette (from Desperate Housewives). See, there I go again! AHHHHHH! Will I ever be able to make peace with myself? Will the day come where I can step over a pile of toys on the floor and not feel guilty for not picking them up? I feel horribly guilty if I skip story time at night because I'm too tired. I worry that I'm permanently damaging there future education. What is wrong with me!

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