I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. I’m very much your typical Type A, OCD, slightly (okay, highly) neurotic person. I’ve always assumed that this was an unchangeable quality of my personality, and that these qualities, while often exasperating, were somewhat endearing. And while my psychosis has proved to be amusing, even to me, I’ve recently noticed an alarming trend:
I’m no longer the only perfectionist in my house.
My middle child has thankfully inherited her dad’s laid back, go-with-the-flow, relaxed and groovy mindset. My oldest, however, is a carbon copy of yours truly. She frets, she over-analyzes, she assumes the worst case scenario in every situation. She demands absolute perfection in her herself, and insists on being in control of as much of her world as is humanly possible.
In short, she’s me. And I hate it.
Being wound up and neurotic is funny when it’s George Costanza on “Seinfeld”, but it’s not as funny when it’s your life. I hate to see my baby go through the mental acrobatics that I put myself through on a daily basis. I hate to see her beat herself up over the least little mistake, and live in a constant state of worry. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, much less my own child. But what can I do? Is this behavior just a part of her nature, or is this something that she’s learned from watching me?
In case it’s the latter, I’ve decided that I’m going to start making some changes around here. Normally “making changes” in our house means setting up a new organization system or restructuring my cleaning schedule (because, yes, there is a schedule. It’s written down and everything). I’m going to start letting things go. Instead of insisting that the kids pick up their toys as they go along, I’m going to let them make a holy mess and deal with clean up at the end of the day. Instead of fretting over dirty dishes in the sink, I’m going to let them be until after dinner. Instead of working myself into a tizzy each time something in the house is out-of-place, I’m going to let it be until the end of the day. I want to stop wasting time that could be better spent playing with my girls, getting outside, doing projects, making memories. I’m going to be more forgiving of myself and others. I’m going to relax, even if I have to schedule time to do it, even if I have to force it upon myself.
And maybe, by allowing more slack into my own life, my daughter will be able to allow some into her own. Maybe I can break the cycle before it breaks her.
So now I am going to walk past the pile of blocks in the living room, the train track set up in the hall, the lunch dishes in the sink, and the pile of laundry that needs to be folded, and I am going to play with my kids.
What do ya’ll think? Any tips to help me learn to let go?