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what being a mom has taught me about perfectionism

I am (was?) a bit of a perfectionist.  I think this title can mean a lot of different things to different people.  While I definitely wasn't the straight A's in school, leader of the cheer squad kind of perfect, I struggled with it in a different way. 

I never ever allowed myself to fail.

Can you see where this is going?  If I thought there was a chance at failure of something... I would sit it out.  I quit all sorts of things, horseback riding, karate, track.  While, given my coordination, I don't think I would have ever been a black belt, looking back I really wish I would have stuck with track.  I love running now and think my high school years could have been a lot more enjoyable had I had an outlet where I had fun, was physically active, and had some friends.  (that's a bit of a rabbit trail though).

The funny thing about being a mother is, you constantly fail, so just throw those ideas of perfect out the window at the beginning.  There have been times when I have found myself telling Jim how much I wish I could be a perfect mom and he always responds with "she doesn't need perfect, perfect is boring, she needs you."  I think the quote by Jill Churchill sums it up nicely:

"There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."

The other flip side to motherhood?  There is no quitting.  No escape route, no "well, I tried but I just don't seem cut out for it." Once you are a mom... well better put on your big girl pants cause you aren't getting out of it.  So every day, I have to learn grace, grace for my daughter and grace for myself.  I will yell, I will lose it, I get frustrated and angry, AND that's ok.

I still have worth as a mother, she still needs ME above everyone else.  The biggest failure would be to dwell on these moments.  To not treat them as they deserve to be treated: as a learning experience, yes, but a fleeting moment that has no bearing on how my daughter feels about me or how I feel about her, for that matter. 

By allowing myself to not be perfect, I am also giving Adelynn the opportunity to be failed by people and still allow them grace and love.  In doing so, she will also learn that is ok for her to fail and that she will still be loved.  What a wonderful opportunity for her to have the freedom and courage to embrace her imperfections and go after her dreams - no matter what they may be.  Such truth in knowing - it's ok to fail.

It's ok to go after dreams and have them lost, to know we will get angry and upset, to know that we fill fail the ones we love the most.  To remain in the truth, that in the midst of failure, we are still of worth and still valuable.

and just because....

she has my whole heart and in 22 months - has taught me more than I could have dreamed.  I hope you know how much I love you Adelynn.


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