Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Perfectionists?

GG and I share an interesting trait: we both have discovered we struggle with a need for control and a desire for things in our lives to be as close to our ideas of perfection as possible. Understanding, of course, that perfection does not in fact exist--this notion is the idea that we have of how things in our worlds should look, feel and be scheduled; the neatness of the packaging we desire to present and the order we desire to create.

Converse to this desire that we share is another commonality: we are both mothers to boys with completely different personalities from each other, but who share ties in the acute refusal to be controlled. You can imagine the resulting conundrum; the tenacious push against the "pish-posh-perfect" (a phrase my son coined) environments we try to create. It is manifested in the form of scattered clothing, toys, video games and art supplies and an unspoken refusal to be neat. It appears in a stream of questions about "why?" and whispers disagreement to the explanations that are given. They love us, respect us--but will openly and honestly proclaim that they just don't understand us! They are hard where we are soft, messy where we are neat, adventurous where we are cautious and wise beyond their years.

The result? There was a layer of guilt that would cover us each time our boys made a decision that we wished they wouldn't have; we found ourselves questioning our level of parental dedication every time they made a mistake--completely forgetting what we tell ourselves about our own mistakes: that they're meant to be learned from. Their innocent defiance was becoming a perceived chip in the facade we'd built that encompassed the way we wished to be seen, and a betrayal of the type of mothers we wished to be.

What we have now come to realize (after much soul-searching, prayer, meditation and many tearful conversations) is that in parenting these two strong personalities, they can be disciplined, guided, instructed and coached--but they cannot be controlled. As we impart knowledge, we are forced to accept that we cannot ultimately decide what they will do with it, nor can we predict the corresponding choices that will be made by them now, or as they grow older. More than that, we are learning that this does not make us horrible mothers. It just makes us mothers; this struggle is not ours alone, nor is it any different than what our own mothers went through with us. It is up to us to simply set a strong example and remember that the rest is out of our hands.


CJ said...

Great Post. I understand totally. I have one of those boys as well. Even though I am more like him that my other children.

I myself have been analyzing and investigating this whole thing of perfection and guilt. So many of us moms really suffer from it. IN many ways it can debilitate us, even if it is only temporarily.

Thanks for the follow (and comment) on killing superwoman. Following you back.


Chic Mommy, Cool Kid said...

Thanks so much CJ, for letting us know that we aren't the only ones!I hope that as mothers we can continue to dialogue and help each other through all those moments of insecurity and doubt.

Post a Comment

RSS Feed Like us in Facebook follow me!