The chase of perfection

becca-and-scrappyLast week I discussed the quest for perfection. Now I had intended to answer some of my own questions about this subject and reflect on how much I have improved in this area of my life. But then came the past seven days and suddenly I am looking at this insatiable need in me and I am beginning to understand it just a little more clearly.

I am a mother to two fantastic daughters. One is in her first year of college and the other is getting married in a few short weeks. The wedding is a big deal; out of town guests, showers, many hours planning and making bouquets and center pieces, stretching dollars till they break and so much more. In the middle of this chaos I also have two dogs whom I love. One is aging much quicker than I want and another who is my youngest daughter’s best buddy has been sick off and on the past few years but there is a surgery to fix the problem and he should be all better…or so we thought.

Last week I got him groomed and all ready to meet with the surgeon and get things taken care of. Then comes the bad news. It will cost many thousands to try to fix his problem. Secondly, there is only about a 50% chance it will even work. Now as I said I am a single mother with one getting married and another in college. I am wearing shoes with holes and stretching pennies in more ways than I can count. There is no option here. I just cannot do it.

So now this mother who wants everything to be wonderful for my children has to tell my tender-hearted, loving child that I have to put her dog down. His condition is deteriorating and he is often in severe pain and it breaks my heart listening to his cries. The only thing worse right now is seeing the pain in my daughter as she faces this realization.

I just wish so much that I was perfect. Not for myself. Not for the accolades. Not for any legacy or pat on the back. I simply wish I was perfect so I could make my daughters’ lives perfect.

As parents we want the best for our children but we know it is impossible and often those hardships bring growth and maturity for them. But sometimes, no matter how old they are, they are still our babies and we just want to dry their tears and make things perfect.

But we can’t.

 

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Pressure to be perfect

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What if I fail?

What if I let people down?

What if I can’t keep it all together?

What if…?

Without ever realizing it I have taken these questions to heart throughout my life.

My father died when I was young and I was the only sibling still at home. My mom needed me. She needed me to make sure she took care of herself. She needed me to move heavy items. She needed me to figure out how to hook up the VCR. (Yes I am dating myself here). She needed me to take care of the yard. She needed me.

I married the man of my dreams. Or so I thought. He was kind and gentle, but not the take charge kind of person. I believed we were a perfect fit. I would support him, raise our kids, and work on our fixer upper, which never truly got fixed up. I encouraged him to follow his dreams and we built our life together.  He needed me.

We all have these types of stories in our lives.  Sure there are different relationships, different circumstances but when all that is stripped away, we as women need to feel needed.

Why?

Being needed fulfills a part of us which craves acknowledgement, appreciation, success.  Maybe this is more common in women who are not climbing the corporate ladder. I will have to let you tell me. But the women I see are working outside the home, taking the kids to dance recitals, arranging sleepovers and planning the church fundraiser.

We push ourselves to do it all; mom, wife, taxi service, employee, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, organizer…the list goes on. But why do we do it?

We fear REJECTION,
                 want ATTENTION,
                              crave AFFECTION,
                                          dream of PERFECTION. 

I am taking some online courses to challenge myself and pad my resume which lacks formal education and I find myself challenged by the desire to get perfect scores.

My daughter is getting married in a few short weeks and I am stressing over the details wanting everything to be perfect; for her and the guests.

I have dogs and therefore I have hair on my floors, my couch, everywhere! Everyone who knows me, knows this. Yet I rush to vacuum when I know someone is coming over and try to make my house look like a magazine. 

I really fail here. 

Worst yet is when I do host events I am always apologizing for the way things look or taste, all while people are giving me compliments. Even when I do succeed I have trouble accepting it.

All of this doing for others, keeping up appearances, trying to make everyone else happy; it takes its toll on me emotionally and physically.

Why am I so afraid of not being perfect?