Tuesday, 13 March 2012

My Biggest Critic

I want to be the Mum who never yells - who keeps her cool in all circumstances and patiently teaches her children. I want to have a tidy house, an empty washing basket and cook fabulously nutritious meals every day. I want to hang out all the clothes to air-dry - even when it's been raining for two months and the garage is cluttered with washing rails.


I want to be the perfect wife - always having the energy and love to car for my husband as he deserves. I want to enthusiastically teach my children about God - to help them to be excited about knowing Him. I want to make meals for other people, help other mums with new babies, maintain all of my friendships and do a fantastic job of running our playgroup. I want to play games and do craft with my kids, even when I'm totally exhausted and would rather plop them in front of the TV.


But the truth is, I cannot be my "ideal" woman. I've been chasing her for so long, trying to be her, criticising myself for not being her. Then last night, when I was talking to Franky about this, he told me that she doesn't exist. Now that may sound obvious to you, but it gave me a real wake-up call! I spend so much time "doing stuff", chasing the Mummy that I want to be, but the reality never lives up to the dream. The reality is that Mr Sociable would prefer me to give him a vegemite and cheese sandwich for prep than to bake him muffins or banana bread. He would rather that we sit and play together than me spending time cooking/sewing for him. The reality is that my house will never be spotless - not if I want to enjoy time with my kids and find time to sleep at night. The reality is that sometimes I yell at my kids and I'm selfish, rather than loving, towards my family.

I am not the ideal housewife and I am my own fiercest critic. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do differently now that I've had this great revelation - but it's definitely something I need to think more about and make some decisions about what things I should let go.

Are you a perfectionist? How do you go about making realistic expectations for yourself?

11 comments:

/Karen/ said...

I've realized recently that one of the reasons I always feel judged and criticized is that my mum is a hugely critical person. I don't remember anything she said when I was growing up, but now that I have a child, I notice what she says a lot more--eg "You shouldn't give your child [insert name of food] because [insert silly reason]" or "I really don't think you should have bought her X, Y or Z" etc. I think perhaps her continual criticism over the years led me to develop a perfectionist streak. Would you say that something similar has happened to you?

Jess@Diary of a SAHM said...

I think the problem is that we think all the other mums are just like how we would want to be. We don't see other people yell at their kids, or when their house is a bomb site, or when they have ordered mcdonalds for the third time that week. And often people don't tell us that either. We are so busy living up to this ridiculous example, cause we think that's what everyone should be doing, but it's not.

Just be yourself Erin, I realised just recently that worship is me being who God made me to be, which may not be the best housekeeper, or a pastry chef. But I have a lot of good qualities and when I am using those for His glory, he his honored, and everything is so much better. Xxx

Veronica @ Mixed Gems said...

I definitely have perfectionist tendencies. I've had to keep reminding myself that good enough is good enough a lot of the time. I don't often have the time or energy to be "perfect" and it's an illusion anyway. It creates way too much stress. I am still learning how to change but I think letting go and making do is something I've had to learn to live with.

Julie said...

Agree with Jess. We all think the other mums are "perfect" and "just how we want to be". I can really relate to these thoughts of inadequacy or chasing after perfection. Sometimes I think reading other blogs makes that worse - of course, we're not posting pictures on our blogs of when the kids are watching TV, or when we're yelling at them or when we're serving eggs on toast for dinner!

I think another thing for me is that I see my role at home as God-given (which it is) and my main 'job' and I want to do it well - at least as well as I would do a paid job (actually better). That leads to more pressure on both me and my kids. Not that I think there is anything wrong with wanting to do a good job - but it is good to recognise when God's grace comes in!

Misha - TheBlingBuoy said...

Strangely enough this concept has been stuck in my mind all morning (even at playgroup when I should have been enjoying it more). The clincher is... how to move past it. I guess acknowledging it is the first step. Great post.

My Mummy Daze said...

Oh wow, this is such a good post. It's so easy to feel inadequate and feel like you're failing because you're not living up to impossible ideals. I struggle with this from time to time, but for the most part I've lowered my standards and accept I just can't balance all the balls the way I want to.

MsMandie said...

I totally agree. We're our harshest critics. It doesn't come naturally to give ourselves a break - which is crazy when you think about it!! I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels like this sometimes. Really enjoyed your post :)

Janet said...

Oh yeah, I hear ya ... and the times I give in and forget about being "perfect" are always when we get unexpected visitors and the house looks like a pigsty!!!

Naomi M said...

Totally with you Erin. The thing that concerns me most is that I also project my perfectionism on to those I care most about, namely hubby and kids. I can see how this has hurt those relationships (am I being a perfectionist in this analysis?).

Erin @ Lohtown Life said...

From ROBYN at SLIGHTLY MORE DEPTH THAN A TEASPOON:
I totally hear you! I really have to watch myself on my perfectionist tendancies too. I love what your husband said- that woman does not exist.... we need to remember that :)

Erin @ Lohtown Life said...

 Yep, he's a wise man :)

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