No one has to convince me not to try to be perfect. Okay, I do have perfectionist tendencies in some areas, but when I read about mothers having epiphanies that they don’t need to keep the house spotless, I feel like I am living on some other planet. One with lots of spots.
My floors get vacuumed fairly often, but they are so dirty my daughter’s white socks are permanently light brown on the bottom. And that’s even with her taking them off and walking around barefoot half the time. There is always stuff on the floor. “Done with it? Drop it!” appears to be our family motto.
Reading Chapter Five of Renee Peterson Trudeau’s Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal at first glance didn’t do anything to make me feel any better, or to inspire me to slack on my expectations. It actually made me feel kind of bad that I really don’t hold myself to very high standards – I let plenty go! – and I still feel frustrated!
Yes, I would like my home to be a lovely place of beauty. Yes, I would like my kids to grow up with respect for their toys and to learn to treat things with reverence rather than refuse. These things are about values, not because I feel like I have to reach for some externally-defined sense of perfection.
A large part of the desire to renovate the house next door came from an interest in re-imagining home: figuring out what doesn’t work and finding creative solutions to make it work when the template is closer to blank.
Yes, I would really like to get this right. But that’s so that I can actually enjoy the place I spend so much time because it looks pretty and feels calm. Not because I think I “should.” I know I can breathe better with space.
I seek beauty for its own sake, not out of some external sense of necessity. But still, beauty — living in it, creating it, appreciating it — proves elusive amid all the other things there are to do just to exist.
I make all my food from scratch, not because I fear the organic police will give me a bad consumer citation but because I will get sick if I don’t.
I live without caffeine and chocolate and chocolate, not because I’m depriving myself but because their negative impact on my health will be keenly and quickly felt.
Everything I do is purposeful, and yet nothing seems to actually get done.
Last May, when I wrote about the book Good Enough is the New Perfect, I felt freed by the idea that many things I saw as conflicts were not really conflicts. It was a matter of perspective. Yippee! I could change my reality by changing the way I looked at it!
Well, now these different pulls/commitments/desires/needs really do feel like conflicts. Because I simply have got to sleep more or I will never get well. That eats into time I could be pursuing another leisure activity, or meaningful work, or cleaning the home. And it’s hard to feel like doing any of those when your energy is so low. I know it’s time to seek another healthcare practitioner, but I haven’t been able to find the time or energy to do that research. One bright spot is that I emailed a friend who had adrenal fatigue and was on the GAPS diet for a long time, and she said sure, she could chat with me. And Ann Marie at Cheeseslave, having kindly already responded to a comment of mine on her GAPS Diet Myths post, wrote me this week that she’d soon post the question I sent her on an upcoming Sunday Q&A.
Really, I want some giant healing hand to pick me up and hold me safe while, with its other hand, it pushes a pause button so I don’t have to miss out on my children’s lives, my friends’ lives, my home project, my pursuits.
But there is only one now, and if sleeping and breathing and mindfully eating are tops on the agenda, that’s just what I have to do.
I need to be my own giant hand.
Share with me your self-care secrets!