Recently, an intelligent person I have incredible respect for commented on my tendency to be hard on myself. This comment made me think about this flaw which grabbed me as a child and has held on tightly. Some perfectionist mellow with age and the reins are loosened. In my case, the battle raged on into motherhood.
Many great moms told me to relax, let things go and give myself a break. I didn’t listen. Maybe after a decent night of sleep and formal proclamation I could have grasped the idea and understood such sage advice. “Welcome to motherhood! You won’t need all of that baggage. Nature Valley makes granola just as good, those breakable Pottery Barn-esque accessories are choking hazards, and no one really notices sticky handprints on glass doors.” Instead, I constantly chased my version of flawless and, no surprise, I’ve never caught it. Taking heed would have made the early years of motherhood so much easier. No, I continued to make granola, pick up toys every hour, group accessories higher, and then higher still. I obsessed over the handprints. As more children arrived in the yellow house, I ironed tiny t-shirts, and planned meticulously-themed birthday parties complete with homemade cupcakes (which went straight into the trash can). I volunteered … for everything.
As children grew in numbers greater than the sum of their parents I began to let things slip. I recycled more volunteer sheets than I returned. The ironing board was in the closet, and I placed wrinkled but smoothed clothes into drawers. There was dust where energy efficient bulbs allowed it to be missed. Chips on my white trim remained chips on my white trim. I felt guilty. I felt I had failed.
Kindly that same intelligent someone drew a parallel I was able to really understand. Sharing my passion for cooking and love of food, she knows if my parsnips have many legs, the parsley leaves are occasionally yellow and the potatoes wear clumps of dirt; I couldn’t be more pleased.