I laughed at the OBGYN’s office when they notified me that my blood type was A+. Of course it was. I would be disappointed with anything less. I have always been a high achiever and my standards for myself are far higher than I would ever have for anyone else. I was pregnant with my first son and with the expectations of motherhood. At the time, I was an elementary school teacher. I had already undergone tremendous stress trying to attain an unrealistic expectation of what teaching and learning would look like in my room. 22 individual personalities other than my own had different plans. And it was far from perfect. Somehow we all survived and somehow managed to learn something (myself included). There were times I wasn’t so sure.
Flash forward almost 3 years. I now have a two year old. I thought 22 five and six year olds were difficult. What was I thinking? It was child’s play. Not just because being a parent is that demanding and exhausting (it is though), and teaching truly is one of the most challenging endeavors one could ever attempt. No, I have brought this on myself because of the unrealistic expectations I have created.
I breastfed too long. I went to him too much in the night. I didn’t go to him that one time and I am still worried about the lasting impact. I chose to work. He was constantly sick in daycare. I chose to stay home, he might not get enough social interaction. I take him to play groups, he gets sick again. Cycle, repeat. Oh, and don’t even get me started on my house-keeping abilities (that would be a whole other post).
It is no wonder that social media is abuzz with vlogs and blogs and podcast galore of mommy satire. We are eating this stuff up. Why? Because we are also getting a buttload of how-tos for the perfect mommy. We are in mom groups with people who have the answer to everything. I probably have been that mom, but I am too tired to remember. I mean, it is all out of a place of love. We all want to share wisdom in the form of helpful advice, but in those sleep-deprived early days, tantrum toddler days or these kids/teens make me want to pull my hair out days, it misses the mark.
But perfection has halted me more than just education, career and parenthood. I find myself not starting things. Things will never and can never live up to my unrealistic expectations, so I don’t begin. It’s not failing if you don’t try…Nope, I can’t even pretend it is an excuse. Don’t get me wrong, a wailing baby or a hungry toddler take precedence over everything, but unless you are a Duggar and having 20+ kids, it won’t last forever. I am really feeling influenced by many wonderful podcast lately to start somewhere. For now, a blog. For the future, who knows?
What I am certain of is that I am ready to stop letting my need for things to be perfect be my excuse. I am ready to embrace my inner Miss Frizzle and “Get dirty and make mistakes”. I won’t know what I am capable of until I take a leap.