Before kids and honestly, even almost up until I had my second child, my Type A personality led to toxic perfectionism in my life. I wasn’t aware of my unrealistically high, perfect standards being detrimental. I thought I simply had boundaries and standards and was adult enough to be aware of them and strive to live according to them.
Boy, was I way off the mark.
Scheduling works for me. I’m a planner through and through, both with my physical planner and the calendar app on my phone. (Excessive, I know, but bear with me). I thrive on routines, and honestly, my kids do, too, so these are essentially my lifeline. I want nothing more than a clean house, things organized and put in their place at the end of the day, and nothing makes me happier than clear communication even if it takes a little more effort.
Now don’t get me wrong, all of these things are great and have a place in life, but allowing ridiculously high levels of perfectionism to rule your life can become heavily detrimental.
I was becoming so caught up in what I wanted my life to be like that I was letting everything else pass me by.
I didn’t see my husband bending over backward, doing his absolute best, to try to please me and reach my high standards. I was only aware of how he was falling short of what I expected although I never verbalized my expectations—I simply thought he knew. This hurt our relationship. Thankfully, now we are fine, but it took him pointing out the error in my ways to make things better. I had to let go of who I used to be and adapt to my new life of mom and SAHM in order to get me out of my downward spiral.
Adapt and overcome should be the motto of motherhood.
We constantly have to go with the flow and change our plans, even when that’s the last thing we want to do. You have to grow in more ways than one when you become a spouse, and then again when you become a mom for the first time, and even more so when you have more children. Being aware of this and letting go of my perfectionist ways literally changed my life for the better.
I used to think I could do all the things, be all the places, and be all the people I was supposed to be: wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, church member. Now I realize I can do all of these things and be all of these people, I have simply realized I just can’t do them all at the same time. That is the key, my friends.
You absolutely can be the good wife, spend time with your kids, limit screen time, cook healthy meals, exercise, work, run all the errands, call your parents, sleep, see your friends, and have a hobby.
You simply can’t do them all at once—not on the same day, and honestly, maybe not even in the same month.
Realizing this unrealistic, completely toxic standard I had set for myself was a turning point in my life. Letting go of it took some major adjustments, some I still work on daily, but being aware of the fact that my perfectionism was becoming a problem was monumental.
Now instead of being consumed with a checklist of things that need to be done, I’m doing my best to be more aware of when I am letting a toxic perfectionist thought creep in and take over my mind. It isn’t the end of the world if the dishes sit in the sink overnight, or even for two days.
But, it is the end of the world if I let moments with my kids slip by because I am so consumed with my house and life being in Type A order.
This lifestyle change took a lot of effort. I still work on it daily. But I’m here to tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you feel completely overwhelmed and like you can’t ever accomplish anything on your never-ending to-do list, then hear me out. Take a step back and evaluate if your standards are set much too high. Step back and see if you are prioritizing the wrong things at the wrong time and if that is the source of your consuming thoughts and stress.
There is a time for everything. Just remember you can’t do it all at once, and you can’t do it all alone. Hang in there, mama.