So I’m a recovering perfectionist and control freak. Many many years ago I was completely stressed out and it took a number of life changes for me to understand that many of my stresses were ones I was creating for myself. I was trying to do too much and be too much and was expecting way too much of myself and everyone around me. When you constantly want everything to be perfect it leads to many many frustrations and high cortisol levels. Yep my stress hormone was through the roof. Perfectionists rarely ask anyone for help because they want to do it themselves to ensure it’s done the “right” way. So here I was with ridiculously high standards of how things should be but completely irritated by help because they didn’t do it right. Don’t I sound like so much fun to be around. Seriously!
Then when my middle son was only 18 months old (he’s 14 now) we went in to see his Pediatrician for a routine allergy appointment only to leave with a cancer diagnoses for him. It happened that fast and my world stopped in that one moment and completely changed forever. They felt a tumor on his liver and were 95% sure it was cancer but further tests were required to be sure. We had to wait two months for a biopsy to be done and it was the longest two months of my life. But I’m so happy to say that this story has a happy ending. The Doctors were wrong and it wasn’t cancer after all, praise be to God! It was in fact a benign tumor that has steadily been dissolving itself ever since.
Talk about putting life into perspective. These are the things that matter. Family, health, love. It’s not about the size of your home or the stuff you are accumulating in closets and on shelves. It’s not about whether or not the chores are done to perfection or your house sits organized 100% of the time. Kids make messes and I’ve learned to be okay with that. Schedules don’t have to be filled to the brim with activities. We really don’t have to keep up with the neighbors. Life is not a competition.
It became about finding my good enough. It became about compromise and finding that comfortable place in the middle where we could all be happy. For instance, rather than demand that the whole house stay organized all the time (impossible standards) I ask that my living room be a clutter free zone, my place of tranquility. So we have a no toys rule in that room (this wasn’t the case when I had little little ones). Similarly, I don’t make them pick up their rooms every day but we compromise on having a path to their bed at least. It’s about give and take and everyone working together.
I have also learned to lower my expectations. In fact if you could see the streaks on my bathroom mirror right now you might cringe. My youngest (8) has the job every week of cleaning all the mirrors in the house and for some reason this last week he didn’t do a great job. But he did this task with a cheerful heart and for that I’m grateful. I’m proud of him and I’m proud of myself for leaving them there all week. There was once a time I couldn’t have done that. I would have to go clean it myself just to sleep at night. But as I get ready each day those streaks have been a reminder to me about what is important. I need that sometimes. What’s a couple streaks in my life in the grand scheme of things anyway? Next week I’ll probably give him a little more training but for today I’m not going to worry about it.
A couple of posts ago in this series I shared one of the greatest lessons I ever learned:
It doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.
It really doesn’t. And letting go of high expectations of perfectionism is what has made a huge difference in creating a peaceful environment in my home.
This is the sign that sits next to my chair in the living room.
Are you making yourself crazy expecting too much of yourself and those around you? Maybe it’s time to determine your good enough? This is important to know because it impacts so many areas of your life including how you manage your time, how you spend your money, your marriage, to even how you decorate your home just to give you some examples.
I think we get lost sometimes thinking the goal is to get to perfect. This train of thought can be paralyzing because the sheer magnitude of that, well talk about overwhelming!
Are your expectations too high or too low? Too high, and you may be setting yourself up for failure with standards that are impossible to maintain on a regular basis. Too low, and your family may be struggling with chaos on a regular basis. Neither is great which is why finding a middle ground is the best thing to do to reduce stress levels all around and create a lasting and peaceful home for your family.
Ahhhh! Home….it definitely is possible :)