Confessions of a Perfectionist

So it’s not clinical, but I certainly have a history of perfectionism. I’ve improved a lot over the years and Joey’s presence in my life helps me relax. I’m learning to accept the things I’m not so good at and allow myself to fail. Failure is essential to growth. This is something I tell my aerobics classes: “If you’re not struggling, you’re not working hard enough.” I’ve forced down a large spoonful of my own medicine in the past several months. I tried to do a push up a couple weeks post-c section and fell on my face. I quickly learned where I had placed much of my identity.

I often set unattainable standards for myself. Though I think there’s something noble about doing things with excellence and striving for your best, it’s a slippery slope between integrity and self-righteous pride. Especially if I put these same expectations on those I love.

Like a newborn.

Shame on me if I ever hold Finn to my silly expectations. Shouldn’t he be sitting up by now, having a conversation with us? Why does he still have three chins and when are his legs going to fix themselves? Absurd.

When Joey and I get overwhelmed by our love for each other, we wiggle or tap our noses. Weird, I know. But our noses get all sting-y when we–just for a moment–feel the massive power of our love. My nose stings for Finn too. I love that child SO MUCH. John says in his first letter, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.” God’s idea of perfection and mine are very different. Our baby Finn is perfectly imperfect. I’m praying that my love for him purges the fear of his struggles, failures and disappointments.

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5 thoughts on “Confessions of a Perfectionist

  1. I love this post so much. You’re such a good Mommy, Ash, and I love the insight into your mind and the picture of nose tapping. Hysterical. This girl struggles with perfectionism and sometimes unrealistic expectations of myself too. I’m learning to relax (or try to) as a mom, a wife, a woman – it’s been good for me! Love you, friend.

  2. Finn’s smile is contagious. If that smile makes my heart swell, I can’t imagine what it must do to yours. He must feel very loved. Pat yourself on the back for that!

  3. Ashley, please pardon my comment if it is too forward.
    The things you do for people, the way you interact and inspire them are the benefits that come from being the person you are. A little perfectionism, like salt, can be a benefit.

    Finn and Joey will learn from you as I am sure you in turn learn from them. One of the unexpected gifts of having children is their impact on you as a person. My kids have made me a better person and made me want to be a better father, son and husband.  

    Finn’s smile and laugh and warm soft skin and bright blue eyes are the wrappings of a gift, a lifetime gift of joy and growth for you and those who will be lucky enough to know you and the person you are and are becoming.

    What a great journey you have begun.

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