It is very easy for me to pursue perfection, find it unattainable, and then simply decide that everything must be terrible, and the only thing for it is to have a meltdown that would put my preschoolers to shame and quit.
Like this morning. I got up, got behind, we forgot to get out the clothes for ourselves and our kids like we are trying to do the night before, we didn’t have Ben’s lunch packed, the tiniest, Elora, was not yet awake, and it was 20 minutes before I had to leave the house to get to Simon’s preschool that he started this week.
I did not respond particularly well. I was anxious, I wasn’t sure what to do, I did not behave as calmly as I would have liked in the face of chaos. I rarely do. Ben helped me sort through how to get the kids out of the house in a timely fashion and helped me get their shoes and coats on while I gave Elora her bottle.
Normally, I would have continued to freak out, apologize for making him late, probably cry, apologize again, and felt bad about my household management and stress management skills for the rest of the morning.
But I’ve been trying to embrace the massive space that exists in between absolute shining perfection and complete collapse, so I didn’t. I did the deep breathing exercises suggested by my husband, and thanked him for taking the time to help me get out the door (instead of trying to absolve myself through repeated apologies).
I finished feeding Elora, I packed the kids up, even sent a video of them to my mom, and walked them all to school. Until I sat down to write this I nearly forgot that this morning had been challenging. I think I may like this less than entirely smooth space, even though it is messy, uncertain, and I have to be patient with myself when I do not live up to my high standards instead of comforting myself through a long wallow in self-pity.