The Plague of Perfectionism
I’ve come to the conclusion that I am definitely a perfectionist. Actually, this is something I’ve known for quite some time, but today I’ve decided to own it! I have so many stories I want to share and so many parenting topics I want to write about, but I just can’t seem to get started. I am plagued with wanting to write the “perfect” blog post. Well, to that I say… “so long! Here I am! Take it or leave it!” There is no “perfect” when it comes to parenting.
The other day I was painting with my 3-1/2-year-old, Zackery. I had asked him if he wanted to help me paint a piece of cardboard black for one of Daddy’s projects. Excited as always to do a project with Mommy, together we got out the box of art supplies – the paints, the brushes – and the little paper doggy cups to put the paint into. He chose probably the biggest brush I had, and we squirted some black paint into the cup. Away we went. He did most of it and I just helped him get all the edges and smooth out the brush strokes. It didn’t take long and since we were already set up to paint, I thought what the heck, let’s paint some more for fun!
As he sorted through all the paints, picking each one and the accompanying brush to go with it, in the back of my head I was thinking “okay, that’s enough,” but I let him keep going, assuming he’d be done soon. We’ve done painting before, and usually after a few minutes he wants me to take over while he supervises which color goes where. Well this time, he boldly said “Mom, don’t help me.” Ummm, okay. Part of me was happy that he wanted to do it all himself, and part of me was worried he would mess up. Really? How could I think he could mess up??? I’m his Mother, I should LOVE everything he ever does, right? Shame on me for letting that thought enter my mind, because what he ended up creating was the most beautiful painting I have ever seen! He used every single color I had, every single brush, and probably 20 little paper doggy cups. If he had already used green, well he wanted all the shades of green. He was so proud and happy, and having the best time creating his masterpiece. Was it “perfect?” It was to him, and it is to me. It’s so perfect that it’s awaiting a frame so I can put it up on the wall and show it off.
My lesson learned: back off a little and let my little ones have a try for themselves. I might be pleasantly surprised at how “perfect” things turn out when they do whatever it is all by themselves.