I have to admit that the idea of aiming low is not one I’ve generally embraced in my life. I worked really hard in high school to get into one of the top universities in my state. I’ve always been somewhat of a perfectionist at my job and would recreate a worksheet before distributing it with a typo (because middle school students totally care about that stuff). During my last class of graduate school, which I was taking while on maternity leave and after I returned to work, I failed to redo two assignments which resulted in the only B+ I earned in my degree. This was a big deal for me and I struggled with putting aside my perfectionism for the sake of my sanity.
That is what this chapter of The Happiest Mom is all about, ditching a perfectionist attitude and embracing expectations that are more conducive to keeping calm and staying sane. My track record led me to believe that I’d score in the your-making-yourself-crazy section of the “how high do you set the bar” quiz but I was surprised to find I was more of a “realist” (not without some “blamer” added in, for good measure). So I guess, as a mother, I’m not as compulsive as I have the potential to be.
Still, answering some questions as a “Blamer” made me realize that I have to cut Mi.Vida a little slack. Sometimes he just doesn’t do things the way I would, or doesn’t know how to do them at all (he would admit that on occasion he is totally clueless) and I have to be patient when teaching him and open minded when he does things his own way. Just because a result might not reflect what I’d envisioned doesn’t mean it’s messed up. If I can remember this my relationship will suffer much less.
In fact, perspective was a big part of this chapter. Asking myself “What’s the worst that could happen?” or “Will this still trouble me fat into the future?” helps remind me that blueberry mish-mash puree all over Isa’s shirt is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s not the end of anything (except maybe the shirt – which she’ll grow out of anyway) even though at the time it can seem that way. When you’re budgeting a ruined shirt can seem like a big loss, but will you remember it a year from now? Probably not.
Another suggestion was to prioritize. Should creating Isa’s six to twelve month photo book be a top priority right now? Probably not. Those photos will be around next month (or next year). Is it okay if the thank you notes from Isa’s first birthday are another month late? It will have to be. (This is why I asked people not to bring presents! Why does no one listen?!) And illustrating my children’s book? Well, maybe I need to take the hint and realize that if “writing a book” is on both the author’s “don’t do now” and “don’t do ever” lists maybe I shouldn’t even be trying to illustrate one. Or at least I shouldn’t be putting any pressure of myself to do so.
Should I be disappointed that this Monday post will probably be read by everyone on Tuesday? Not when I’m late writing it because we were able to extend our vacation by a day! Just getting it out there is good enough for me. In fact, I offer my nonchalance of this post’s tardy time stamp as tribute to what I’ve learned this week. Before I might have been frustrated or felt like a failure when a post went up late. Now, not so much.
So this week I learned that even though I was already somewhat of a “realist” I still needed a bit of a reality check and and it is my intention to aim low and go slow from here on out.
Next week… trusting your gut.