Sunday, May 13

The Idol of Perfection


Can I share something personal? Something that makes me feel uncomfortable more than anything else in creation?

Perfectionism.

The Martha Stewart spirit, or, in Christian circles, the Proverbs 31 spirit.

"You are the perfect mother! How do you do it so well?" I smile faintly and shudder in silence and despair at the comments.
I am human. I see on a daily basis how I fall short. It is never my intention to portray the perfect Proverbs 31 example of a perfect wife. I am not perfect. I am exhausted.
How easy it is, to set perfection in parenting and perfection if homemaking as idols before us. I thought about this earlier this week while frantically sorting through boxes and trying to tidy up before the shower here on Friday night. My stomach was churning. I wanted everything to look presentable and was embarrassed that there are still unpacked boxes three months after we've moved.

When showing friends the house, I'm continually apologizing over the boxes, the half painted rooms, the remodeling that needs to be done. Why? I have four children ages six and under. I home school two of them. My main priority is to be a godly wife and mother. Still, I feel the Martha Stewart spirit creeping under my skin, pointing out the dust bunny in the corner, the boxes piled, the half painted kitchen and reminding me of the load of clothes in the dryer that is done and wrinkling.

Don't miss my point. I am not encouraging myself to neglect my home for the sake of warding off this perfectionist spirit. I absolutely love being a mama and homemaker and wife. I truly enjoy working hard each day. When was the last time that there were enough hours in a day to complete all my tasks at hand? I don't recall that day ever existing.

Why do mothers and particularly mothers who stay at home fall prey to this Martha spirit? Our home and our children are our job. Stay at home moms are placed in a lowly position in our society, and we feel like every critical eye is examining what we do with our time at home. While perusing the blogs of moms in similar situations as the one that I am in, I notice a deep need for affirmation. It is easy to fall prey to self affirmation, never an attractive characteristic.

"You should see my home on a Monday morning," I want to say to the admirers. "After Sabbath, the laundry is piled up waiting to be done and the floor needs to be swept so badly that it crunches when you walk in the dining room."

In effort to stay off the spirit of perfection, I gladly bare my soul, before you. Here are five ways I have fallen short today.

1. There is an dirty popcorn bowl by my bed, with nothing but kernels and cheese in it.

2. It is 10:33 and I still have not kissed my children goodnight. Sean put them to bed.

3. My kitchen counters are not wiped down.

4. I have not made a weekly menu yet.

5. Nor have I made out lesson plans for this week. And tomorrow is a school day.

Ah, confession is good for the soul! Good night!

2 comments:

Mrs. Brigham said...

Thank you for this post. I struggle with a perfectionist problem myself. The reasons you offer for having a focus of perfectionism and things I share as well.

I hope you have a blessed week!

Mrs. MK said...

I have to comment even though this is an old post ( I'm enjoying your archives!!) and thank you for this post!! It is so easy to want everything perfect---or at least try to portray our lives as *nearly* perfect.

Love your crunchy floor confession---I have to sign on with that one!