I wanted my first post on the SPD Blogger Network to be on perfectionism because it is something I think all of us special needs moms deal with in one way or another.
As much as we hate to admit it, so many of us do all that we can to maintain that title of perfect, only to feel like we fall short. We want to keep the perfect house, look the perfect way, have the perfect children. But when you have a special needs child, this idea can seem so far away.
But you know what? I’m going to tell you something that may shock you. Perfect doesn’t exist. Yes, you read that right.
Remember what your mom always told you and you ignored her because you were sick of hearing it or you didn’t want to hear it? “Nobody’s perfect.” Guess what? She was right. Nobody is perfect. If they appear perfect, you aren’t seeing the whole picture. If they say they are perfect, they are lying.
In reality, perfectionism is a very dangerous goal. It is one that you will try to achieve with everything you’ve got, but can never reach it.
I am guilty of perfectionism. I strive everyday to appear better than I am. I put on a front that makes me look like I am more competent than I am. But in reality, I am not perfect.
I am not the perfect woman. I am not the perfect friend. I am not the perfect wife. I am not the perfect mom. I am certainly not the perfect special needs mom. And I want you all to know that because not only can perfection hurt myself, it can also hurt my kids who are desperately trying to get my attention while I am trying to be perfect. And it can hurt everyone else around me who sees me and thinks I am perfect and feels worse about themselves. So I am baring myself in all honesty and letting you know just how imperfect I am. Feel free to join in order to make me feel a little better about this exposure of moral nudity (It might even be therapeutic, I hope).
HELLO, MY NAME IS TIFFANY AND I AM NOT PERFECT
- My house is a mess most of the time. I clean it before I know someone is coming over or I don’t answer the door.
- I wear my hair in a ponytail all the time because doing my hair seems useless when I would rather be on my computer, reading a magazine, or doing nothing.
- Since having kids, I have acne worse than when I was a teenager and I don’t go out of the house without make up because of it. Yet, I really have no idea how to correctly apply makeup.
- I buy new clothes for myself to make me look fashionable but then still end up wearing the same thing everyday.
- If I ruin a dessert I am giving someone else, I remake it, or remove (ehem… eat) the cookies that don’t look perfect.
- I have emails from good friends that I have not responded to. And occasionally lie about how I didn’t get the email if they bring it up.
- I don’t answer the phone when I don’t feel like talking.
- I do not know how to have a proper adult conversation anymore and say the wrong things all the time or end up with awkward silence which usually leads to saying the wrong thing or bringing up that age old boring subject of my kids.
- I pretend to be asleep when the kids call at night so that my husband will get up.
- I occasionally daydream about what my life would be like without family or obligations.
- I don’t go on dates with my husband. (Maybe 2 times a year if I’m lucky.)
- I yell at my kids.
- Sometimes I lie to my kids when I don’t know the answer or I want them to stop asking questions.
- My kids watch too much TV because I don’t want to hear the whining anymore and they can’t manage to entertain themselves.
- I don’t know why my kids do the things they do or how to stop them and wish the nosey lady at the store would stop pretending like she does.
- I’ve tried many different techniques to discipline my kids, some of which probably were not my best moments and probably didn’t work.
- Some days my kids spend all day in their pajamas because I don’t want to fight them getting dressed.
- I occasionally slack on therapies because there just isn’t enough time or we are having such a rough week that I feel like there is no use.
- I won’t let my kids eat treats between meals but I have no problem sneaking treats for myself.
- And finally, sometimes (okay, almost everyday) I’ve had so much of trying to be the perfect everything, that I just want to shut myself away from everyone and be free of everybody (without my kids screaming and knocking outside my door.
Okay, so I could go on and on, but I will stop at 20. But I just wanted you to know that everyone out there is fine just the way you are. No matter what you are dealing with, somebody else is dealing with it too. And when you see me walking on the streets, dressed for the town with my make up on and hair done and kids trailing behind me like little ducklings, just know that this is nowhere near the real me right now and my kids are either drugged or seriously bribed because I’ve never had my kids once appear orderly. Remember, the grass is never greener on the other side, maybe just a different shade of green and patchy with the occasional weed.