Perfection has to be the most impossible of expectations yet I have burdened myself with it.
Not, thankfully, in every area of my life, or I might just have sacrificed my sanity.
I’m quite Ok with not having the house spotless (or even close), and with being on the lax side of the grooming (although not hygiene) department. In any number of ways I content myself with less than perfect, which is just as well, as I fall far short of it.
But when it comes to being a mother, I have a debt of gratitude to repay.
And the price demanded is nothing less than perfection.
Whilst the rational side of me knows that perfection is intangible, the emotional side of me feels the tug of expectation coming from an invisible red thread stretching all the way to China. Pulling on my heartstrings. Keeping me in awe at how much I’ve been given.
“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, across time, place and circumstance. The thread my stretch or tangle, but will never break.” ANCIENT CHINESE PROVERB
My children’s birth parents don’t demand perfection from me – I will never know what they hoped for, sadly I will never know them.
As a mother I can only imagine my children’s mothers wanted the best for them. And that’s what I try to give their kids, our kids – yet it is not enough.
It’s me who feels I owe so much for the privilege of parenting ‘someone else’s children’.
After all, the gift of our two kids is priceless – who am I to complain about the bargain?
I wasn’t the one who lost, but the one who gained.
And yet this business of parenting is hard. There’s no rulebook, no instruction manual. Being perfect is hard. Being perfect is impossible.
So I suffer (along with most mothers I know) the scourge of mother-guilt – only my guilt is magnified because of how much I owe. Can’t you see how much I have to repay?
The only way to get over the guilt is to be perfect – that’s the answer – only this parenting thing is hard, and the hardest part of all is that it may not be what (or everything) I imagined it would be.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s still wonderful (well most of the time), but it’s just not as fulfilling as I dreamed it would be through those long years of infertility, and waiting out the adoption process when it was all I could dream of.
I may actually want more! Only how could that possibly be?
What the hell is wrong with me?
The right answer might be ‘nothing’ but it’s hard, impossible for me to see that.
So instead I feel even MORE GUILTY, and the only antidote to so much guilt is to atone for all the loss, all the pain by being PERFECT.
You see the pattern!
The expectation of perfection feels like my penance, and I know perfection is unrealistic, and I know it doesn’t make sense, and I know I’m allowed to want other things, and I know it’s Ok to just do my best, be my best.
It’s just not how I feel.
Linking up with Always Josefa for ‘Conversations with Expectation’ and the lovely Grace for FYBF and joining the Digital Parents April Blog-Carnival!