The online test wasn't needed to know I'm a perfectionist & an achiever. But we were discussing the topic of personalities and marriage in our "sunday school" class, so I answered the questions.
The results confirmed my personality type out of 9 options: perfectionist. As such, I need:
"to know what is expected so that I can act accordingly and excel...to do things by the book to avoid making a mistake. I continuously strive for self-improvement and expect others to do the same."
My second type (subtype) was "achiever". Here is a description of my achiever needs:
"to be the best at whatever I do. I love the sound of applause and the accolades that are given for a job well done. I also need people to praise and acknowledge my achievements. Always one to seek attention through my personal achievements, it is difficult for me to relax, stop being the peacock and become part of the herd."
Basically, I want to do it perfectly. Beyond that I want to be a better than anyone else AND I want you to tell me how great I am. Wanna be my friend? ;)
Unfortunately, having the desire to do things perfectly and achieve the best does not blend well with motherhood. And applause? Does that come after changing diapers for 7 years or do I need one more year before the standing ovation?
The moment a newborn was placed in my arms I felt the weight of my imperfection. Growing a person is a ginormous responsibility.
In the perfectionist struggle as a mom, there is no way to "avoid mistakes". Each day I make another mistake. I could read every single book, blog, the Bible and do the best that I can and STILL be imperfect.
During the little years anything I "achieve" just has to be redone the next day. Food cooked. Served. Dishes done. Then the next meal comes. Train one child to obey (kind of). Get to train the next one.
Motherhood is messy and constant. The angst I feel as a mom comes when I attempt to create perfect children (which they will NEVER be) and when I don't achieve unattainable goals I have set.
Two things lately have helped my struggle:
1) "Imperfect progress"-
I started reading the amazing book, "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst. It truly deserves a post of it's own (which I hope to write soon). Here is a good quote:
"Progress. Just make progress. It's okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs. It's okay to draw a line in the sand and start over again--and again. Just make sure you're moving the line forward...then change will come. And it will be good."
I don't have to be perfect. Just making progress. Slow & steady.
2) Safe & Loved
Remember the quote from my son's school? ("goal is for your child to feel safe & loved. Not happy, but they will usually be happy.").
This week I've focused on making sure my boys feel safe & loved. My goal is still not tangible, but it's achievable.
I can help them feel safe by controlling my emotions (again the book "Unglued" helps with this area). I can help them feel loved by knowing their love language & being intentional to speak their language. Perfect love comes from above (another plug for #hellomornings). Perfect love drives out fear.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." 1 John 4:18
Like Ann Voskamp suggests in her parenting manifesto, hugging at least as often as I serve them meals. Like I've read from other sites, hugging for at least 6 seconds to optimize mood-building hormones.
Do you struggle with perfectionism? A desire to achieve? What tips do you o balance your personality with motherhood?
Even flaws may have a purpose. Recognize that true perfection and spiritual growth will come to you when you realize that all things are inherently perfect just as they are.
*sidenote: I've also found having a hobby/craft/activity in which I can accomplish something. Finishing a crocheted flower. Publishing a blog post. These activities help fill the need for achievement/perfection.*