Killing My Inner Perfectionist


graphic reading "Little Joy Map"

Do you have a perfectionist inside of you?

I suspect that most of us would like to live in clean houses, would like to make yummy dinners that our children quickly devoured, and would like it if we had the figures of our early twenties while maintaining all the wisdom about life that we’ve accumulated in the interim. I would NEVER call myself a perfectionist, but I was introduced to the term “frustrated perfectionist” a few years back and I think that sums it up nicely. I want things to be perfect, but if they can’t be then I give up entirely. Great policy, huh?

I think this happens a lot with schedules. You write down everything that you want to happen and put a nice little time next to it. Baby will eat at 9, 12, 3, and 6! Fantastic!

You probably already know this, but babies and small children can’t read clocks. They also don’t seem to care too much about those schedules that we create.

That’s why I’m trying not to create a schedule. I still look at the clock, but I’m trying not to get upset if the kids go down for a nap late or if they get up too early. Routines are more about the order of things and less about the timing.

The other day the twins went to rest time late and got out late, so I thought we’d skip our dance time video. They were wandering around and acting funky, so I put the video in to distract them. Guess what? They calmed down, and rest of the evening went much more smoothly–even though everything was late. I thought they were tired or hungry, but I think it’s more likely they were off their routine.

Do you struggle with this? Do you try to parent by the clock? Or does parenting by the clock really work for you?

two boys looking at the same thing

Playing together briefly.

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  1. I never did well with the scheduled feed-play-sleep scheduling moms are supposed to do. And nap times never worked well for us either. It’s been a relief to have a preschooler now, who people are not expecting everything to be scheduled to death. The only thing I try to actively schedule by the clock now is bedtime, and we start the process at 7 or 7:30. When we let it go much later than that, we have rougher mornings and more behaviors pop up in preschool (from lack of sleep, I suspect). it also gives me time to have some quiet play or stories with my son, which he really enjoys.

    • You’re probably right about the lack of sleep thing–I’ve been getting a jump on my sleep reading and it’s amazing how much that affects a person.

      The more kids I have, the crazier I get about naps and bedtimes–I think it’s for me as much as it’s for them!

  2. The timing thing worked for about 10 minutes with my first child. Things were much less structured with the second, and that made us calmer, happier people. Love the term Frustrated Perfectionist – spot on!

  3. You just described me perfectly…frustrated perfectionist. Wow – glad there is a term, my husband just calls me a clutterbug or hoarder…but i truly am just overwhelmed.

    And as far as schedules, I never had one with my kids…guess i don’t get the mother of the year award again…lol