Perfection is my enemy

With my due date only 5 weeks away, I have been busy preparing for the new addition to our family. Although I’m certainly excited, I definitely have some anxiety too. I worry about sharing my time between Brooks and the new baby. I worry about how Brooks will handle not being the center of attention. I worry that he’ll push me away. I worry that his tantrums will only get worse. I worry about Chris’s training, about me getting enough sleep, and about having enough help. The list goes on and on….

Meanwhile, Brooks has been going through some challenging times lately. Some days he seems to wake up on the wrong side of the bed and he is disagreeable about everything. Other days go really well but at the drop of a bucket he can go from happy go lucky to a full blown temper tantrum. Unfortunately I don’t deal with these tantrums like I would like to. When he hits me, screams, or throws himself on the floor, I usually get wrapped up in it. I get upset, sometimes to the point of tears myself. Nothing I’ve been doing seems to help and I end up feeling like I’m failing him. I wonder what I can do differently and I take responsibility for his bad behaviors.

Although I do think I can do a better job (I just finished watching The Happiest Toddler on the Block), I also know that I need to let myself off the hook. I hold myself to such a high standard. I have high expectations of both myself and the people that I am closest to. I realize that I can’t expect my almost two year old to act like an adult. He’s learning how to navigate his world and control his emotions. I certainly haven’t learned to master my emotions so how can I expect him to? Maybe more importantly, his tantrums aren’t necessarily a reflection on me. This doesn’t mean that I’m a bad mom or that I’m failing him in some way. I put too much emphasize on myself. I know in my heart that I can’t control everything and that I have to stop trying but this is a daily struggle for me.

When I was talking to my sister-in-law about going from one to two kids (she has three now), she told me that the only advice she has is to “learn to go with the flow”. I know without a doubt that this is the perfect advice for me. As I mentally prepare to be a family of four, I have been trying to practice letting go a little bit. I need to remember that it doesn’t matter if dinner is made or the house is clean. I need to put my to-do-lists on hold for a while, brush aside my agenda (I alway have one), and just go with the flow. I already know that we’ll have great days as well as really challenging days. Just like in my preparation for labor, I need to learn to surrender. Life is never going to be perfect. When my kids look back on their childhood, it won’t matter if the laundry was always done, if I had time to put on make-up everyday, or if we ate cereal for dinner occasionally. I know that the time spent with my family will be the most important thing in the world. This is what I hope to remember in the days ahead. Enjoy each day- even if it’s not going at all like it was planned. Or even better, stop planning and just enjoy.

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