Confessions of a Perfectionist


I am a self-diagnosed perfectionist and control freak; a dangerous combination.

Let me give a few examples:

–      Writing papers in school, I would often throw many drafts away because my handwriting wasn’t perfect. (Thankfully, I got over this and don’t do it at work…and there are computers now).

–      I always hated group projects in college because I tend to be of the mindset “if you want it done right, you should do it yourself.” Delegation is not a strongpoint of mine.

–      When Stephen and I decided to have a baby, it took us over a year to get pregnant and it drove me insane because 1) when you make that decision you’re ready for it to happen, 2) I am impatient, and 3) it was completely out of my control.

–      For Ella’s first time at the zoo, I wanted to make sure to capture every perfect moment of her admiring the animals, but I was overly concerned making sure she was happy, her shoes were on, and her hat didn’t fly off. So I only got a total of four pictures.

–      A few months ago, I led training at work for a new process that is very much out of the comfort zone for many.  I was very nervous for it, not because I’m afraid of public speaking, but because I wanted my co-workers to trust in what I was saying and I wanted my presentation to be perfect.

–      Our dear, sweet daycare provider will change Ella’s clothes when they get dirty and instead of putting her in the cute, matching outfits I have so meticulously put together, she mixes them up and puts her in mismatched clothing like a brown, striped shirt and gray pants with pink and purple polka dots.

I know, you’re thinking “This girl needs therapy.” Well before you post the numbers of therapists to the Rocky Parenting page…I know I’m crazy.

I also know I spend a lot of time and energy on these neuroses.

Most of the time I try to have a sense of humor about these things, as does my loving husband and I have gotten better over the years.

My house is not spotless every day, in fact, when guests come over, chances are there is unfolded laundry stuffed in a closet and unopened mail in a drawer somewhere.  Our bed is not always made in the morning, much to Stephen’s excitement and the dismay of my Mom, who made it her goal that I make my bed every day.  And I know my house will always have a slight hint of dog smell and the backyard is a roadway of their paths.

Actually, I always thought having our pets prepared me for letting go of my perfectionist ways and gaining some control of my control freakishness. But when Ella was born, I quickly realized I was not done in my quest to let go.

I am not perfect, I won’t always say the right thing in the right way and people will talk about me, my decisions, and my parenting.

I also can’t have everything be in my control. Does it hurt Ella to be in mismatched clothes? No. Does it hurt her to have her needs met in a different way than I would provide? No.  I am her mom and no one will do it the way I do, but that’s ok. She is clothed, fed, and most of all, loved by many.

I know I need to get a handle on my issues because, first and foremost, it’s not good for me mentally or physically. Secondly, I don’t want Ella growing up with the same mindset. Of course I want her to strive for perfection, but I don’t want her to be so focused on being perfect that it affects how she lives her life. I definitely want her to know there is only so much in this life you can control and sometimes you just have to “go with the flow.”

I have always held myself to high standards and, honestly, it’s exhausting.

I am 30 and I am finally to the point in my life where I realize it’s ok to be a little less than perfect.  I will never stop striving for perfection and I will probably always want to be in control, but I will be learning, right alongside my daughter, to just “go with the flow”.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Serenity Prayer, Anonymous.

6 thoughts on “Confessions of a Perfectionist

  1. Same here, but I’m pushing 40.
    Four kids later I can tell you, if they choose to be perfectionists (too!) it is totally up to them. Two of my four are, and one is the youngest…after I “knew better.”
    I think the main problem with perfectionism is we will never be perfect in letting it go. 🙂


  2. I so still do the throw away drafts if my writing isn’t perfect. Which is why I prefer the computer…

    I hear you about a lot of those tendencies. You aren’t alone! I’m a control freak too.


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