True to my perfectionist character I feel like I have failed if I cannot put out a blog post every week. No one else is saying a word about it, but I put this pressure on myself to have everything outlined and finished by a certain time every week. As you can see I didn’t post anything last week. Sometimes, being in charge of so many humans with their own personalities doesn’t leave room for me to execute my projects and meet my own deadlines. It kills me to stare at a blank page the day after I was due to publish. In the grand scheme I know it doesn’t matter. But I am so hardwired to finish a task in a very specific way. I feel like I let down everyone when I don’t come through.
The last few weeks have been incredibly difficult as a mom. I’ve discovered that my daughter is taking after me with expecting perfection. She is only six years old and already has a very deep need to make things happen the way she has planned. She becomes anxious when she makes a mistake on her homework and now she feels like she just wants to impress her teacher so badly. I have a kid who used to love school suddenly protest leaving the house to attend school. This is just Kindergarten. She is already under so much pressure to perform perfectly.
Seeing her struggle to do her best and feeling crushed when she doesn’t match the expectations of her teacher, or already feels like she let everyone down, is incredibly painful. I want so badly to upload my wisdom to her little brain to help her understand that hinging your self worth on impossible standards is not going to bring her any peace, or happiness. The peace I feel when things are perfect is only fleeting because as a perfectionist nothing is ever good enough. Nothing. I can’t imagine feeling like this at six. I can barely handled it as an adult.
I am trying to focus more on helping her learn how to be OK without perfection. It’s hard to put my perfectionist out look into the head space of a six year old, but I am going to try. I am going to give myself some slack that I am not going to find the perfect solution for her. But I am going to do my best. Then I am going to cut myself some slack when I let a post or two go while I am figuring this all out. This parenting thing. Man. It’s hard! Letting go of perfection is hard too.
Thank you for reading and hanging in there with me from week to week! I appreciate all of you! If you have any advice on how to get a Kindergartner to lighten up I’d love to hear it! Anyone else ever have a kid put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect? Feel free to comment below or drop me a line at [email protected].
The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer toHudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia
Thats such a tricky situation to try to support, in my opinion. You feel their pain, and you see WHY they want their work/whatever to be fabulous… but its about seeking that balance.
I wish balance were easier to find some days. 😉
This hit home. My daughter is a perfectionist and gets SO frustrated when things arent just quite right.
I am the same way, but learning to let go. I didn’t think it would show up in my kids so early!
Oh my I can’t even imagine. I’m like that as well and my boyfriend gets so frustrated with me. Can’t even imagine the stress when you need to explain it to your child! I hope she doesn’t stress so much xx
It has taken me years to learn how to cope with the stress. But I have no idea how to teach that to a kid!
I could have wrote this myself. My daughter is so OCD when it comes to things, and if it’s not perfect we have melt downs. 🙁
I am amazed by my strong willed girl to make everything so perfect.
It can be so hard not to be a perfectionist. Especially in a world that makes it so easy to compare and sets unrealistic expectations of reality. Good luck teaching your daughter about perfectionism!
Thanks! So true about comparing!
I feel for you mom. I saw a lot of melt downs in my office when I was a principal dealing with perfectionism. I always told a story about my perfectionism and the kids would always say, but you aren’t perfect Dr. Steffes! I would always say back, but do you still love me? Always, always, always they’d say yes. Then just stare at me. and smile because they got it.
Great way to put it!
We all get busy. Don’t get discouraged you are doing great!
I think you’re right here. Let her learn from you. If you get stressed out about not being perfect she’ll follow suit. Instead try and be a little more laid back with everything. I know it’s hard, but do it for her.
Parenting has taught me there is no such thing as perfection. I am learning to let go more and more!
I wish I would have learned this lesson earlier in life. There is so much anxiety when you feel you have to be perfect.
I don’t think I ever recognized it as anxiety until my daughter started worrying so much.
I struggle with perfectionism too! It can be so hard to see your child struggle too!
Harder to see her struggle!
My daughter’s kindergarten teacher mentioned that she had some perfectionism, but I don’t seem to see it now in first grade. It’s nice that it’s not a permanent issue.
I think it also depends how a teacher handles it. If a teacher thrives on perfection themselves it makes it works for the kid. Having a relaxed attitude about mistakes and seeing them as learning opportunities really makes a difference. Glad your girl is having an easier time in 1st grade!
I can definitely relate to this. I am a perfectionist and can see it in my children. It is definitely all about letting them know that it’s okay to not have something to perfection ever time.
A couple of my kiddos share this problem, and a couple of them are the complete opposite and i straggle to get them to care what their work looks like! It’s difficult in both directions
I can see that!
This sounds like my oldest. he is a big profectionist and gets very frustrated easily! It can be very frustrating!
I definitely see her getting frustrated very quickly. Once she starts it’s hard to get her to back out of it.
I think it is definitely good to help our kids understand that they don’t have to be perfect. I am going to try and make sure my boys know this.
My daughter is like this and it’s totally my fault. I feel your pain and hopefully at some point in life they learn that everything doesn’t have to be perfect.
Oh I feel ya on this one!!! My daughter is only four and I’m already starting to notice her being like me and being a total perfectionist. At times it can be nice, but at the same time ughhh… like that’s what you copy from me lol
I can relate to this so much. My family always tell me I’ve been like this since I was really young. It’s a shame when children feel like they have to be perfect
I am a perfectionist and unknowingly think I rubbed that off on my boys. I definitely try to remind them that they don’t have to be perfect just try their best and that’s what matters. And that I always love them no matter what.
As a perfectionist myself, I understand the struggle. I would never want my kids to inherit that trait either. It makes life a challenge until you embrace it and realize it doesn’t have to consume every part of your life.
This is a bit hard, especially when you realize that they may be taking after your own actions.
My 8 year old is a perfectionist and it is really hard for him to compete in sports, do his homework and other things. We’ve been working on overcoming this!
My oldest is like this! He’s a huge people pleaser and has a really hard time coping if he can’t do something perfectly.
Perfectionism is hard to deal with, both in oneself and in one’s children. Both my son and I struggle with it. I am worse than my son, thankfully.
Oh I used to be the same way. I thought I had to get AT LEAST 3 blog posts out a week. Then that turned to two, and then one. Nowadays I’m doing pretty good if I can get one out a week, but it’s more often every other week. But as life changes, so your expectations have to also!
Yay I’m not the only one sliding on blog posts to make it all work!
I used to teach and teaching the perfectionist was surely a different method! Good luck to you in your parenting journey… I’m sure you are doing a great job mom!
Thanks! It’s comforting to know that it isn’t just me that sees it as a challenge. 🙂
I struggle with being a perfectionist too. I never thought about parenting a child with the same personality. Great tips!
Some days are harder than others. 😉