When I was a little girl and played with dolls, being the mommy seemed so easy.
None of my dolls ever got up from their seat at tea time.
Not one of my stuffed animals ever defied my request to eat their vegetables.
More importantly, none of my toys spilled their milk at the dinner table. Not one.
When I was a teenager, we were expecting company for a weekend, so I cleaned the house for my mom. Every last piece of furniture was dusted and every dish sparkled. The house was incredibly, perfectly clean. For about 5 minutes. You see, in a house that size with that many people, “perfectly clean” was temporary. Very temporary.
As a perfectionist who wanted everything “just so,” my little girl dreams of parenthood and my teenage impressions of housekeeping were a bit, well, skewed. The levels of perfection I dreamed of were reasonable to me; however, I didn’t realize the investment those levels would require. Having furniture arranged at the proper angle and decor that encouraged the appropriate, delicate atmosphere was a high priority.
Before sweet babies were born, I’ll confess to you: I didn’t go to bed unless the toilet paper was hanging properly in the bathroom.
Then I became a mom.
While I could probably stop right there and many of you would completely catch the point I want to drive home with this post, the perfectionist in me just can’t assume that you would get it.
After the reality of parenthood struck home and the special needs of my daughter were well discovered, yet undiagnosed, I became aware that my levels of expectation for housekeeping and such were a bit, well, over the top.
You see the toughest lesson I’ve tackled in these almost 17 years of parenting is not
babies with colic…
or temper tantrums of toddlers…
or developmental delays of preschoolers…
or social interactions of schoolagers…
or rebellion of teenagers…
The toughest lesson I’ve learned and am still learning as a parent really isn’t a problem that children undergo.
The toughest lesson I’ve learned is how to redefine perfection.
Because perfection isn’t insuring that every hair is in place.
Perfection is assuring a happy heart.
Perfection isn’t organizing a closet that the President himself would never forget.
Perfection is cultivating a healthy home environment.
Perfection is more about how your children feel when you make cupcakes…
and less about whether the cupcakes are picture perfect for Pinterest.
Perfection is being the example of Jesus to our children…
He who had no roof to call home.
He who desired to hold the hands and hearts of children.
He who loved with perfect love.
While the dictionary offers the definition of “perfect” as “being entirely without fault or defect,” I tackled redefining the word.
Perfect really has nothing to do with being.
My definition of perfection is “yielding entirely without fault or defect.”
Perfection is simply accepting the imperfections of others, no matter who or what they are, and yielding it all to God.
Suddenly, the stain on the carpet by the front door doesn’t mean so much.
How do you redefine perfection?