There’s No Such Thing As Perfect and No Teacher to Grade Me

Before my son was born I intended to blog every week about his growth and development. At fourteen months I’ve written a total of 11 posts.

I intended to make sugar cookies from scratch and bake two big batches for the grandparents this weekend. Instead I bought a roll of cookie dough from the grocery store and made a total of 6 cookies.

I have every intention of making it to the playground every afternoon, but some weeks I don’t make it there at all.

I intended to wash my son’s clothes in eco-friendly baby detergent, but some days I wash all of our clothes together and just toss in the regular soap.

I had every intention of feeding my son an organic diet, but suddenly realized I’m feeding him non-organic cottage cheese.

When my son turned one I intended to write down everything he learned in his first year. You know, how he can point to his toes, clap, wave bye-bye and all that other fun stuff. Well I managed to write it down, but then somehow lost the piece of paper I wrote it down on.

When my son wasn’t sleeping through the night a friend told me to let him cry-it-out. I wrestled and worried about her advice for days. Should I coddle him? Should I console him? Should I leave him to cry? If I let him cry will he grow to hate and resent me? If I rock him to sleep will he want to be comforted before bed for the next 18 years?

My worry was unfounded. Ultimately I left him in the crib and found he didn’t cry at all. He fussed for just a few minutes and fell asleep. All that worry was for nothing. He was perfectly fine.

I am a perfectionist at heart. As a child I felt utter disappointment at any grade other than an A+. As a first-time mom I want everything to be perfect. I want to do everything just right. I love my son so much that I don’t want to disappoint or damage him. I don’t want to do anything wrong.

I keep having to remind myself that motherhood isn’t graded. The Facebook pictures I see of mom’s baking cookies with four immaculately dressed children are unbelievably impressive, but those moms aren’t me.

In truth I want my son to know that we all make mistakes. That no one is perfect and that we should not pursue perfection at all. I would give anything to tell my former self to relax. That I was good enough. That I didn’t need straight A’s. If you spend all your time trying to be perfect you’ll never be yourself. Your life will never seem worthy enough, the goal of perfection is simply unattainable.

Above all else I want my son to know that I love him more than I ever could have imagined loving another little soul and that every decision I make and every action I take is being made to the best of my ability.

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