Mama Health: Perfectionism

Mama Health: Perfectionism October 26, 2010

I was planning on posting my next installment of the Mama Health series, but it isn’t finished. And the truth is, I haven’t got the energy to finish it right now because I haven’t been taking care of my self.

I know, it’s ridiculous right? I’m writing this series and I can’t manage to follow my own advice! It makes me smile to look back on this week and see how I started my downward spiral.

Even when writing last week’s post on daily care I found myself getting frustrated. I’m so bad at this! Some days go by and I find myself retreating inside myself and refusing to talk about my feelings. I pretend everything is fine when all the while I’m beating myself up inside for some perceived failure or another. Even though I’ve been doing the work to defeat the lies I was told about myself growing up, deep down I still believe that I am a failure. Perfectionism rears its head again and again. I don’t feel worthy of care, so I tell myself that I need to be perfect before I allow myself any grace.

For some reason I found myself emotionally drained by my post on Religion and Politics last week. I should have known from the start not to reply to comments (I try not to when I know its a tough issue for me), but I thought I could handle it for some reason. Add the usual stresses of uncertainties about God and the future and parenting and my feelings of hopelessness started taking over. If I am failing at everything, then why am I even trying?

I’ve wrestled with depression for over 10 years and my husband knows me well. He knows when I’ve stopped eating enough, he can tell when I start to withdraw from my kids. After a few days of my non-communication and hearing my negative self-talk he cancelled an evenings activities (despite my protests that I was fine) to spend time talking with me. On second thought, I should say listening to me. Because he basically said that he wasn’t going anywhere until I told him what was bothering me and then he rubbed my feet. (That stinker, he knows ways of getting me to talk!)

Even though I couldn’t pinpoint a specific thing that was pulling me under, being able to talk about my jumble of burdens helped. And the solution I came away with was picking my battles. I pour so much mental and emotional energy into my questions about God, my efforts to mother my babies, projects for the people I love, things I volunteered for at church. Add the guilt I often feel over everything I think I “should” be doing, and I start to feel overwhelmed.

In reality, all I need to be doing I already am. I am there for my kids, I am there for my husband. Food makes it to the table (most days) and eventually I get to the bottom of the laundry pile. All the rest will come together. God is patient, God is infinite, why do I feel the need to “figure Him out”? Yes, projects for people I love may be nice, but are they a necessary part of this week (or even this month)? If I don’t manage to bake some snack for bible study, then I can pick something up from the store on the way there, it’s not that important. And the guilt over stuff I “should” do has got to go. The list of “shoulds” is endless, and I can stop giving my energy to things that I many times cannot do anything to change.

I can choose my battles. And today I choose to read some library books with my babies, finish that load of laundry and sweep the kitchen floor. I choose to go to my Dr.s appointment and have leftovers for dinner.

And you know? I think I’m going to win today’s battles!

I am good enough.

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