Yesterday was International Women’s Day. A day that celebrates the voice of women everywhere. So it seems fitting that today we share the voice of a woman who is, day by day, sharing her voice and realizing that she is more than enough. Today we share the voice of Kristen, from A Little Something for Me. Kristen is a former teacher, a kind and generous friend, and is here to share her story.
Being Perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I realize many of you may not have read my blog…so let me give you the skinny. I’m type A – perfectionist embodied. I just had to be the best. I got the best grades. I finished my undergraduate with honors and my master’s degree with an A+ in every single class. I was that girl.
I married a great guy, dreamed about getting pregnant and *poof* had twins. One boy and one girl. People said I hit the jackpot. I played Baby Signing Time videos to the kids. They could, at age 2, say their alphabet and count to 20. I took great pride in all those things.
When the twins were 9 months old, I became pregnant again. Little did I know that my son had a very rare chromosomal disorder and would change our lives forever.
Our third blessing is turning 2 in a few months. He weighs 12 lbs and has some severe delays. He doesn’t yet sit or stand or talk. And, you know what? I became ok with that. I was going to be the best parent of a “child with special needs” possible. I even tried to diet because in my mind the best mother of a child with disabilities would be thin. I have fought for Alexander. Our friends and family members have rallied behind my efforts, calling me “Momma Bear.” I have taken on doctors, hospitals, and the general population to help educate them that my son’s life has quality…despite their preconceived notions of what “quality” means.
Two weeks ago, I found myself crippled…on the ground in utter defeat. I was honestly concerned about the fate of my family and I wept tears from a dark place within. I’m sure you are desperate to know what could put such a strain on our family. It was a dog.
Yes. You heard right – a dog.
You see, Alexander has seizures. His seizures last for hours – as in 4 or 5 hours – despite medication. We found a place that would place us with a service dog that would alert us to Alexander’s seizures. This meant, finally, peace. I could go back to sleeping at night. She could save Alexander’s life.
I, apparently, am NOT the “perfect” dog trainer. Although Mixie was trained on how to behave, she is still a puppy. It is our job to continue her training and earn her respect. It was my job to find a way to manage the twins, Alexander, and figure out how to have a service dog listen to me.
The feeling that I wasn’t good enough was so overwhelming that it sent me into a depression. Because what would I do if I couldn’t figure out how to make these things work? What would I do if I had to send Mixie back and something happened to Alexander? How would I live with myself? Why wasn’t I good enough to handle all that was on my plate?
And this past week, something happened. I discovered something that I should have learned a long time ago.
I am good enough at not being perfect. I don’t have to be the perfect dog trainer. I don’t have to be perfect in my parenting of the twins. I don’t have to be perfect in my decisions for Alexander.
While we were receiving our training, Alexander lost a lot of his gross and fine motor skills. He stopped eating orally. The twins began to act out. They watched too much tv. I put all of this on my shoulders… I was not being “perfect” for everyone.
I repeat. I am Enough – not being perfect. It wasn’t the end of the world that Alexander relapsed – he’s bouncing back just fine. It wasn’t the end of the world that the twins began acting out – they are 3… and doing better. It wasn’t the end of the world that I wasn’t the “instant dog whisperer.” I don’t have to be perfect to be be enough. I just have to be me.
Since making that realization, this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And – believe it or not – Mixie is listening to me! Once I stopped battering myself over the loss of perfection, and began to embrace the feelings of self acceptance, a bright spot opened up where light returned into my life.
So my post here – for all Type A perfectionists… You can BE ENOUGH without being perfect. In fact… life is better that way.