I’ve been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember. I’m the first born, so some of it comes naturally. I think it then evolved into me trying to control anything I could when life’s circumstances felt like they were out of control. What an exhausting lifestyle.
I started 2022 caring for Jaclyn by myself and working remotely as Seth quarantined with covid and then again as my dad tested positive for covid the following week. I have so much pride in my roles as a mother and a coordinator at work, so naturally, I want to give my all to both. But I physically couldn’t.
I couldn’t make myself wake up any earlier than 5:00 am to work before Jaclyn woke up after another restless night sleeping on the couch. I sometimes couldn’t actively participate in zoom meetings because Jaclyn was in full toddler mode… whatever that meant in the moment. I couldn’t cook dinner every night because Jaclyn wanted me to hold her or play with her instead after having only half of my attention all day. I could only do what I could do. And it was enough.
I’ve never been one to choose a word for the new year, but if I was, I would choose ENOUGH for this year. My efforts are enough. I am enough. Enough with perfectionism and the desire to control every little thing.
My therapist asked me what it means to me for my efforts to be enough. When it comes to Jaclyn, I want her to be able to think about the day and say, “This was such a fun day with Mommy.” When it comes to work, I want my team to have what they need to do their work.
I’ve found it’s easier to feel like my efforts are enough as I reflect on the day rather than in the moment. So my therapy homework this week is to change my modals when I’m talking to myself. Change my shoulds to coulds. Instead of, “I should wake up earlier to get started on my emails” change my language to “I could wake up earlier…” or I could sleep and get a little more rest. Both are good options and it’s my choice. The word should puts more unnecessary pressure on myself.
I didn’t really believe simply changing some words could make a difference. But it surely did. I talked myself out of a near anxiety attack in the middle of Kroger last weekend with it.
My boss always says, “Words matter.” I’ve always known that in regards to how you speak to other people, but I’m a little slow on realizing that it matters with my own self talk as well. Better late than never though. I’m thankful and excited to learn and practice this more so I can pass it along to my little sweet pea as she she watches her Mommy learn to care for herself better.