I admit it, I’m one of those moms who gets twitchy every time one of my kids colors outside the lines or decides that orange lettuce and purple tomatoes make an appetizing-looking salad. I was very uptight about the whole “place your sticker correctly in the space, properly aligned” and “follow directions to a T” business when the Firstborn was starting out on activity books, hovering to make sure he was doing it “right”. I’m pleased to note that my expectations of toddler and preschooler fine motor skills are far less unrealistic today than they were two years ago. While the Firstborn was made to color things yellow because darnit, that’s what the directions said to do, the Princess has the freedom to pick from a rainbow of choices. She is also free to pick markers over crayons, because really, markers are just plain more fun to color with.
The point of all this being that once upon a time my attitude was: if it can’t be done right, then it won’t be done at all.
Perfectionism is a beast I battle quite regularly in all areas of my life. It’s like a many-headed Hydra; if I chop one head off, it sprouts another as soon as my back is turned. Just this week I balked at actually starting any of the short stories spinning in my head on the pretext that they weren’t ready.
Well, the truth is that I wasn’t ready to write anything less than perfect.
Once I got to the root cause of my procrastination, I pulled out that trusty old Sword of Slaying and hacked off yet another head of the perfectionism beastie. Then I opened up Word and got a start on two of the stories.
Progress is miserably, painfully slow and I’m avoiding reading what little I’ve written, but at least it’s happening.
Oh, and today? The Firstborn got out a sticker book his grandfather gave him for his birthday and, aside from helping him find which stickers went with the pages he wanted to do, I did not watch him at all.
There’s hope for me yet.