"...I just like things a certain way."
I heard a very wise woman speak today and she noted briefly about the woahs of her past perfection. My ears perked a bit. Before I go on I have to be a bit more accurate about myself, here (because that's what perfectionists in messy houses must do), I am not super super perfectionistic but I have these tendencies. (My husband is rolling his eyes now but I am pretending he just misunderstood my meaning.)
She said two really good things that I must record for posterity:
1. If you are so focused on results and go around re-doing what your children have done (refold the towel, re-sweep under the table, straighten up the not-quite-clean-enough-for-my-liking room, repositioning the silverware they set at the table) we rob our children of initiative. Why should they try when their "good enough" is not good enough? I will go a step further and say that we steal away their hope, too. Our kids want desperately to please us, even when they don't show it. And every time we pull out our perfectionism card, we have dashed their hope of pleasing us. So, again, why try. Knife to my heart!!
2. The second thing she said is that people stop helping perfectionists and instead heap more on them because they see them as ultra efficient at what they do. It is so true that people stop helping. I think the other reason that (husbands) stop helping is that we let them know our displeasures. I was tempted to exercise that principal (but did not) a few weeks ago when, in the morning I saw that the pan FULL of cooked vegetables from dinner the night before that I was planning on eating for lunches that week did not get put away after dinner. It took me only a moment (thanks to 10 years of learning how to be a decent wife) to recall how thankful I was that he HAD put all the other dishes in the dishwasher and cleaned all the other pots and pans. I shudder to think that a handful of years ago (or during any given pregnancy, Lord help us) that I would have "casually" brought it up to him. I decided I would rather throw away yucky veggies and have help again on another night. Good choice, girl. (And, no, that is not a pic from my house. Just a random google image.)
Now I will add my little two cents on the subject but this is about my son, who I see has the propensity to follow in my footsteps. He likes things perfect, and struggles when he can't get it just right. So it is all the more critical that I on-purpose show him that the definition of perfect is not "doing everything right." The definition of perfect is "complete in Christ." Everything else, for my perfectionist son, is "good enough." How fun is it that I get to influence him in that way (and how thankful will his free-spirited wife be!).