Lessons in Forgiving Imperfection

Of all the things I have to do in a day, forgiving myself for my mistakes is the hardest.  And yet, recently I find myself more and more frequently in a position where I have no choice but to offer myself a bit of kindness.

This pregnancy has completely knocked me off my feet…literally and figuratively.  I have spent most of the last 2 weeks in bed.  Unable to move, eat, or think, Ellis has either been carted off to nursery or someone else has been watching him or…he's been sat in front of the television while I am sick.  My house has disintegrated into total disgusting mess (be glad the camera is broken and I don't have photographic evidence.  It might put you off your breakfast). Basic everyday tasks like shopping, paying bills, laundry, have all either been left by the wayside or Kev makes an attempt when he is at home.

I have been signed off of work, Kevin does all of the pick up and delivery of Ellis, and I am left in bed on my own for days on end. I have even had to cancel seeing friends. If you hadn't guessed it already, I am a busy person.  I like to have 6 or 7 projects on the go.  I like to be around people and get out and about. 

But at this point in time, I have to stop.  And as much as I don't like it, I recognize that its a good lesson for me.  I have always had these exacting standards for myself, ideas about how I should parent, how my house should look, what kind of a friend I need to be.  But, I have had to (try to) accept that I can be these things, just not all the time.  Sometimes I will be able to keep on top of it all, but right now is not one of those moments.

I don't think that this just relates to me and my current situation.  I know so many women, mothers or no, who berate themselves for the list of things they didn't or couldn't do in a day/week/lifetime. Who go over the minutiae of an interaction with someone else and analyze what they should have done differently. Spending a lot of energy worrying about perceived past transgressions, instead of living in the now and accepting that sometimes ideals have to be put aside for realism.

For today at least, I am going to try and keep in mind Anna Quindlen's quote "The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." I am going to apologize to you all for the backlog in responding to comments and emails, and head upstairs with a cup of tea. In my experience, forgiveness for imperfection is often found under the covers with some knitting on a cold and wet day.


7 responses

  • my friend says that pregnancy (especially when it’s not your first child) has its own ways of preparing you for what it’s going to be like with a newborn and slowing down is the first lesson. I hope on some levels you’re enjoying your enforced slow down ((((hugs))))

  • I can totally relate to this. I loved this bit, “…accepting that sometimes ideals have to be put aside for realism.”
    I hope you feel better soon, but that we’re all kinder to ourselves sooner!

  • Congrats! Great news. I heartily concur about your ruminations about perfection. As a midwife though, I would like to offer some practical advice. Whatever you do eat and drink, dehydration and hunger are the best friends of morning sickness. Maybe you have a girl or twins on board if you are sicker than last time. The good news is that strong preganancies make sick mummies (lots of hormones). Roll on 12 weeks…

  • I heartily concur as someone who not only analyses what could have been done better but also the implications of every single decision before taking it. It is no wonder my memory ain’t what it was!
    One thing I would add to this is that I (and maybe you too) need to give ourselves permission to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness to admit we cannot be perfect and therefore need other people to asisst us, in fact it is a sign of strength to be able to say “you know what, I’m not coping here and I need some help”.
    Ask friends to spend an hour doing your household chores, prepare you a meal etc. After all you know you’d be first in line to offer them help if they asked for it.
    Hope you feel better soon x

  • That is exactly what happened to me with baby Fifi. It will pass. Its hard to rest when you have things to do, but try to enjoy the break as much as you can. After all, its not often you get the chance.
    I analyse eveything and wonder and worry all day long. It really is best to just be, revel in the thought of new life and wait until you get to 38 weeks, then you will be in a frenzy of household cleaning!

  • Congrats and try and make the most of having some time for yourself – it dosen’t happem much. As always I love your quote … “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
    I will have to remember that myself.