Tag Archives: perfectionism

Why am I straining my arm?


I can’t decide if it’s good or bad, the great sense of satisfaction and, dare I say, pride I get from accomplishing the most mundane and unexciting of tasks.

Today, for example, I got all the kids’ clothing picked out for school next week. I should point out this does take some work due to the constant chaotic state of laundry in this household. It’s not a matter of merely walking to the closet and picking out something. There are, at any given time, multiple caches of clean clothing around the house that are waiting to be folded and put away, not to mention there’s a good chance any specific item needed will be in the hamper waiting to be washed. It’s rather like assembling a jigsaw puzzle; this laying out of the week’s wardrobe.

Also throwing a wrinkle into the process is that JZ’s class is having “rainbow week” and the kids are being called upon to wear a particular color each day. So that required some extra digging and hunting. But I got it done. All outfits have been decided upon AND Johnny will be wearing the appropriate color all five days.

As I sit here feeling content and even a little bit smug at having accomplished this, it leads me to ask myself WHY? Why should I be patting myself on the back for doing something that needed to be done, anyway? Is it simply because I got it done early? After all, if I ever do set out all five outfits ahead of time it usually doesn’t get done until Sunday night. Most often I just dig up one day’s worth at a time, the night before. So it’s definitely nice having it done and not having to think about it not only tomorrow, but for the entire rest of the week.

On the other hand, maybe it’s my perfectionist tendencies coming into play. If the kids are supposed to have something or wear something for school, I really, really hate not facilitating that. It would’ve frustrated me way more than it should have had I not been able to find all the right colors for JZ to wear. But I did and now he’ll be perfectly attired. That’s one in the “win” column for me.

Then again, and this is my secret fear, perhaps this just means I’m becoming entirely too domesticated. Maybe, I think to myself, my identity has been so wholly consumed by housewifely minutiae that the only thing I can do anymore to give myself a sense of pride is ironing and cleaning and washing. Could it be? I don’t feel like it’s so. After all, a cursory glance around my house would tell even the most unobservant of folks that I’m not spending a whole lot of time doing housework (or even thinking about it). There’s no musing about just how I can get my whites whiter while wearing a dress and heels and vacuuming. I’m busy, people. I’ve got crap to do, and my name ain’t Mrs. Cleaver.

No, I think I’m going to go with the perfectionist theory. In my mind, I should have the kids’ clothes laid out every weekend for the following week; ergo, having them picked out now = perfect. Johnny’s supposed to wear yellow, green, blue, indigo and then purple, and the shirts I found are yellow, green, blue, indigo and purple. Therefore I have done my job “right”, a.k.a. “perfect.” It’s a sickness, y’all.

Now, if only I could get my perfectionism to translate into the energy to make stuff happen, we’d be golden. You have no idea how much it sucks to live inside a head that’s telling you, “That’s WRONG! That’s TERRIBLE!” everywhere you look but not have the fortitude or the resources to actually change it.