How parenting is curing perfectionism

I don’t turn around. Ever. Even when I’ve forgotten something vital. Especially when I’ve forgotten something vital. I just can’t bring myself to turn back. It’s admitting failure. It hurts the perfectionist in me. 

I do like to get things exactly right. I probably need to get things exactly right, if I’m honest. I hate screwing up. Hate it.

Becoming a parent changed all that. Uncomfortably so. Because I know how to operate as a perfectionist. As a grade A student. As someone gets it right first time. I don’t know how to work myself as someone who gets it wrong and has to try again.

But oh my sainted aunts, did parenting a newborn throw that out the window. Cause you can’t get it right. Partly, cause sometimes, there is no right. You do everything the books tell you – rocking, swaddling, hushing, downloading white noise mp3s, car rides, vacuum cleaners, hairdryers (don’t ask), car seats, suckling, skin-to-skin. And it doesn’t matter. You still have a kid who looks and sounds like the world is going to end any minute now.

And partly, cause you screw up one day, then get a complete do over the next. Baby doesn’t know. She doesn’t remember that you accidentally kept her awake for seven hours straight because you didn’t know she needed to sleep, and then she screamed the house down for a long, long time until it finally dawned that she might be horribly overtired.

She doesn’t remember that  you only discovered the magic of the all-soothing swaddle at week four. Or that you didn’t realise that partly green diaper contents (sorry folks,) weren’t normal. Or that (continues ad infinitum)

We’ve made so many mistakes in the last eight weeks that I should stop referring to them as mistakes. There are no right answers. Just attempts to get things right. And sometimes, the strategies simply keep you busy while baby works out her issues for herself, thankyouverymuch.

Like with the gassiness. We tried tummy massage. We forced minty gas drops into her mouth on a pipette (she hated it and spat it out. We laughed at her ‘sucking-on-a-lemon’ face). We bicycled her legs. We altered her feeding positions. I eliminated entirely random foods from my diet (goodbye beans. See you later cheese. Adios carbs). One person actually advised us to stop taking baby for a walk on windy days. Yes, the idea being that she swallows wind and it makes her gassy. Ohdearlord, that’s not even science. And honestly, all it did was give us something to focus on while she grew out of being gassy. Cause if someone has told us it’d be four weeks of crankiness, we’d have got in the car and driven to Florida. Without the baby. Instead, we kept ourselves merrily occupied researching new solutions online (“this blog says it could be a fear of heights” “GENIUS! THAT’S GOTTA BE IT!”) and implementing them, while she solved her own problem by, well, growing up.

1 Comment

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One response to “How parenting is curing perfectionism

  1. It never stops being a guessing game, and lemon face never stops being funny.

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