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Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Rahti Gorfein

Perfectionism is the Great Paralyzer, the Inner Critic and Wet Blanket that constantly rains on our affairs and endeavors. Quite simply, it is the bane of our existence. It keeps us second-guessing ourselves, and hyper-critical of others. When we let it.

For some of us, Motherhood is Perfectionism’s central arena. I wouldn’t know because I’m a slob in that department. Mostly, I let the kid eat what he wants when he wants it, watch hours of television everyday, wear what he wants and sleep on the couch (for far less than the recommended 12 hours a night.) Yeah, I said it. Uh-huh.

For me, Motherhood has been the ultimate cure for perfectionism. It’s taught me to not just to pick my battles, but pick the right ones for our family. I’d much rather my son lives in a home where everybody’s dreams and goals are respected, than where Mom is an excellent housekeeper. Every family has its own tiny culture. Ours is a bit of a frat house. We don’t own a washer/dryer so my husband does the laundry in the basement of his office building. (I meet him there between appointments and fold). So there are dishes in the sink. Is it my turn to wash them? Hey, I don’t know about you, kid, but I’m going to bed. No, you can’t have that. You’ll pay me back out of your allowance? Ok. (And believe me, if he goes that route, I get reimbursed.)

Fortunately for me, my son hasn’t exhibited any health conditions or disabilities that would endanger him due to this ‘neglect’. Don’t get me wrong; we have routines; homework gets done, the piano gets practiced and I am certainly responsive to his needs. I don’t take sass, inappropriate behavior in public; and we adhere to ‘restaurant manners’ (well, at least when we’re in a restaurant). I just don’t worry in advance about things based on expert theories. Whenever people rave about what a superb kid he is I always say, ‘we’re just trying to stay out of his way’.

And that’s the truth.

Rahti Gorfien, of Creative Calling Coaching, is a Life Coach and Park Slope mom, specializing in creative mothers with universal and yet unique challenges to succeed both personally as mothers and professionally as artists. She is also a regular contributor to Hip Slope Mama. Join her Yahoo Group for additional tips and essays.