"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Embracing the Chaos

I think I have tried my whole life to live an organized, balanced, neat, tidy, and perfect life. Everything needed to be just so and look just right. Goodness, the house isn't perfect so it is not fit for company. I cringe at how many opportunities, experiences, and conversations I cheated myself out of because of my self imposed psychosis. And trust me, it was definately crazy making.

Right after I had Hannah, I knew it was breaking. I just couldn't keep up and I was really stressed from trying. I kid you not, I exhausted myself two weeks after an emergency csection because I insisted on cleaning an already just fine house. Ludicrous comes to mind quickly. I have issues dances right beside it. But I just couldn't let it go.

Then came Logan, my precious, beautiful, amazing, colicky, acid reflux, didn't stop screaming for the first six months of his life boy. I am going to tell you, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. If I was going to keep my sanity something was going to have to give and perfectionism jumped up to volunteer.

The result has been more surprising that I could have imagined. Perfectionism was putting me in a sterile, cold box of conformity. My brain was so caught up in the disease of perfect that my creativity and expression had been all but doused, supressed under layers of organizational methods and procedures. All my creativity, all my passion, all my desires to live life out loud had been buried deep within my heart. Thankfully, these things quickened with life as soon as I shrugged off the shackles of perfection.

I have never had a better time in my life. I am writing. I am hooping. I knit and crochet. I explore other ways to express myself. I laugh. I live. I dream. Life without perfection is beautiful. I am coming to understand the flaws and mess is where the true beauty is in life. Within the chaos, creation is born. This realization causes me to pause and ponder the implications daily. I try not to wince at the wasted time.

I urge you to examine your own self expectations, really scrutinize them. First, are they actually yours or some mythos that somebody thought up to be an ideal not even your own ideal? If it is yours, is it helpful? Is it beneficial? Or is it in reality holding you back from living the life you should be living?

Dropping these false aspirations can free us to live a life of joy. We can learn to enjoy the mess and appreciate the chaos. We can see our children laughing with mud streaked across their faces and sunlight in hair as they track that same mud into our homes. We can revel in the joy rather than losing precious moments in needless anxiety.

I slip up. I panic from time to time that my house is a disaster. But I am learning more each day. More times than not I will shrug off a dirty floor to cuddle up with a baby and read. I am learning to spend more sunsets hooping and loving the moment rather than fixate on dishes to be done. I slip up but I am choosing more and more to live in the moment and just breathe.


  1. I especially love this coming from someone who laughed at me for raising dust bunnies! Messy can be so freeing at times!

    I have never heard anyone praise their mother for how clean the house was - I have heard people complain because their mom was so busy cleaning she didn't have time for them, or their home was not somewhere you could relax and be comfortable. I'd rather be comfortable.

    I too learned this as the kids came, and had to fight back the perfectionism for years. A difficult growing process.

  2. And I will still laugh at you for raising dust bunnies and then ask advice on keeping my herd healthy! God uses the things in our lives to help us grow. I am now understanding that perfectionism was cover other really painful stuff. Releasing the perfectionism means I have to deal head on with those issues. But it is a good thing. It is time they are dealt with.

    I just had a new friend over today and my house was not the cleanest. I was really comfortable about it. But it still surprised me how much she raved about what a great house I have. She saw more in our house than if the floors were perfect or not. It was quite nice.