Last week while we were cooking dinner, out of the blue, my seven-year-old daughter Lucia said, "Mommy let's make a revolution to not be perfectionists."
"Revolution?" I questioned, then clarified, "A revolution is like a protest."
"No. No. Not a revolution. What's that thing called when you make a decision to change how you act?"
"Yes. Yes. Let's make a resolution to not be perfect all the time."
My heart swelled and broke at the same time. I was so proud and happy to hear Lucia articulating herself clearly and openly, but devastated with the realization that she shares my affliction for perfectionism.
My head still spinning with images of the tortured life my poor little perfectionist would lead if I didn't do something immediately, I seized the opportunity for a teachable moment, "I think that's a great resolution Lu. No one's perfect all the time right? Every single person in the world makes mistakes. All the time. Every day."
"Yeah Mommy, like it doesn't really matter if you don't have the perfect boots on when you get dressed." Lucia lectured while stirring pasta. "You could be ready a lot sooner in the mornings if you didn't worry about your boots or your socks or your skirts."
Stab! Definitely a top ten bad mommy moment!
Later that evening while Lucia was practicing piano, an ongoing stressful event, she kept scolding herself for messing up. I reminded her about our resolution, "Shake it off Lu. Remember, you don't have to be perfect. No one is perfect." She wiggled her arms, took a breath, and tried again.
Since that evening, I've had lots of anti-perfection moments with Lucia and with myself. Like when I let go that my new green-striped Smartwool socks were in the laundry. My black tights would be fine. Like when Lucia read about Martin Luther King and mispronounced "Congress" repeatedly and I held my tongue. Like when Lucia and I built a magnificent snow girl and the head fell off an hour later. I started to run outside to repair our hard work, but instead I just said, "Oh well, she's a smushed snow girl now."(Smile Smile Wink Wink).
I'm not sure what motivated Lucia to make this 2012 resolution, but I'm grateful for the reminder to stand up and fight against the institution of perfectionism.
Welcome to the revolution!