It Doesn’t Need to be Perfect

A common “meltdown” time for me is the hour before the ______________ fill in the blank. It could be my daughter’s birthday party, company for dinner, or anyone coming to stay.

The day generally starts out fine. I have my list. I have the allotted amount of time for each item written next to it. But somehow it often takes longer than I think it will. As the deadline gets closer, I start going into scarcity mode. I start shouting instructions at my family and getting more stressed when they don’t seem to be urgent enough in completing their given tasks.

I am doing better with this now. I hope my family would agree. I am realizing that people can come to my house even if I haven’t vacuumed. People can enjoy the party even if I haven’t dusted. No one will die from this. Including me.

I have learned that my panicky feelings come from panicky thoughts. And panicky thoughts are optional.

I am learning to let go of them. Learning to adjust my thinking has been a little vulnerable for me. For many years I have believed it should “appear” that the bathrooms are always clean, the sheets are always washed and waiting for guests. Letting go of that has been a very healthy thing for me. I try to be ready for my guests, but sometimes they help me put the clean sheets on. I feel okay about that. It’s a more accurate view of my life.

I remember going to stay with the friend once. She picked me up from the airport in her minivan. When the door to the backseat opened I was so happy to see that there were cold French fries on the floor. My first thought was, “Oh good, this looks like my car.” I was so glad it wasn’t perfect.

Allowing myself to be more human instead of trying to appear “super human” has helped me be kinder, more present and, I think, ultimately a better host.

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