So—off the path of seriousness, I will share what it’s like to live with anxiety and the expectation that perfection is attainable.
Through my personal experiences, I have learned a lot about how my thoughts create the most ridiculous cycles. I’m not poking fun at any who suffer from anxiety…I’m laughing at myself, because that is how I cope. It’s how I’m finding a way to break the cycle.
Having the dream of being a perfect mom, included being the best cook. Eating out, or in the car after a drive-through, was not what I had planned for my family. For the most part, I was successful. I accomplished it through serious planning and a ton of anxiety.
When my kids were young, I avoided feeding them sugar. I didn’t want them to know the taste of that wicked sweetness. I didn’t want them eating a crappy cheeseburger which could create unhealthy eating habits. And, we avoided it–until they caught wind that McDonald’s had toys in their Happy Meals. The good toys–hypnotizing their little minds into believing they must have one.
Before their constant whining, and my giving in to their puppy-dog looks of starvation, I exposed them to most vegetables. They actually liked the veggies I served them, and they received sweetness through fruit.
I had to cook vegetables to perfection. Dinner always had to be perfect.
One time, I overcooked the cauliflower. While trying to serve it, I found that it was all mushy and I couldn’t pick any up with a fork. That released the mommy monster of perfection failure. I started flicking cauliflower all over the place. It landed in our hair, on the table, the floor.
My husband looked at me, almost ready to laugh out loud, then thought better of it. Our son was too young to have memories of this incident, and I can’t remember if I was pregnant with our daughter, or she had just been born–so I’m blaming hormones for this extravaganza.
Ha! We laugh today, but it wasn’t funny then. However, flicking the cauliflower was very therapeutic.
Every holiday, I expected to have the best dinner. A big one. I would cook it all by myself–I didn’t want help because I expected a certain level of perfection that only I could achieve. (eye roll) The table would be perfect with cloth napkins instead of paper. I mostly achieved it, with a ton of planning and a lot of anxiety.
Today, we use mismatched dinnerware, and if we’re out of paper napkins, we use paper towels–or our sleeves. Ha! I gave up on the perfectionist expectations, but my anxiety remained high.
We have become very flexible over the years. Our kids have significant others that are attached to families, and our daughter is here when she is able, so we have family dinners–the big holiday kind–when we can all get together. The dinner doesn’t have to fall on the exact holiday date. The “big feast” isn’t what most holidays are for anyway.
To my shock and sense of accomplishment, I survived yesterday. The day before Easter. The day we decided to have our holiday dinner.
My planning sucked…
……and the power went out just short of dinner being ready.
Did I panic? NO!!!!
Did I care? NO!!!!
I have a big smile, and I’m patting myself on the back today. Yesterday, I didn’t have to practice heavy breathing to pull myself together. No alcohol was involved, and the Xanax stayed in the bottle. I pretended like we were fancy schmanzy people, and we simply had our meal in “courses”.
…………….and there wasn’t any cauliflower flying through the air.