When I was younger I was such a perfectionist!
Everything had to be done by me personally; everything I cooked was done from scratch. I used to clean everything, sew, knit, paint walls, dress my kids perfectly and try to look like a fashion plate every day.
People would come to my house and say, “Oh, I love your drapes!” and I’d say, “ I made them myself!” “I smell bread! “baked it myself!” “Are those your children?” Yeah, I made ‘em myself!”
I think of the silly things I said back then such as “You could eat off my floors.”
Now, isn’t that special? Imagine having people over and having them eat off your floors?
I was also a slave to rules. I did things and didn’t even know why I was doing them. One day, I was cooking roast beef, and I cut the ends off and threw them away, as I always did. It occurred to me to wonder why, so I called my mother. “Why do we cut the ends off?”
“I don’t know why you’re doing it,” she said “I did it because it didn’t fit in the pan.”
After thirty or more years of mopping, scouring, dusting and checking to see that everything is right, I’m seriously considering ( if you’ll excuse the expression) of throwing in the towel.
Life is not just a daily list of “to do”s. It also needs a serious sprinkling of “ta Dah’s”.
So here are some suggestions for those of you who feel compelled to work yourself into a dither about everything and have to have everything and everyone around you perfect:
1. Make a “not to do” list. Write down everything you’ve done already or what you have enough of. For example, “Have plenty of toilet paper, soap, and remembered my mother’s birthday”!
2. Make your bed but leave one side undone. As you leave the room remind yourself that the “bed checkers” are not coming.
3. Tell one person one thing that you don’t do well. Maybe the underwear and socks in your drawers are not lined up perfectly.
4. Go outside when it’s raining and get all wet. Try it sometime when you have something “good” on.
5. Let someone borrow your good pencil or pen when you’re at work, and let the family use the good towels. After all they are your loved ones.
But most of all don’t forget to enjoy your life. That the greatest TADAH of all!
Loretta LaRoche writes the Get A Life Column for the Patriot Ledger.