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Confessions of a Perfectionist Working Mom

Susan, Here: Checking In and Confession Time

Has it been forever since I blogged on here? Nah, just since August.

But man, I have been pouring my energy into so many other things — my social media consulting business, my family, and other random stuff — that I’ve sadly neglected my WMAG readers.

That is not right. I love this blog. I love you people. I love writing about my life! Sorry ’bout the lapse.

I’ll try to bring you up to speed on the latest. (Kind of like when you have a long-overdue coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in ages. “Talk fast! I only have an hour and there’s a lot of ground to cover!”)

I’m currently on an airplane, taking me and Hubs back home to Cincinnati after a whirlwind, wonderful kids-free trip to Washington, DC. It was part-work (attending the fab Blogalicious Conference, hosted by my longtime bloggy pal Justice Fergie) and part-personal (1,000 date nights squeezed into sightseeing, visits with old friends, dinners out, and hotel nights in). I have just finished reading my People magazine (required reading for any flight) and actually have some time to write before we land.

Overall, things are good.

Really good. I love what I’m doing professionally. My kids amaze me daily with their cuteness, smarts, endless supply of mama-love, and wonder at the world around us. Hubs is supportive and loving, as always.

My friends rock. When I turned 35 a week ago, they all came over and showered me with compliments and sentiments (at the party I threw for myself — tacky, I know, but somebody had to do it!) I live in comfortable suburban bliss surrounded by neighbors I actually like hanging out with (and our kids do, too).

And what a family I have! Mom and Dad live 2 miles away, and they’re helping me out and loving me at every turn. They’re the reason our DC trip is 100% kid-free. Plus, I have extended family in the wings, ready to do the same. (Seriously, when my back was in bad shape a few weeks ago and I couldn’t move without terrible pain, my 93-year-old grandpa called me up and offered to help if I needed it. Nothing makes you feel prematurely elderly like that kind of call, lemme tell ya.)

I. Am. Blessed.

I am constantly filled with ideas, sparks of creativity, passion for new pursuits, dreams and hopes. Wow, awesome — right? Well … sort of.

I am also constantly plagued by chronic perfectionism. I’ve always had it bad, but something about being a mother seems to exacerbate my perfectionist tendencies. I think, I’m a role model for my children, and how I behave will affect what kind of people they turn out to be. I have to do better!

So here come the confessions.

I’m more than a little embarrassed to admit to this (partial) list of things I feel like I need to perfect about myself/my life:

  • Be the best mom in the world. I’m imagining this to involve serving super-healthy meals and snacks, hardly ever turning on the TV, doing bonding, educational activities with my kids a lot, and discipline of some kind that actually works but doesn’t harm anyone.
  • Turn this blog into a powerhouse of awesomeness for working moms everywhere. (You should see my to-do list for this one. It is long, and it is dusty.)
  • Eat healthy, exercise regularly, lose a crap-ton of weight. (Been on the list since 1989.)
  • Once I get all thin and healthy again, wear makeup and stylish clothes instead of Chapstick and frumpy mom-sweats.
  • Get us out of debt, create and stick to a budget, save money for retirement, college, amazing vacations. Also, have plenty of cash in the bank so I never have to wait to pay a bill.
  • Grow my business into a wildly successful one that makes me lots of money, creates jobs and singlehandedly boosts the US economy, while still allowing me to still have plenty of time to spend with friends and family.
  • Become an active contributing member to my church, instead of just a go-once-in-a-blue-moon, contribute-zilch kind of member. Also: Have my kids become involved and learn stuff about religion so they aren’t like “Jesus, who?” or “What’s a Muslim?” when they get older.
  • Be a super-awesome friend/family member/neighbor who remembers every birthday, promptly sends thank-you notes, makes you smile and feel good about yourself, etc. etc. etc.

If I went on, you’d probably think I am just plain crazy, so I’ll leave it here at just the biggies. I feel like such a hypocrite. Here I am, the champion for fighting working-mom guilt, succumbing to rampant, self-induced perfectionism and feeling kind of paralyzed by it. I’d never expect a good friend to achieve this enormous list of awesomeness (although I suspect a few of them have — bitches!) Why, then, do I put this kind of pressure on myself?

I know I need to ease up. Maybe by putting this post out there to you, I’m already starting to let go. I really hope so.


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11 thoughts on “Susan, Here: Checking In and Confession Time

  1. So happy you are back!! I was a new follower back in August…and I’ve been wonderin… 🙂

    I would love to interview you for my blog, let me know if you’re interested…or if you have time!! My to-do list looks a lot like yours!!

  2. I think you can take “make this blog a powerhouse of awesomeness” off your list. I think it is fantastic, if for no other reason than to know that there are other hard-working, forever striving, worried Moms out there who feel exactly the way I do. And more importantly, are succeeding and failing just as much as I am. Thanks for sharing not only the successes, but the struggles too. And one more plug – this is the only blog I bother reading.

    Thanks Susan (and company) for [virtually] being there!

  3. You are awesome Susan! I am so happy for you. I really value your friendship and hate that I couldn’t be there to ring in 35 with you. Cant wait to see what the future holds for you.

  4. Susan, you are superawesome. We should have lunch and do some brainstorming/commiserating. Maybe we can fuse our awesomeness and create even more awesome. Or something like that. I will call you.

  5. Lol. I cannot imagine any grownup saying “my mom is the best mom in the world because she fed me healthy snacks, never let me watch tv, ….” They are more likely to say something like, “my mom is the best mom in the world because I always felt loved and supported and I know she will always be there for me”. Besides, the role of best mom is already taken by my mom!

    Goals are a funny thing, they keep us focused, but they always seem to highlight our weaknesses and keep us from living in the moment.

    Glad you had a good birthday!

    1. Tricia, you are so right. Love is without question the most important thing a mom can provide for her kids. And if my kids don’t know I loved them more than anyone/anything in the world — well, they better. That’s all. 🙂

  6. Did you steal my list?! Because that almost looks like my list. 🙂 Thank you for sharing if only to help me feel semi normal and to remind me that we can’t do everything and we don’t have to be perfect. Good is fine and okay is not so bad either. I often see that trying to get things done gets in the way of just enjoying the moment and if your kids are anything like mine they are growing up way too fast before my eyes! Love your web site but glad you just post when it works. The title says it all! Thanks!

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