This weekend’s cooking/crafting project (almost typed ‘problem’ – Freudian slip) got me thinking. If you are a Type-A and realize this is mostly an obstacle when it comes to 1. Other people enjoying you or 2. Relaxing instead of fixating on your unfinished to-do list or 3. Raising laid back children – though they might do this just to spite you. So where can we go for help? How can we change our ways? Well, have I got a plan for you. And it isn’t 12 steps. No, it’s 6. They are as follows.
STEP 1: Get pregnant – This is the first step in experiencing your imperfection. While you haven’t accepted that you have flaws, this is still a first step.
STEP 2: SLEEP DEPRIVATION. Wake to feed screaming child every 3 hours for months. Or even better, when you wear down, let them sleep with you (something many parents swear they will never allow, but then do it and lie about it). You will put milk away… in the bathroom. You will be at a loss for basic words like, let’s see… ‘the.’ You will be a bumbling idiot, if you can find enough strength to form a bumble. You are now accepting that you are not perfect and neither is the inside of your house.
STEP 3: Move. Yes, you must move. Not just houses, not just neighborhoods. You must move far enough away that no one knows your former self (the smart one with regular manis/pedis). The only person your new friends know is someone who can’t think straight and probably shouldn’t be driving a car let alone operating very complicated baby equipment. For a Type-A this experience is like being lost in the wilderness with no survival skills. And no, flirting with the bear will not stop him from eating you. Admit it. You are powerless.
STEP 4: Have BOYS. Make sure your offspring are boys. As soon as they are physically capable, they will jump on you, climb on you, knee and elbow you, head butt you, and yank your hair. All by accident. Next, they’ll target your furniture. And if you think taking them outside to play is the answer, they will turn your hair gray in a week. They perform death defying stunts right in front of you. Even in a flat yard with no playground equipment or strangers… they will somehow manage to jeopardize their lives. You will lose your breath. Your heart will cease to beat. And then it will be time to go inside and make dinner.
STEP 5- Build a haunted gingerbread house with your children. Go ahead and look at the box. Take in the perfect gingerbread houses in the pictures on the box. So orderly. Decorated so perfectly. Now make the icing and call your children to the table. Thirty minutes later when your dining room table is covered with icing, small candy balls that seem to run away from you (at the same time and in different directions – go ahead – chase them, it’s good for you)… yes, when your child has inserted the tip of the icing bag in his mouth and is squeezing out mouth-full after mouth-full… and when you realize the black icing will not wash off of your skin, stop to ponder what it’s doing to your son’s teeth and his clothing. When you can do this without raising your voice or feeling even one shoulder scrunching scintilla of stress (or taking over the project and making something beautiful) that’s when you know you’ve almost made it to the other side. And when you do, call and tell me a bout it. I’d like to hear what that’s like.
STEP 6: LOVE. Yes, LOVE like crazy the very tiny human exposing your every weakness. Love to the point that you brand yourself a fool in public doing anything required to make them laugh or smile. Love to the point that when they cry, you are close to tears yourself. When they are old enough to talk (something you don’t need to encourage, trust me) love that little person to pieces when they make fun of imperfect, lovable you. Love to the point that when you look at what must be the world’s ugliest gingerbread house, you smile and tell them they did an incredible job! And then put that atrocious confection on display until Halloween night.
NOW, help the rest of us!