People seem to be looking for perfection – every day, everywhere. I can’t think that’s good for anybody’s mental health and well-being. Airbrushing, body shaming, posting your (heavily edited and filtered) life on social media, blocking people who disagree with you and pretending they are not there and the endless nit-picking if someone in the public eye shows that they are human, with flaws, like the rest if us. All these point to this trend for perfectionism.
We just need to make today that little bit better than yesterday – if possible. Hope, resilience, engagement, taking responsibility, taking small steps, finding contentment in the little things are all better than negatively promoting perfectionism. It’s a theme I share with students every day in the classroom and with my own children.
The firstborn heads back to Uni today after a five week break over Christmas. As a mother back in December I was looking forward to having all my children together again under one roof. In my imagination we’d go on frosty country walks, eat leisurely breakfasts, go down to see grandad in London and pop up to see the lights, play board games in front of the fire and share round the Christmas chocolates and mulled wine.
It wasn’t quite like that.
There have been some shared meals, one game of Monopoly, a trip with the boys to the bookshop and a family trip to Stourhead. I’ve binge-watched episodes of Sherlock and Father Brown with the eldest, nattered with the youngest over a coffee in the kitchen and mused over university applications and the likelihood of the Green Bay Packers making the Superbowl with the middlest. The weather has been frosty in the last few days but largely grey and wet before. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve saw the teenagers head out with friends rather than staying in by the fire with their parents. There have been no huge gatherings of family and friends.
On reflection it’s been a bit chaotic. Most of the time my kitchen has been a bicycle cleaning and repair shop. I haven’t given the house a proper clean in weeks and we haven’t sat down to one family breakfast in the whole of the time there have been five people under one roof. Last night I lit the fire and gradually everyone appeared with their hot drinks and stayed for the rest of the evening, laughing and chatting. Proof that my life is beautiful.
Unplanned, imperfect but beautiful.