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The Trap Of Perfection

Hello, My name is Wilson, I am a Perfectionist!

Hi Wilson -- replies the group.

Its the imagined scene of an AA type group for perfectionist.  I have battled with perfectionism all my life, as I imagine many of us do.  Perfectionism is a cruse for mothers.  It traps us into negative thoughts about ourselves, our families and how we view that world.  It says to us if we can't do it perfectly than we are failures.

So, it begs the question with is perfect?  We know as Catholic/Christians that only Jesus was perfect. What does that say about Mary and how she was a woman and mother?  We are told that she, and she alone of all human beings, was conceived with out sin, she was Jesus' first and perfect disciple. And if we had mothers who were "old school Catholic" this was seen as a challenge, an unobtainable challenge; they were going to be perfect at all cost.

It is very confusing for us as Catholic/Christian moms to look at Mary and not feel as if we fall very short of the mark.  We see her as this serene young woman, so calm, so what?  But we are told in scripture that Mary carried all these things in her heart.  Many of us have an image of Mary as being almost robotic, if you would, someone who did not feel or express deep emotions.  But at the cross she wept bitter tears.  We are told that Mary, Joseph and Jesus make up the Holy Family, the example of the perfect family.  But their life started out very rocky, she a pregnant unwed teen mother, he a reluctant bridegroom fearful of others opinion of them.

What we have to consider here is our own misconception of perfect.  We can see perfect as entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings.  This perfection makes it impossible for us and keeps us in a negative cycle because we can not achieve what we believe we are called: being a perfect mother.  Does God want us to be perfect -- inhumanly perfect?

Perfect can also be seen as thorough; complete; utter; which makes it more attainable.  Thorough, complete, utterly was how Mary considered and accepted God's calling.  Thorough in prayer, complete in resolve, and utterly trusting in God.  This is perfection of a more positive result, it allows us to consider clearly what we are undertaking, we look at how we can complete this calling in terms of resources and support, and utterly hopeful that we can achieve all we are called to be and do, with faith and prayer.

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