Some nice words that describe my personality are self-disciplined, productive, focused, structured, driven. Some less-nice words that describe my personality are controlling, rigid, impatient, perfectionistic.
On the Enneagram framework, I’m a type 1, which is literally called “The Perfectionist.” I’m about as far on the J side of the Judging-Perceiving spectrum on Myers-Briggs as one can get. I crave productivity, I thrive on routine, I am motivated by the pursuit of perfection—so much so that sometimes I believe perfection is a real, achievable thing. (Go ahead, moms. You can laugh.)
But honestly, if you saw me on a normal day of motherhood, you’d think I was the most loosey-goosey parent this side of Lake Michigan. I do prioritize a few things that ground our day—my daughter wakes at 7:00, takes a nap around 12:15, and goes to bed at 7:15 most nights. But sandwiched between those sleep cycles, anything goes.
Sometimes my daughter watches too much TV. Sometimes she’ll entertain herself in her play kitchen for hours. Sometimes we go to the park. Sometimes we bounce from toy to toy, with me desperately trying to keep her from having another meltdown. Sometimes I hold out when she asks for snacks when I know she’s actually just bored, and sometimes I cave because it’s not a battle I have the energy to fight, and also, I’m on a work deadline.
We don’t do art projects, I don’t scour Pinterest for sensory activities and we rarely venture to the library for story time. (And I’m a former elementary school teacher!) I don’t have a specific discipline model I follow step–by–step, and my parenting philosophy is basically just to treat my child with respect, set limits that help her to be safe and kind, and hope she turns out to be a good human.
When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with my daughter Selah, I imagined that my perfectionism would have to die a slow and painful death. And it did, kind of.