There was a time in my life when I wanted everything to be perfect. You know the phrase “have all your ducks in a row?” I would be the person making sure that the distance between them was exactly 3.5 cm. Then I had a child and started adopting the motto “better done than perfect.” Not only did I become more pragmatic but less of a pill.
The long and short of it is that life is not a three act play where people are going read their lines and behave the way you want on cue. One of the most exciting aspects of life is the concept of free will and the ability make autonomous choices once you reach a certain age. Wanting that dinner to go according to plan or that party to work out exactly so will just put you in a tizzy. Tightly wound people will be the death of me I swear.
This is not to say that I don’t have great expectations. I am my own harshest critic and expect a certain level of decorum and achievement from myself. The only thing I take more seriously than my own success is the responsibility of parenting. I like doing things well and this is one task that I do not want to fail at. I’ve always been able to remain calm because most of my frazzled self happens below the surface. Now, this does not mean that I’m not sometimes a spazz. Highly driven people mostly are. My husband recalls how most of his childhood friends were spazzes well into high school and they are now all well-adjusted, kind, high-achievers. They are very good men. So what can be considered strong-willed can be guided towards leadership and motivation if handled intelligently. I love C’s spunk, though sometimes parenting him requires the patience of saints. But, the last thing I want is to raise a mindless follower whose very identity depends on meeting normative benchmarks. I remember when I was young I always wanted to know why I could or could not do something. Being entrenched in an Asian household this was obviously defined as being impertinent but it really wasn’t. I just wanted to reason and determine if what was instructed of me aligned with my values. There’s nothing wrong with thinking for yourself.
But if there’s anyone that I want to be perfect for it’s for my son. Hell, I would work three jobs if it meant that he received a private education. It is up to me to provide him with as many opportunities as possible, to be an enabler. Gaining high cultural capital is work but it is a form of enrichment and a life-long project. I’m here to build up the conditions for these engagements.
So of course having a perfectionist as a mother will come with some pressure but those who know C best understand that he already recognizes precisely what he wants. I don’t think there is a danger of him living for his parents.