Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Too Much Pressure on Ourselves

Perfectionism. It's such an insidious little parasite, especially this time of year.

I'm not sure what's worse, watching my sisters-in-law get irate over not having their version of the perfect Christmas or my colleagues fret over not having the perfect book. And to top it off, there was a letter in one of my favorite advice columns this morning from a mother tied in knots and burning out because she thinks she's not providing the perfect childhood for her preschool-aged children.

The perfect Christmas. It's an unobtainable goal. Someone's feelings always get hurt over some trivial matter. Whatever happened to taking turns and sharing and kindness? People should have learned those things in kindergarten.

The best Christmas ever for our household? When we stopped playing our mothers' games of proving who loved who more. Seriously, it was a major battle between my mother and DH's every frickin' year! It included stopwatches timing how many minutes we spent at one parent's house or the other. Instead, we stayed home for our fourth Christmas. I made chicken phyllo and apple pie with cinnamon ice cream. We played DH's new games on his Nintendo 64. We watched movies. It was quiet and peaceful and we had fun for the first time since either of us were elementary students.

This Christmas, the perfectionism has spilled into the indie realm. No, let me amend that. A certain level of perfectionism has always existed, but it seems to have intensified lately. Writers are lamenting that sales are down, but as Kris Rusch pointed out in her blog over the last couple of weeks, indie publishing is finally hitting a level of maturity, instead of its initial gold rush days. Now, we  need to work on sustainability.

However, I see a lot of indies still searching for that perfect genre, perfect plot, or perfect cover that will send them back into the stratosphere. It doesn't exist, and these folks are driving themselves just as crazy as my sisters-in-law drive themselves in their search for a perfect Christmas.

As for your kids, I take the Roseanne approach. If they make it to eighteen alive, then I'm a successful parent. Yeah, I know there's a little more to it than that. But you know what? At a time when my teenage son and I agree on so very little, we can both sit back with our pie and laugh at the sisters-in-law (his aunts) insanity.

Because there's nothing better than cozying up on the couch with our Christmas blankies, a good snack, and It's a Wonderful Life. Now, that's perfection.


  1. My family never had that kind of competition, and I'm very happy it's so. Even when we had a yours-mine-and-ours situation, when I was a kid with a half brother and a stepbrother, holidays were shared between the families with no problem at all that I ever saw. Which means it worked, even if the adults were sniping at each other in the background.

    We're going to my mom's in a week, and I can't believe it's that close to Christmas already! [flail] Gotta get on Amazon and do my shopping. O_O


    1. Good parents make room for everybody. You had some good ones.

      Have fun at your mom's!