the curse of perfectionism.

When I was nine years old I very vividly remember my mother sitting me down in the TV room of our house to break some harsh news to me.

“Lindsay,” she said. “You have to drop something. Right now, you’re in a play, you’re taking piano lessons, you’re doing ballet, and you’re playing soccer. You can do three of these. But not four.”

(By the way, this was the same year that I scored the highest marks in the county on a state-wide writing exam. I am currently dusting my shoulders off, thankyouverymuch.)

I really didn’t understand my mom’s reasoning. I mean, why couldn’t I do it all? Or more if I wanted? So what if that at nine years old I didn’t have a bedtime that made sense. I had stuff to do! There were scales to be rehearsed and plies to be practiced and goals to be kicked and pounds to be lost (I was a nine-year-old ballerina, damnit. No fat ballerinas allowed, my teacher told me!) I had a world to conquer! I had no time to be like the other kids and come home from school to simply play in the dirt, come inside to eat their weight in Spaghettios, and subsequently fall victim to a milk-induced coma at a reasonable time in the evening. I felt stifled. What was the issue, Mom? Seriously?

There wasn’t one issue. There were several. The most urgent roadblock was the fact that my poor, single mom couldn’t possibly afford to let me do every stinkin’ extracurricular activity under the sun. No matter how good I was at anything, I was only as good as my mom’s wallet was big. But the most pressing issue is one that I never really grasped until recently. The problem was that at an extremely young age I was already knee-deep in a pattern of spreading myself too thin in an honest attempt to be the best at everything. I wanted so badly to be perfect, even before I really knew what perfect is. (Read: impossible.)

Last night, I was nine years old all over again.

I came home from my run to find my husband on our couch, writing curriculum for this Sunday. I fell to the floor in a heap of sweaty defeat, upset that I went running outside as opposed to my normal indoor-track-or-treadmill-at-the-gym routine. He asked me why I hated running outside so much, and then the truth came out.

“Because every time I go running outside, I feel like everyone is watching me, and then a random cross country team inevitably shows up and makes me look like a complete failure. And that happened today. Why can’t they let me run my measly three miles in peace? Can they NOT lap me like five hundred times?”

Dan looked confused, but also full of pity for me. “Lindsay, they are competitive runners. You are not.”

I looked at him like I was going to shoot razors from my pupils and slice his face off. YES I AM, I thought. I’M THE BEST. AT LEAST, I HAVE TO BE. I MUST BE THE BEST RUNNER EVER EVER EVER EVER.

“You can be a competitive runner if you want,” he continued. “But if you do, you won’t have time to play piano. Or lead junior high. Or write. You can’t do it all, Lindsay. You can’t be the best at everything.”

Ugh. Barf. You’d think that at almost 25 I would have gotten over this by now. But, as you can see, I have not. And once again I find myself up to my face in the reality that I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. And it’s about high time I stopped trying.

Anyone else feel me on this?

the best birth control.

Before Dan and I got married, I had no nieces or nephews. Via marriage, I’ve acquired four, and one more is on the way. This, of course, reminds me of my lack of offspring and the impending pressure put on us to pop a baby out. Ever since Dan put a ring on it, I’ve been bombarded with demands to procreate.

“When are you gonna have babies?”
“Are you pregnant?”
“Do you feel pregnant?”
“I saw you post on your Facebook that you’re tired!  You’re probably pregnant!”
“MAN you look pregnant!”
“Is morning sickness as bad as they say it is?”
“When are you due?”
“Where are you registered?”
“Boy or girl?”
“Can I babysit?”

Okay. Maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. But it still sucks. I know there are people who get married just to have babies. I also know that people get married because they had babies.

But can’t I just be married for a minute? Sans kids? Just me and my husband, hanging out till 1am, sitting on the couch watching Say Yes to the Dress marathons, eating hummus with a spoon and chugging Strongbow?

It doesn’t help that more and more of my friends are becoming parents. Everyone tells me that I should babysit my friends’ kids because that’s “the best birth control.”

I beg to differ. Let me show you what I’m dealing with here:

This is Emily and Levi.

paytonThis is Payton.

This is Jackson.

And this is Kylin.

Best birth control?
People, I don’t know who your friends are and the monsters they’ve sprung off, but my friends’ children are nothing but the world’s strongest aphrodisiac. Good LORD.

So, I’ve had to turn to other forms of theoretical birth control methods.

My best option so far?


Before I got married, “doing laundry” meant stuffing a week’s worth of clothes into the washer, plopping down in front of the TV, moving it to the dryer 40 minutes later, plopping back down in front of the TV for another hour, then spending 15ish minutes folding and putting all of it away. Just an hour and a half of my life would be wasted on laundry. No big. I can handle it.

Now that there are two adults in our house, laundry owns my life. It’s never done. I’d kill to have that hour and a half time frame back. I swear to GOD the laundry multiplies itself. I walk out of the room and come back and there is more laundry. How is that possible? And when I think that all of our laundry is either a) in the washer, b) in the dryer, or c) put away, I happily walk into one of the rooms of my house to find SOME RANDOM PILE OF DIRTY CLOTHES, silently laughing at my failure.

Dude. Add a baby into the mix and I’d never be able to leave the house. Screw that. Even if I knew my baby would come out looking as cute with as happy of a disposition as Kylin, it still would wear clothes. And spit up on them. And poop in them. You know, babies can’t wear the same pair of pants three days in a row like I can. (Oh don’t you even start judging me. You do it, too.)

There you have it. Laundry. That’s my birth control and I’m sticking to it.