How Perfect Are You?

‘If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well’

‘Never, never, never, never give up.’

These sound like good mottos, don’t they?  They encourage us to try hard, to improve and to do our best, don’t they?  Or do they,  accidentally or on purpose, in subtle ways, encourage perfectionism?

While there’s nothing wrong and a lot good about aiming to do your best, there’s a fine line between doing your best and perfectionism.


What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is striving to do and be the best, until the standards set are impossibly high, and self-criticism rules.

Perfectionism is common in homeschooling circles. Homeschooling mothers are an extremely dedicated breed. They have a deep desire to provide the very best for their children.  And they are often not very compassionate towards themselves.


Are You a Perfectionist?

• Do you often say ‘I should…: or ‘I must …’?

• Do you often fail to reach your goals because they are unrealistic?

• Do you feel like a failure if you don’t achieve 100%.

• Do you have unrealistically high expectations of your children?

• Do you feel fully responsible for your children’s behaviour?

• Do you take it personally if your child fails?

• Are you prone to stress?

If you answered ‘yes’ to four or more of these questions you may be a perfectionist.


Get Rid of Perfectionism

• Realise that perfectionism isn’t a good thing, it damages relationships and sets you up for disappointment.

• Allow less than perfect things – muddy paw prints on the kitchen floor, children who embarrass you in public – these things are part of life.

• Embrace the truth that life is difficult and messy.

• Realise that there are times in homeschooling when you make fabulous progress and other times when you can see little for all your efforts.

• Know that lowering your standards doesn’t mean you are lazy.

• Be comfortable if you happen to send an emale with a speling error or if your friend calls in unexpectedly when your house is messy or you are having a bad hair day.

• Read another chapter of the storybook to your children, if you are all enjoying it, even if you had only assigned one chapter for today.

• Forgive yourself if dinner is late, you don’t change all the bed linen on the correct day, you run out of breakfast cereal before supermarket day, or whatever  it is.

• Check out the HFL Store for eBooks and easy teaching guides to encourage and support you in your homeschooling.

• Relax and enjoy homeschooling  your children.

‘When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.’ ~ George Fisher


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How Perfect Are You? — 4 Comments

  1. Thanks, Stephanie. I can be a perfectionist at times in life, yet at others I’m realistic and I don’t have a problem letting go of that always moving target, ha ha ha. But hearing it described and what to do or not to do has given me a quick and great reminder of why I stop this behavior most of the times it assaults me. You’ve given me better insight to move on from those stages into the more relaxed version of myself.

    To me, perfectionism creeps in when I’m feeling low, not appreciated, and instead of praying about it or asking for my family’s praises, I start feeling out of control, and then I want to ‘control’ everything around, or everything to be superficially ‘perfect’. Instead of getting fixed on the idea of EVERYTHING being great, I look at one simple and easy thing at a time, I start doing it, and a little time after, all around surprisingly looks much better! Perfectionism freezes you, doing your best, and the next thing, is the opposite.


  2. Thank you Stephanie : ) You always encourage me. I read this quote today: ‘When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.’ ~ George Fisher

    Isn’t that the truth!


  3. Thanks for the encouraging reminder, Stephanie! I think I’m doing better at kicking the perfectionism habit and then it strikes again. Sadly, I answered yes to all your questions. Yet there are times I gain perspective. Like Silvia, I tend toward perfection when I am feeling low, unappreciated or out of control. Thanks for the good advice–relax, allow life to be messy, do the next thing . . . I think I’ll do that today! : )

  4. This was a great article. Thanks.

    You have a wonderful way of taking the fullness and struggle of homeschooling and drawing on a simple, single aspect which helps me put my life and thoughts and struggles into perspective.