It’s a trick question – the answer is one.
The real question is: how long does it take a perfectionist to clean a bathroom?
The answer: not too sure just yet. But I can tell you how long it takes to clean a spa.. and how many times it takes a perfectionist to clean a spa before it’s considered clean – the answers are: too long and three times. And then it’s only clean because I have realised there are other rooms to clean. Yes, the perfectionist was me! Imagine that! An unexpected twist at the beginning!
Moving day is about 3 days away. It was as I applied the third cleaning product to the spa, and then cleaned each shelf in the cupboard twice each, that I realised I had my blog for the week.
We have boxes to pack and rooms to clean, weeds to be pulled out, trips to the dump to make, donations to the salvos or lifeline. With all of this going on one of us has been doing some reflecting – perhaps it’s because I was cleaning the bathroom at the time.?
I’ve noticed a couple of things – one of us with perfectionist tendencies gets a bit stressed when there’s a lot of things to do, even if it’s all very easily achievable. This may, or may not, have presented a few days ago as a bit of a rant in the corridor in front of a partly empty cupboard, a half-filled box and a loving husband who was trying to communicate. It was an entirely illogical moment of claustrophobic-type-panic. The solution is quite simple, the one having the rant needs to calm down – look at the timeline, write a list, realise that nothing will be perfect – no matter who does it, and calm down. Maybe not the list – I’m not sure if lists help at all, I’ve written a few, I’m not sure if it’s helping.
If you’re reading this and you’re a friend, then chances are you’ve offered to help and chances are I’ve said to you “I’ll let you know how we are going”. Let me just say this – we’re going fine, we’re actually ahead of the time line. Clearly that’s why I’m sitting down writing now instead of dealing with this …
Some of you are coming to help- wanna know why? Because you’re the ones who made your offer of help to the lovely husband who has no troubles accepting help from people. He’s happy for others to assist. Me, the independent one – less happy with the helping aspect .. why? I’m not sure, maybe I’d just rather slowly send myself, and those near me, around the bend as I try to do 3 or 4 things at once… each to be completed to a level of perfection known only to myself.
So it’s time for me to be honest – it’s not you, lovely people, it’s me!
Or rather, the reason why I say no to help is because you’re not me – please take the time to breathe a collective sigh of relief. You’re not me! I envy you a little 😉
What that means is for some reason over the years through a series of misadventures and misfortunes I have come to believe that the only person I can truly rely on to do a job correctly is me. Mum, you’re a close second – which is why I’m permitting you to do the kitchen packing, Dad you’re up there too, just maybe not with regard to the kitchen things.
What is it about relying on others to do things for me that goes against the grain? It doesn’t really make sense, it’s not like I’ve been doing my own dental work, or even servicing the car by myself. Though there was that month or two back in 1990 when being a mechanic was my dream – fortunately it was short lived and no actual mechanical type work was undertaken. I don’t think I can do everything myself – but for some reason if I am capable of doing it – I think I should be the one doing it. But why is it so important that I spend over an hour cleaning the bathroom cupboards and spa?
At first I thought it might be that ol’ chestnut (Christmas reference) pride again. However upon closer inspection I’m not so sure.
Is it going back to the idea of serving or being served? Probably I don’t want to be a burden to people – as a result I don’t let them help. Now with this in mind think on this – I’ve married a man who loves to serve me – imagine me being married to someone who wants to serve me!! Must be tough for him at times being married to Miss Independent, Miss Refuse-all-offers-of-help. I guess this is part of why for those of us who are Christians, marriage is a refining process, a process that is meant to be making us and our relationship more of a reflection of Christ and the church. Moving house is one of those unique opportunities for God to teach me a few things about Himself, about the man I love and about myself.
As a Christian surely I can’t really believe that I can do anything all by myself.
This is where I get back to what was to be the purpose for this blog, perfectionists need the gospel too. What does the gospel tell us? In my own strength, through my own efforts I’ll NEVER be perfect. But more importantly when I fail there is one who is perfect, when all of my efforts fall short there is One who measures up, when everything I try is so far short of what is required there is/was One who met the demands of a righteous God once and for all. I am perfect as a result of Him and His work… but my work will never be perfect.
That means that no matter who cleans the spa – it’s going to need to be cleaned again. Even if it’s been cleaned by me!
I love that people want to help, you are lovely people, I mean it. I know I need to grow, change and learn. I’m doing it. Maybe next time we move, I’ll ask for help.
Side note we aren’t moving again if I have anything to do with it 😉
PS. Thanks for reading. A few of you have commented on my willingness to be so open in this format. Thanks for your encouragement, I’m glad it’s been useful to you and I know it’s been useful for me – there’s even some science to prove it!
PPS. If I write another post before next week – you’ll know I’ve been struck by the bane of the perfectionist’s existence – procrastination. And right now I’m giving you permission to call me on it!