“By-the-book Betty”


Images gathered from Google Images

Images gathered from Google Images. And yes, I own ALL of these books.

I recently took a quiz in a magazine that asked, “What is your parenting style?”. It reminded me of the types of quizzes that I used to take as a preteen in magazines such as YM (wow, anybody remember that), where by adding up the number of a,b,c,d, and e’s, the quiz would then offer an accurate assessment of one’s personality. The veracity of such an assessment is doubtful, but I’m a sucker for personality tests. 

On a lazy morning, under a pile of comforters and while “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” played on the tv (how could they not know?!?!…that discussion will be for another day), I took the quiz. At the end of the assessment, I found out that I’m a “play it by the book” type of mom-to-be. A “by-the-book Betty.” Initially I was perplexed…wasn’t I a “Cutthroat Cathy” (I have a “competitive streak”) or a “Plan-ahead Polly” (“long before you ever laid eyes on your baby, you were making plans for their future”).

Then I looked over at nightstand, on top of which sat stacks of baby books and magazines, each mostly read and with post-it’s and highlighted sections.

Perhaps that the quiz was pretty spot on. 

“Doing things ‘right’ is very important to you. You’ve gathered lots of parenting advice and follow it to the best of your ability…You go to great lengths to ensure baby’s health and safety (and excessive worry may have earned you a few gray hairs before your time).”
-Parenting & Newborn, April 2014

I have always had this immense desire to be as perfect as possible. Grades, work, life: it’s been an ongoing battle for the perfect answer, even though I know that such an answer doesn’t exist. This quiz made me realize that I’m already doing that with my unborn baby.  I’m on the quest for the perfect crib, the perfect nursery design, the perfect sleep schedule (remember, baby isn’t even here yet), so on and so forth. I need to let go of the imaginary reins that I think that I’m holding on to because perfection is imaginary. It doesn’t exist. And I certainly won’t be passing down this character flaw to my boo boo baby (endearing terms have already begun, even in utero). 

“While it is admirable that you want to do your very best, don’t be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes (because like it or not, you will make mistakes).”

-Parenting & Newborn, April 2014

“Perfection is so…mmm”
-Beyoncé, lyric to “Haunted”

Mothers (talking to myself), let go.  There are so many surprises during pregnancy that it is a waste of time to spin your wheels. Read as much as you can but don’t be obsessive. Create a safe environment for the baby, but not obsessively sterile (I hear that desire definitely disappears by the second baby), and enjoy the process.  Oddly, preparing for this baby feels much like planning for my wedding, with all of these “checklists”. I was a perfection monster when I began to plan my wedding but once I let go, I ended up with a wedding that surpassed my dreams.  I will try to remember that ever time I have a twitch to do things “perfectly”.

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