Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Past Perfect

Henchie Weinreb, MSW

As Jews, mothers, wives, employees, we strive for excellence. But when does healthy aspiration become unhealthy fixation? How do we reconcile our aim for perfect with healthy, balanced living?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It’s Wednesday about 11:20 p.m., and I’m standing in front of my washing machine. I cannot do this. I cannot look at the stains on another white shirt — I don’t want to pretreat them! I am so tired, I hate doing laundr… Uh-oh, I’m sounding ungrateful. Why can’t I just do the laundry and be happy? Chances are, the washing machine will break and I’ll be begging to be able to do laundry. I’m sure Shira never thinks this way — she’s always so happy, and her kids always have perfectly clean, ironed shirts. I am so incompetent! Just look at me, I can’t even get the shirts into the machine without having a crisis.... Uh-oh, whoops… there I go again thinking in perfectionist mode.   The messages we receive — both internal and external — seem unending. Do more chesed. Take parenting classes. A clean home is a sign of an uncluttered soul. Do not eat white flour. Definitely do not eat sugar. Invest more time in your marriage. Speak gently. We all want to be successful. As frum women, we often want to be successful in many different realms — all at the same time. And there are plenty of people with whom to compare ourselves: those superwomen who work, mother, teach, host — and whose kids say they feel like an only child because they get so much attention. Not to mention the starched white shirts they provide each day. All too often, we’re left floundering in a sea of inadequacies and confusion. How do we achieve growth? Just what is the difference between being a perfectionist and striving for excellence?

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you