Why idealism and perfectionism are just not the same

Just last week I told you about my idealistic values and how that affects my life and the life of the people around me. This week I want to talk about perfectionism. And I want you to understand something very important: Idealism is not perfectionism!

Being idealistic means to stick to a certain value orientation, to believe in certain values and to be willing to always learn and become better at things. It’s actually an optimistic worldview – and it’s really not about being perfect. It’s just about getting better and better.

Perfectionism means to always strive for the best result possible. And that’s basically all, it’s not about learning and growing – it’s just about never being good enough, because no one of us is perfect. Perfectionism is a very pessimistic worldview.

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Do you know perfectionists?

I do. Almost every mother I know is to some extent a perfectionist. Moms tend to always feel they could do more and what they are doing is just not good enough. So many Moms always feel bad because of that. And that’s horrible.

So what is my goal with this article?

Actually I want to encourage you and tell you that you perform a whole lot better than you might think. You can’t do it all. I can’t do it all – nobody can. And that’s OK, you know? Just think about it: Do your children really mind when the house is messy? Do they mind eating pasta for the third day in a row? They don’t.

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And you shouldn’t either, because taking care of your kids is the most important thing you do. And as long as they are happy with you – no matter how imperfect you are – you’re doing a pretty good job.

So what am I doing here?

I’m striking a blow for imperfectionism. Be imperfect! You are imperfect anyway, so let’s celebrate it.

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Idealism and parenting

I’ve always been an idealist. I’ve always been called a do-gooder and a goody two-shoes. And you know what? I agree.

I think being idealistic is a wonderful virtue. And I think there is a dramatic lack of idealism in our society. Being idealistic doesn’t mean to be naive. I know my ideals will never come true – but that doesn’t stop me from striving for them.

The way is the goal – remember?

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When I first became a mother people laughed at me because of my idealistic parenting values. But I still stick to them. I know I will never be a perfect mother, or a perfect wife or a perfect Catholic – that’s not the point. The point is that I’m confident that I will learn and grow so much along the way that I will benefit from that. More than that: Others will benefit from my ideals, too.

I am pretty confident that my children will not only benefit but also learn from my idealism. I strive to teach them that it’s a good thing to treat others well, to act responsibly, to be eco-conscious and to honor God. I want to teach them that it is worth striving for ideals.

How do you feel about idealism?

Avoiding Plastics in your family life -Microplastics in your closet!

Just last week we have discussed why it might be a good thing to avoid plastics in your family life due to health threatening additives contained in plastics and environmental pollution problems caused by plastics.

Now we’d like to go one step further and show you what you can do in your family to avoid plastics.

One major problem about plastics is that you actually don’t always see it! Ever heard of Microplastics? Microplastics are little plastic particles that you can hardly see. They are often found in waters – especially parts of the oceans are widely polluted by microplastics. Since plastics doesn’t decompose over time many organisms ingest, accumulate and incorporate it which actually bears some major environmental problems.

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So what can you do to prevent this kind of pollution?

The first and most important thing is to pay attention to what kind of clothes and cosmetics you purchase. Microplastics often come from synthetics such as polyester, polyamide and acrylic fabrics contained in clothes and from plastic particles used in cosmetics, e.g. exfoliation products or toothpaste. Every time you wash your laundry or you use you exfoliation cosmetics little plastic particles – microplastics – arrive through your domestic sewage at the ocean.

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So what is the solution?

Stop buying synthetics and cosmetics that contain plastics! Get clothes made from cotton, linnen, wool, silk, rayon, viscose or lyocell instead. Simple as that.

If you want to read more go to

One Percent for the Planet

Shop ethicalShop ethical

Marine Conservation Society

Marine Debris Program

International Pellet Watch

Algalita

Why it is so important to avoid plastics

In 2009 Werner Boote, an Austrian Filmmaker, released his movie “Plastic Planet” – so far there seems to be no English translation, but “Addicted to Plastic” by Ian Connacher is a similar movie released in English. Both Filmmakers investigate plastics as a global environmental burden and strongly appeal to the public to start to avoid plastics.

Why is that?

 

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Actually there are several reasons why you should avoid plastics – mainly health and environmental reasons.

Plastics contain lots of different components, that can threaten your health. The most known health threatening component in plastics is Bisphenol A (BPA), widely used e.g. in baby bottles. Now certain manufacturers start to produce baby bottles and other products without BPA. That’s a good thing. But unfortunately there are still lots of other components in plastics that can be health threatening, e.g. phthalates and toxic additives.

Scientists assume that lots of additives contained in plastics can have different harmful effects especially on your child’s health, such as allergies, hormonal and metabolic disorders. Some scientists even suspect not only BPA but also phthalates and other components to even cause cancer.

But health issues is not all there is to it.

 

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A lot of environmental problems are also caused by plastics. Unlike other materials such as paper, glass, wood or steel plastics can’t easily be reused or recycled. Plastics are not made-to-last, so they cause a lot of garbage which pollutes not only our cities, but also rivers and especially the oceans.

This is frightening but it is not unchangeable. You can make a difference! You can help to protect God’s wonderful creation.

So stay tuned!

In course of the following weeks and months we want to share lots of tips and tricks about how you can avoid plastics and how you can establish a sustainable family life.

You want to read more? Here are a few more interesting links:

One World one Ocean

Ecowatch

My plastic-free life

Smallfootprintfamily

Treehugger

Plastic Planet (German)

 

Two under two – What we can learn from our children

Usually we tend to talk and think about what our children have to learn from us – today we want to turn tables: We want to ponder on what we can learn from our children. And let’s just say, there is a lot we can learn from them, even if we have two kids under two!

How much time to you spend watching your children? I mean just watching, not looking after them, just watching what they are doing and how they are doing it.

It’s amazing!

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In our family Mom tries to regularly take some time to just watch her little ones playing, learning and interacting with each other. She gets deeply impressed observing how concentrated the toddler arranges her own learning environment. She puts so much effort and passion in achieving her own learning targets! She doesn’t need a teacher, though…

So Mom learned a lot about consistency and patience from the toddler.

But that’s not all there is to it. Mom also learned so much about creativity, forgiveness, good will, fairness and trust from both the baby and the toddler that it is somehow humbling.

God gave us the opportunity to teach our children lots of things, but he also gave us the to learn from them and with them. Take that opportunity, it’s definitely worth it!

What do children really need?

Preparing for the birth of a new baby is a great thing to do – but sometimes you kind of get distracted by all the “needs” you will probably have to meet.

How many playsuits does your baby need? Will you be in need of a baby stroller or will a baby sling do? Will there have to be a nursery or will your baby sleep with you?

What does your baby really need?

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After all there is really one thing that your child will need: You. And that’s basically it. Your child needs you and your sensitivity. It s in need of your love and care. Combined with all the basic needs such as being fed when the baby is hungry, being rocked to sleep when the baby is tired, being comforted when the baby isn’t well, being held warm and dry, being cuddled that’s all there is to it.

Your baby doesn’t care about the color of his playsuits. Your child doesn’t care if his playsuits are all new or if they were pre-owned by another baby. Your baby doesn’t care too much about toys, baby strollers, a beautiful nursery and all the equipment you are made to believe a baby needs. However, your baby deeply cares about you!

So don’t get lost in details, don’t invest too much in “baby equipment” – try investing in yourself as a (becoming) parent, in inner growth, in your relationship with God and in your relationship with your child. That will do!

Why we’re treating our children respectfully

Somehow that sounds like a platitude: Treating children with respect should be the most natural thing you do. But what does that actually mean – to treat a child respectfully?

Just consider the following situations:

“Oh please, give Grandma a kiss!”

“A little teasing is just fun, right?”

“Don’t make such a fuss about that, it’s not that bad after all!”

“You’re such a cute little doll!”

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Would you consider that respectful? Would you feel treated respectfully if someone talked to you like that? However, that sure is the key question. What would you define as respectful?

I would consider the Golden Rule as a pretty good definition of respect. We can find the Golden Rule in Tobit 4:15, Matthew 7:12 and Leviticus 19:18. But I prefer the Golden Rule as it is written in Luke 6:31:

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

~ Luke 6:31

So, do you like to be teased? How do you feel about kissing random persons who consider you cute? Do you feel appreciated, when your thoughts and worries are not taken seriously? How would it make you feel when you’re called “a doll”?

Yes, treating a child requires a lot of thinking and pondering, it can be hard, it needs tons of patience and good will and willingness to personal development – but as a matter of fact not treating a child respectfully is really not an option!

God trusts us with our children as we can see in Psalms 127:3:

Certainly sons are a gift from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb, a reward.

~ Psalms 127:3

So we should treat children as the gift they are, we should treat them the way we want to be treated, we should treat as the little persons they are – not as cute little toys.