Yesterday I baked and cooked and baked some more for Rosh Hashanah. I was vaguely anxious all day, hoping I'd get everything done on time. A few times I noticed my anxiety, and tried to calm myself. What was I so worried about? No guests were coming, this was simply a meal for our family.
By the time we sat down I had a headache and was all worked up. The chicken wasn't done yet, it was already 7 pm, the kids' bedtime was already weighing on me (they don't have today off), and then Sam started complaining about the texture of the butternut squash--normally his favorite vegetable.
Then the voices started- see, why do you try so hard, it never turns out how you wanted it anyway? What's wrong with you--should have gotten the chicken cooking earlier (never mind that you were at Maya's dance class)? What kind of a parent are you that your kids don't just eat their food without a litany of complaints?
And it occurred to me--when you are a perfectionist you really don't allow yourself to enjoy a damn thing! You're filled with anticipatory worry about all the things that could go wrong, and then when anything ends up differing from your vision of perfection you are upset at your perceived failure.
Every year at Rosh Hashanah I pray for G_d to help me to live a happy life. I'm so envious of those who seem to have happiness come to them so easily. I pray that this will be the year that I will learn to stop shooting myself in the foot, that this will be the year that I will be a patient mother, a loving, non-critical spouse, and that I will do the things that I know (in theory) will help with my rampant anxiety. And so often I am feeling like a failure even before the end of the first full day of the new year.