Perfection Paralysis

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Some people’s conscience sound like their moms. For some, it’s their fitness coach. For others, Morgan Freeman (aka God). For me, it’s been Dana White (at least for the past week). From the cover, it looks like a book about how to stay on top of your dishes – which it is. But what I didn’t expect is how it surfaced some weird ideas about my significance. This book is night and day from other home management books/blogs/articles I’ve read because she gets the inner mind of slobs. Like millions of people around the world, I too have KonMari’ed parts of my home but for me, having fewer stuff did not translate into my home staying clean and tidy. I totally admire what Marie Kondo does, but part of me isn’t that impressed because she’s been an organizer since she was a child! It’s like watching Usain Bolt compete on Biggest Loser, Thomas Keller on Chopped, or John Krasinski on the next season of The Bachelorette. (Maybe that last reference a little too Candy-centric) There’s something magical about seeing someone go against ever fiber of their being. Enter Dana White.

Early in the book she confessed how she found out that people were actually selling empty toilet paper rolls on eBay. She was so excited that free money was literally sitting in her bathroom she devised a plan to get her family on board to help her save enough toilet paper rolls to sell. She cleared some space in her vanity to put an empty box and asked her family to remember to put empty rolls in the box. Two months passed and she only had 2 rolls in the box. However the space that box took up in the vanity caused a cascade of clutter. Was it really worth the $10 on eBay she would’ve gotten for all the hassle of collecting empty rolls? She also talked about how she often tries to wash her dishes perfectly – air-drying the items that need extra TLC. However this ended up with a pile of dishes that were perpetually being air-dried because air-drying takes time and putting away dishes takes time and eventually, it becomes easier to just pull from the pile on your counter. The knife hit my heart when she said “sometimes worrying about doing something the best way keeps me from doing anything.” UGH. YES. ME.

Being a self-proclaimed ENFJ, I had to dutifully dig into my soul as to why I felt so paralyzed by perfection. Yes, I’m sure it’s partly a neurosis. But as I thought about it more, I realized I had this unhealthy obsession about things being done consistently and perfectly. Somehow I must’ve believed that if it couldn’t be done consistently and perfectly, it wasn’t worth doing. What was even more peculiar was that I 100% own the fact that I am inconsistent and imperfect… so why is it so surprising to me that things I do are inconsistent and imperfect? Insert the emoji with the chin resting between the thumb and index finger here.

Once I realized this, I immediately saw how unnecessarily dramatic I was being about so many things in my life. Let me just name six.

  • I am now 7 months behind blogging about Charlie. Should I just start at month 9? That doesn’t seem right! Okay, I’ll go on a blogging marathon for months 3-8. Crap I can’t even remember what happened in those months. POOR SECOND CHILD. Insert Perfection Paralysis.
  • I want to read this new book! Yikes, I still have 10 books I haven’t finished.
  • I would love to make a photo book of our 2017 summer. But I haven’t done our 2016 photobook and our wedding images are still sitting on 2 DVDs. I am tired just thinking about this.
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about Charlottesville. And the Google Memo. And diversity. And unity. I have a draft that I started after Ferguson. That was 2014. Where does one even start Equity 101?!
  • Hello laundry that needs to be folded. You know what will be perfect? Folding you after the kids go to bed while watching Black-ish. Perfection (or Optimization) Paralysis.
  • I need to get some fresh fruit. I have some time right now but you know what, I will wait for the Mountain View farmer’s market that’s only on Sundays from 9am-1pm. They have the BEST STUFF.

There is a time and place for precision and sure, we can call it perfection – like calculating the re-entry path for Freedom 7. No one would fault you there. However I think you would all agree with me that the things I listed above would not fall under that category. For 95% of the things I put off, my quality of life would be significantly improved if they were just done rather than perfectly done.

As a teacher, I would always have a major freak out every time I wanted to change a routine in my classroom after the first day of school. Whether it was as major as a grading system or pushing up/back a date I had committed to, in my mind, I imagined my students organizing a coup, overturning desks and burning papers because MS. SOHN CHANGED HER MIND AND NOW HER CLASS SYLLABUS IS VOID. Yet 10 out of 10 times I admitted to changing my mind, they would barely even look up and just rolled with it. Humans are incredibly inconsistent and yet incredibly resilient.

I want to come up with a better ending to this post, but that would mean saving and coming back to it later (which by now you should know means never). So here is me taking a baby step to ending paralysis.

Pressing the Publish button in 3…2…1….

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Three Years

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Usually when I tell you to smile, you give me a “smile”baring only your bottom teeth in this bizarre underbite display. This was a nice change of pace. 

Dear Wesley,

I owe you a letter but mama is too full of all the feelings right now to put into words this past year. It is coming! And well before your 4th birthday, I promise.

For your birthday, you started the day crying about something scary at 3:02 am. This is noteworthy because you were born at 3:02 am  so when I looked at my watch and saw the time it was a little creepy and serendipitous at the same time. Since it was your birthday, I lingered a little bit longer in your room after singing you a song and tucking you back in.

After you woke up for reals, we had breakfast, opened presents, watched excavators move dirt around our demolished house and checked out a free gymnastics class. We got lunch with Grandpa and the 3 generations of Sohn boys (minus number two boy) rode the Cal Train from Menlo Park to Mountain View. From what I heard it was a little scary for you at first and you kept complaining it was moving too fast! (Which is so inline with your cautious spirit). We all took naps when we got home and you were treated with surprises from friends and grandma and we topped the day off with your dinner of choice – Ling Ling Dumplings and cheesecake.

Last night before I tucked you in, I interviewed you to capture you at this time in our lives. Here’s what you said!


 

How old are you? Two

What’s your favorite color? Umm… Blue

What’s your favorite TV show? CONSTRUCTION!!

Who is your best friend? Daniel Tiger!

What’s your favorite toy? Trolley

What’s your favorite food? ummm… ummm… GARBAGE TRUCK *cackle cackle*

What’s your favorite animal? Cow

Where do you live now? Number Two house! (Our apartment’s number is #2)

What happened to Wesley’s house? It broke.

Why did it break? Because the machines and the excavator broke it.

Why did they break it? Because Mr. Tyler (our contractor) is going to make a new one.

What do you want to do tomorrow? Go to George and Charlie’s house!!!!

What’s baby brother/daddy/mommy’s name? Char-wee, Tim and Candy

What does baby brother like to eat? milk

What does Wesley like to drink? real milk

How do you spell your name? W E S L E Y

When is your birthday? March second

Where does yeeyee (auntie phoebe) live? At the train station!

How do you make spaghetti? You put it in the pot and stir it. And then you get it out and put it on the plate. Ta da!

 


 

 

Hello Baby!

Dear Baby Boy (2),

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Wes: That’s baby brother! He is in a dark place.

 

I promise this will be the last time I will call you a number. Next time I write about you, hopefully you will have a name. Feel free to give us some ideas if you have a preference. We tried asking your older brother what we should name you, and he keeps saying, “Baby AND Brother.” Which makes sense. He also names his other stuffed animals very literally –  Alligator (alligator), Monkey (monkey) and Pola (polar bear).

Today you are 37 weeks and 5 days! Babycenter (aka an app that is only good for comparing babies to vegetables and fruit) says you are the size of swiss chard. Many people have asked how this pregnancy has compared to my last. Here’s a quick summary of the last 9 months.

Different:

  • I am always tired. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with living with a two year old that doesn’t quite understand the joy (and frankly, the necessity) of Netflix and Chill. Major difference: Toddlers do not care that you are pregnant. They will ask you to carry them, head butt your stomach when going in for a hug, demand that you get on your knees and pick up that figurine that rolled under the couch and chuck balls at you while playing catch because they think it’s funny.
  • I got huge fast. I remember having the luxury of waiting until I was 5 months pregnant until I told people. I think soon after week 13, I was only in maternity pants and felt like I had to tell everyone you were on the way because I looked so pregnant. We’ll see if this will translate to you actually being bigger. Last pregnancy I gained 28 lbs. Imagine the disappointment when I birthed a 5lb14oz baby. What. Someone please recalibrate that scale.
  • You are sparing your parents from heart attacks of joining the party early. Thank you for staying inside. Feel free to come anytime. I’d much rather hold you in my arms rather than have you do headstands on my bladder and hips 24/7.

Same:

  • I love fruit. This time, stone fruits, apples and grapes were MVPs.
  • I love ice. I think I may have a mild Pica because I am obsessed with the sensation of crunching on ice. I may need to grab some now.
  • 1st Trimester: I was a major sleepy head. 2nd Trimester: I got some energy back. 3rd Trimester: I hate moving. A year ago, I was obsessed with getting 10k steps a day. Now my goal is to be sub 3k every day. Because I am a pregnant American.

I have to be completely honest with you that this year has been a little crazy in our world. (Today we are electing a new president.) There have been many moments this year that I second guessed our desire to bring another life into this world. And you are here. In some ways, in having you, we are doubling down in our own commitment to be engaged, compassionate, humble and generous citizens who live for others. Your dad and I haven’t arrived, but we are working towards it. Thanks in advance for being our kiddo and putting up with our foibles. It’s our deepest hope that you’ll see that we aren’t perfect, but that we have a great Savior who is and who loves you deeply.

We love you so much already and can’t wait to hold you and tell you that. See you soon, kid!

Love,
Mama

 

 

2015 in 10

Before looking forward, I think it’s fitting to look back. Grateful for 2015 – the ups and the downs and the Person who makes goodness and beauty from it all.

  1. We moved out of our first home into a new home. I learned that my heart can find its home in people not an address. And though living in your new home can feel like a prolonged AirBnb at first, it eventually goes away.
  2. We threw Wes his first birthday party! I learned that decorating is a lot more fun when you borrow your friend’s Silhouette. Also if you can swing it, outsourcing the food prep to Miguel and 5 Star Tacos is one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made.
  3. Doljabi Ceremonies are a lot more fun when you throw away all the white collar professions and opt for careers that bring people true joy and happiness – chef, barista, crossfit coach, rap artist and those nice people at the Apple store.
  4. We planned our first church wide retreat and survived to tell about it! I learned that you really need a team of diverse talent to pull off retreat. Also – Mt. Hermon is nothing short of magical.
  5. If your entire family contracts a stomach bug the night before an all expense paid trip by your work and you’re having second thoughts about going… just get on the plane and go. You might as well be sick in someone else’s bathroom and sleep in someone else’s bed that you don’t have to clean.
  6. It is nearly impossible to discern the difference between a growth spurt / teething / sleep regression / wonder week in infants and toddlers. I say just pick whichever one gives you the most hope.
  7. We decided to splurge and get NFL Sunday Ticket. It turns out it was one of the worst seasons for the Chargers since I became a fan 10 years ago. And so many of them got injured, I couldn’t recognize half of the team at any given moment. Oh and it may have been their last season in San Diego. Great. Can we get our money back DirectTV?
  8. We attended a great parenting seminar in the fall. I think about the things I learned often. Haunting words (paraphrased): “You can’t make up for lost time. Your kids just want your attention and your delight.”
  9. Toddlers are really great for sparking joy and wonder in your life. Things that make Wesley say “WOOOOOOW”: The automated clothing rack at the dry cleaners, play kitchen ovens, elevators and coffee machines.
  10. We hosted our first Thanksgiving! Special shout out to our double oven. The highlight of that night was watching Tim’s cousin’s kid (second cousin?) read Wesley all of his bedtime books on our bed. Two Thanksgivings ago while I was pregnant, this sweet girl was trying to convince me to name my future son either Percy Jackson, Niko, Ra or Hot Cheeto. What she didn’t know was that I was going through some pre-term labor drama and if someone told me at the time, “Hey, I promise your baby will make it to 37 weeks but you have to name him Hot Cheeto” I would’ve said “Where do I sign?” Wes made his debut at 37 weeks and 2 days. We are still grateful every day.

2015 collage