I put pants on today. My kids asked me where we were going.
I know I am not the only one. Surely you can relate? I’m knee deep in diapers and discipline and THE STRUGGLE IS REAL my friend. Drink a glass of wine at 10am, REAL. Not really, but you get the gist. In the world of pinterest, where the perfect EVERYTHING IS right at your fingertips, so is the self doubt that you are doing it all “right”. Your putting so much pressure on yourself to do everything so perfectly that you are forgetting our attempts at perfection will always fall short. There is only one perfect person that has ever walked that is earth and it wasn’t named Martha Stewart.
I gave up on my pursuit of perfection about the time child #3 came along. Long gone were the days of travel “stick on” placemats and lysol-ing everyone off after a trip to the park. I actually distinctly remember pouring a small amount of cheerios on the floor in front of my 1 year old and then creating a path with them into the other room so that I could mop the floor. I seriously laugh thinking about it now, but I still often catch myself doing similar things to this day. I don’t think it’s just about relaxing. Id like to think that I’ve gotten wiser. Experience tells me, that yes, there are germs on that floor he is crawling on, but even if I stop him from crawling on the classroom floor, his brothers and sisters have most likely been touching the bottom of their shoes (or worse) and they will probably stick their hands all over his face anyways.
I will never EVER forget a few years back my friend Jenn and I, were catching up in Chick fila and letting our kids play in the playplace. We were sitting right by the window so we could keep an eye on the 6 kids we had between the two of us. Jenn has ALL BOYS. Bless her. One of her twins started making faces and rapping on the window, Jenn looked at me and said “well, at least he’s not licking the window!”. Not two minutes later, as if he had heard her, he walks right up to the glass and licks a spot about 5 inches long. I literally laughed so hard, I could have died. I am still laughing thinking about it. I remember her laughing and looking at me and saying “well, there ya go”. Jenn had already come to the realization that her ideas of perfect had been “licked off her window” of perfection, about the time the Dr. placed her twins in her arms for the first time. She had figured out the secret to surviving parenthood without loosing your mind. Relax. Laugh. Each day is not MADE by the perfect picnic, or catapillar shaped snacks. It’s made by the laughs and giggles you share with your kids; the discipline and lessons learned in love. It’s seeing small glimpses of your hard work paying off, when a sibling shows love. It’s laughing at your three year old licking a window.
If my husband was reading this, he would probably politely call me a hipocrit. And I would be! I am preaching to the choir. And myself. I have always struggled with making sure the house is perfect. The to do list, done. I used to not even be able to sleep if their were dirty dishes in the sink. Often around the holidays I will ask him what he wants, or ask him for suggestions on how i could make a celebration extra special. He ALWAYS replies. “Just don’t make it hard on yourself. Relax. I’d rather you be happy than rushed and tense and stressed.”
I will say that while the birth of my third definitely helped me loosen up, my fourth child has forced me to just realize that I can’t do it all. Jen with two kids would be astounded that I rested during naps today, instead of cleaning up the messes that seem to have exploded in every room. I am finally realizing, that there is more value in a cup of coffee and some quiet rest, than constantly living in a sterile environment (even as much as that seeply pains the OCD part of me). I am a much better mom; a more capable mom, when I relax a little, laugh more and love a lot. When I stop worrying about perfection and put people’s feelings above my to do list (that I probably found on pinterest), I’m making an investment with my time that will multiple ten fold in the hearts of those I love. They won’t remember the homemade stockings or the spotless home. They WILL remember how many times I yelled or got frustrated trying to create the perfect “whatever”. They WILL remember how I had a time crunch for work, but set it aside to read them a bedtime story. We need to stop with the comparisons; stop with the need to do it “just so”. Do your best and forget the rest. Send in the darn “store bought”cookies for the school function. Stay up late. Break a few of your own rules. Give yourself some grace.
To my third cup of coffee,