Naturally as parents we try to give our kids everything we can, and not only everything, but the best of everything that we can provide. I know I myself sometimes get carried away with trying to make sure everything is just right, whether it is how a bedroom is decorated, how a meal is put together, how birthday party is planned and carried out, what Christmas gifts I buy, or how a scrapbook is put together.
This high expectation placed upon ourselves can be extremely tiring, and hard to keep up. Once I had my second child I realized that I couldn’t keep doing everything “perfect.” While I still try, I sometimes have to accept things being “good enough” and just roll with it. Attempting to be Instagram perfect 24 hours a day is unrealistic. Even those people who appear to be Instagram perfect definitely are not, as much as they would have you believe. So where do we draw the line? How do we decide what is good enough and what is worth the time, energy, money, and sanity to be perfect?
It’s hard to tell. It seems the more I’m online and seeing other people’s Facebook, parenting blogs, Instagram and Pinterest the more I feel like what I’m doing isn’t good enough. I have to remind myself to step back and evaluate what I have and realize it is just perfect the way it is, no matter if it’s like someone else’s or not.
I try hard to make my family delicious healthy meals, but it’s just not feasible every single day. My husband and I both work each day from 8-5. You know what? Sometimes a meal of Hamburger Helper, a can of mixed vegetables, and applesauce is good enough. While I would like to create 100% nutritionally-balanced, fabulous to look at, awesome tasting meals that everyone the family will enjoy and willingly consume- it’s not realistic, especially when I get home at 5:45 p.m. most nights and the kids go to sleep at 8:00 p.m.
Earlier this week was Abby’s turn to bring snacks at preschool. Immediately my mind went to making some sort of cute Fall or Halloween themed cookies or snack and all the fun we would have making them together, but real life got in the way. The kids had colds and were grumpy, they didn’t want to take baths or go to bed, and we didn’t get the cookies made. I ended up filling eight individual baggies with rainbow colored Goldfish instead. You know what? It was good enough and the kids at preschool loved it.
Before Abby’s first birthday party I spent weeks putting the decorations together myself, cutting and gluing, tieing and matching, making sure everything was just right, attempting to emulate photographs I had seen on Pinterest. Let me tell you, it was exhausting. I have great looking photos, but she will never remember the party. Recently we celebrated Oscar’s first birthday and I felt awful that I didn’t put in nearly as much time and effort to make his first birthday party as awesome as Abby’s was. I made only two decorations for the joint party we had for his cousins and grandpa. My sister bought Sesame Street decorations and plastic tablecloths and made everything look nice. Deadlines and commitments, the need for sleep, taking care of a teething baby, and so many other things took precedence over me being able to take the time and effort to make a good party. But no one cared. No one but me felt like anything was lacking.
I tend to fall into the habit of feeling guilty for not always doing all the things I plan, not making things as great as I want them to be. I have to remind myself that many people who post about their incredible, immaculate looking homes, picturesque vacation, and fabulous parties are getting paid to do that. Chances are, they’re not going to work all day and then coming home to take care of the kids and cooking and cleaning. Their job is to make things look good. It’s unrealistic for everyone else to strive for that all of the time: it’s a great goal, but we shouldn’t feel bad when we don’t hit the mark. I need to cut myself some slack. It is the time and the love and being present for my kids that is important, not the elaborate meals, the precisely planned and executed parties, or the ideals of others.
Are you one of those superhero moms who has found a way to juggle it all, or do you sometimes feel like it’s all you can do to keep your head above water like me? I would love to hear your thoughts and how you do it.