On breaking up with perfection. (And choosing to be a dinosaur instead.)
October 23, 2014
When my husband comes home from work, I brace myself for the question that will inevitably come out of his mouth.
“What did you guys do today?”
This question is my nemesis. Not the way my husband asks – and certainly not how he intends it – but the way I interpret it.
We live in a Pinterest time of DIY sensory bins and handprint turkey crafts and weekly cleaning charts and crockpot meals.
We live in a Facebook time where people only post the 1 out of 47 pictures taken where everyone is smiling and where the activities they planned actually went according to plan.
We live in an Instagram time where filters hide the fine layer of dust on top of the mantel, focusing instead on the perfect fall decor.
The facades of our daily mom lives have never been thicker.
So when my sweet husband asks what we did all day, I get a knot in my stomach.
“I took the boys to the park instead of doing the dishes.” Or, more often than not, “I did the dishes instead of taking our boys to the park.”
“We played with Legos instead of finishing the laundry.” Or, more often than not, “I finished the laundry instead of playing with Legos.”
“We made a mess of the kitchen trying to make cookies.” Or, more often than not, “I didn’t let the boys help so they wouldn’t mess up the kitchen.”
As it turns out, I cannot do it all.
(And this is what happens when I try to do it all with tiny humans on the loose inside my home.)
I can’t have a fun day playing with my kids AND have dinner ready AND have the house cleaned AND have the the laundry folded and put away AND have butts wipes AND have the dog walked AND have a smile on my face at the end of it all when my husband walks in the door from work.
It can’t all happen.
Something’s got to give.
And, honestly, I’m tired of that something being time with my boys. I’m tired of it being my self-worth as a mom. I’m tired of it being my sense of accomplishment.
It’s easy for me to feel guilty when I hear someone say, “Oh you stay home? Must be nice. Like a vacation! You must get so much done.” and all I can think about is how many feet deep my laundry room floor is full of clothes and how high the stack of dirty dishes is and how none of that feels like any vacation I’ve ever taken.
Why can’t I do it all? What a failure. My husband and kids should get a refund.
My son is at preschool today. When I pick him up this afternoon, I expect his teachers to be able to tell me how he did, what he learned, and what we can work on for next week.
But what if, when I pick him up, his teacher says, “Oh my word..you cannot believe how much I got accomplished today! I got all of my to-do list done, I balanced my checkbook, I ordered all of our Christmas presents, AND I finished Revenge on Netflix. It was SUCH a productive day!”
I would not be ecstatic.
I expect her to be engaged with my son. To teach him letters. To be patient through his 1,837,402 questions. To help him when he needs to go potty. To work on a puzzle with him. To help him learn how to share.
I don’t want her to be productive, I want her to be present.
Why, then, would the expectations I place on myself be so drastically different?
It’s a load of crap, you guys.
I’m tired of feeling inadequate.
I’m done with unrealistic expectations.
I’m ready to reclaim the joy of being a mom.
Because, dangit, kids are awesome.
I am a teacher. I am a boo-boo kisser and a bandaid applicator. I am a friend. I am a chef. I am a snuggler. I am a dinosaur. (One of my boys is 3, remember?)
I am a mom and my job is to be a mom, whether I have clean underwear to wear while doing it or not.