By: Sarah Normandin – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Every morning, I survey my very small condo and notice all of the problems. Dust bunnies, spots of finger paint that were meant to be wiped up, a dried out pea under the table, crumbs and sticky stuff on the counter, laundry (oh lord, so much laundry), toys and stickers and mysterious clutter, mildew on the shower curtain, flooring that’s peeling up, walls that desperately need to be repainted. You get my drift–there’s a lot here that’s not perfect.
Even worse, last week, my husband and I skipped our kid’s school concert. We both didn’t think that it was important–we had jobs to get to. Adult stuff to do. It’s only kindergarten–I mean those things last for like 15 minutes. No one would notice if we skipped it. I barely gave it more than a momentary thought. Then another parent texted me about a playdate and mentioned that she loved my son’s performance! I wept. Seriously, I cried. I mean, what kind of parent am I? To skip my kid’s concert, for no other reason than I thought it didn’t matter. What is wrong with me? I am clearly not keeping up.
That’s kind of how things are going right now. Despite or because of my navel-gazing, I’m just not getting it right. My house isn’t clean, concerts aren’t being attended, dinner is, well, frozen, a lot of the time, and I make my son buy lunch and walk into school on his own. Am I the worst? (Don’t answer that) Because I often feel like I am. There are just too many opportunities for self-criticism. Too many ways that I’m getting it wrong. It has become my life’s work to take a deep breath every time my mind chimes in with a critique as I try to come up with a counter-response.
The truth is, in anticipation of being a mother, I had a lot of plans. Serious plans. I would somehow manage to make perfect dinners and have a perfect house and also be a badass boss lady. I mean, obviously, that’s possible–at least that’s what I’d seen on the internet. I would also successfully parent a successful child, both socially and academically. We would engage with other families who would be in awe of our special talent at parenting, as I would smugly show off my perfectly adjusted, well-rounded child.
If you know anything about me, you already know that my parenting situation has not lived up to those expectations. Really–I don’t know how anyone can live up to my expectations. It’s just not real life as I have discovered. Sometimes I make myself crazy trying to get it right, caring way to much about what my life looks like while I basically miss everything that is really happening. And it has taken a lot of getting it wrong before I realized that there is no getting it right. Right is a fantasy. An A+ on a report card that nobody cares about but me.
So I have decided to say screw it, I’m giving myself an A+ anyway. For just getting by, for just getting through. And maybe occasionally I’ll even feel like I’m thriving. And not because my house is clean or I’m kicking ass at work or I’m feeding my family seven balanced meals a week. I get an A+ for relaxing the tension, for living without judgement, for trying not to care so much. For maybe actually even enjoying the chaos.
I’m learning to celebrate the small victories. My son ate a bowl of homemade soup BEFORE he ate mac and cheese. My husband and I managed to get through a whole weekend at home without having adult meltdowns. I started walking my son into school again, because, well I felt guilty and sometimes it’s just easier. We move forward and we regress. That’s real life I think. That’s normal human growth. My life is a mess and I’m gonna be ok with that.
More by Sarah:
Sarah is a therapist and coach who has been supporting women for over 12 years in creating lives that align with their own values. As a mother and a wife, she understands the complexity of modern life and how to manage stress while juggling many responsibilities. She believes in having fun, taking naps and saying no as often as possible. If you’re interested in exploring motherhood, imperfection and doing less to have more–or just want someone to tell you to take a break, you can find her at sarahnormandin.com.
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