I'm a partner. I'm a Mom. I'm a student. I'm a chef, a driver, a maid, a laundress, a financial manager, a conflict negotiator... the list goes on. Mostly, though, I am an overwhelmed perfectionist. That's what I've always been; a perfectionist. I have a touch of the OCD, as they say. I like hospital corners, dustless shelves, organizational systems, clean and folded clothes, bills that are paid, and the only acceptable grade is an "A." I've been like that, well, almost forever (though my parent's might argue that point and be a little right).
When women talk about balancing motherhood and career, or other multi-faceted aspects of life, I've come to some conclusions based on my own experience. [ I would like to preface this by acknowledging that even though I really want to be perfect, I may in fact be farthest from perfect as is possible.] Mothers are plagued by this mommy guilt. Its practically an epidemic. But, we can choose to leave that behind, we can choose to tell that mommy guilt that there is no room for it in our home. We can choose to accept that we are neither perfect nor superhuman, and accept what we are capable of what we are not capable of, and the rest will just have to go undone.
It sounds simple, but when the time comes, its not always so simple. I sometimes feel as if there are two halves to me, the half that wants my hospital corners, and the half that wants to spend my time building forts and laughing with my babies. The thing is, I get to choose which half of me "wins."
Here's what being a Mother has taught the "other" me; you know, the one who loves hospital corners.
- Tangled hair, with smudgy smiles, and shoes on the wrong feet makes for a way cuter picture than any attempt at perfection.
- Sometimes the chickens just need to be fed - even the imaginary ones
- Forts, houses, castles and tents are architectural works of art and should be left in-tact until you absolutely require the couch cushions and blankets for their proper uses.
- Muddy footprints represent many things: they are puddles that have been splashed, leaf piles that have been tromped, they are mudpies and rainy-day walks.
- If there is a Sharpie pen in the house, the children will find it, they will use it, and your coffee table, dining table, couch, floor and dresser will all become a canvas. They aren't just damaged peices of furniture, they are family history - cherish them.
That one little phrase reminds us that there are choices in life, in how we see things, how we react to them, how we deal with the challenges that life presents us with. We can choose to cry over that spilt milk, or we can embrace the joy in every moment and laugh at the absurdities in life. I don't know about you, but I'd rather look at the muddy footprints, remember the puddle jumping adventure and giggle, than spend my days frustratedly pushing around a steam cleaner.
At the end of the day, I can choose to look at my moldy shower and know this: that mold is a physical representation of the love that grows and multiplies each day in our home.
What will you choose to giggle about today?