When good enough really is

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This weekend, my daughter painted my toenails.  Purple and sparkly blue.  With all the precision that a busy six year old (with admittedly good fine-motor skills) could manage.  And I took my purple and sparkly blue toes all over town.  In sandals.

This was a big deal for both of us.  To her, it said, “Mommy and I have matchy-matchy toes.  We belong together,”  and “Mommy let me use wet, potentially stain-producing stuff in the dining room.  She thinks I am responsible.”

To me, it said “sometimes good enough really is good enough.”

I am a recovering perfectionist.  Achievement and mastery have motivated me since I was a kid.  I want to perform well not to beat anyone else, but just to say I’ve done it.  I spent lots of years polishing my perfect student routine in school, and then I made a career of it.  I was on a quest to be the perfect teacher.  I went (many, many hours) above and beyond to be the absolute best teacher I could be.

And then I became mommy.  Overnight, my life changed and my priorities shifted.  I came pretty quickly to the realization that I had to let go of the quest to be the perfect teacher.  I remember saying, “I want to be a good enough teacher so that I can be the best mom.”  And so the quest for perfect mom began.

But here’s the thing, friends.  Mommying is hard.  Really, really hard.

(Not a passive-aggressive cry for words of affirmation, I promise.  Just the truth.)

There is freedom in good enough.

I am a good enough mom when I let my daughter buy chicken poppers and tater tots for lunch at school instead of packing organic produce and free-range eggs in a bento box for her.

I am a good enough mom when I refuse to play Barbies because I find it terribly boring.

I am a good enough mom when I get angry and yell and kick inanimate objects.

Sometimes good enough is good enough.  In pedicures and parenting.

I am not a perfect mom.

But I am good enough.

And so are you.

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2 thoughts on “When good enough really is

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