For years I had 2 kids. Then one day, when my oldest was 8 and my youngest was 6, I found out that I was pregnant. If the world ended right now while I was typing this, I would not be more surprised than I was that day. I had a business. I had a social life. I had a clean house and manicured nails. That was all about to change as my incredibly cute but exhausting third child splashed onto the scene!
Suddenly, a daily shower was a feat of Olympic proportion and I went from a woman who was proud of her home to a woman who closed the curtains so that no one could see the toys all over the floor. I went from a woman who considered herself well versed in literature, new movies and CNN to a woman who found herself mindlessly singing The Wiggles theme song out loud in the grocery store. So this blog post is dedicated to all of the busy moms out there who have ever looked in the mirror and wondered, “Who in the hell is THAT?” I hereby give you permission to drastically lower your expectations of yourself. We don’t want to do this every day, mind you, but it is absolutely ok to, on particularly challenging days, turn in your cape, exchange it for fuzzy slippers and just get through the next 12 hours. I salute you, and I want you to know that every once in a while it’s ok to:
- Order chicken nuggets for yourself and only eat the outside
- Be 37 and eat cake for breakfast…and lunch
- Put the kids to bed without brushing their teeth, or reading to them or remembering which bed is theirs
- To be just a little picky about approving which pics of you your friends can post on FB
- To think that mismatched sweats are perfectly alluring bedroom attire
- To prefer cheesecake over sex, but sex over cooking
- To admit that you do not understand the political situations abroad, but feel totally connected to The Real Housewives
- To protest Skype, facetime or any other technology that requires you to be suitable for public viewing.
- To fluctuate between wanting to take over the world and help millions of people or sit on the couch with a pint of cookie dough ice cream
- To love your children immeasurably but at 8pm breathe a sigh of relief that can be heard in China
- To pretend that you don’t even see the juice in the carpet, the crumbs under the couch or the girl scout at your door (you can leave money in her mailbox tomorrow)
- To not be worried about being stuck in traffic because there is probably enough random food in your car to feed a family of five and enough clothes to get you through four seasons
- To pretend that you have to go to the bathroom just to grab five minutes of uninterrupted time with your iPhone
- To eat the last cookie while hiding in your closest, not share it, and not feel the least bit guilty about it.
The point of this? It isn’t to go so completely off track that you offend the neighbors and end up on the Learning Channel. The point is to be compassionate with yourself. Let go of perfectionism. If, at the end of the day, the people you care for are alive and mostly happy, you’ve done well. No one wants you to be perfect. Perfect isn’t fun at parties. And when you allow yourself a “human” day you are teaching a valuable lesson about self love. Just get up and relight the fire the next day. Don’t beat yourself up. Your imperfections make your loved ones feel safe about theirs. Show yourself the same empathy you would show them. You will forget things like school snacks and birthdays. You will lose your patience with a tired child, with your spouse and with your computer. You will screw up your calendar and forget to return phone calls.
But you will also love unconditionally, forgive wholly, live passionately and serve selflessly. And I promise you all of that cancels out the cake you had for breakfast. 😉