Thursday, April 7, 2011

Learning to be "Good Enough"

More fun than cleaning.
When Donnie and I first decided that I would be a SAHM, my head swirled with visions of myself as a housewife par excellence: every night, I imagined, my husband would come home to a clean house, a hot dinner, and a smiling family.  I would be the new June Cleaver (sans pearls, of course) making a beautiful home for my family with effortless grace.

So, yeah, that didn't go exactly as planned.  For the first few months of Trey's life, he slept most of the day away - and did it in my arms.  He screamed every time I lay him in the bassinet, even for a moment.  My days were spent holding my son, and doing little else; I squeezed laundry and dinner prep into the few hours a day when Trey was awake, or Donnie was home and taking his turn on snuggle duty.  Needless to say, my dreams of homemaking glory were shelved fairly quickly.

Things have not gotten easier as Trey's grown older.  He's often clingy and grouchy, thanks to teething and typical toddler emotions, leaving me very little time to complete household tasks.  And when he is in a good mood?  Well, why would I waste those precious moments mopping the floor, when I could be playing with my son?

It hasn't been easy, giving myself permission to be only "good enough" in most areas of my life.  Perfectionist tendencies die hard, and I often catch myself feeling needlessly grumpy over kitchen clutter, piles of unfolded laundry, or dust bunnies going free range on my living room carpet.  Because I am not naturally gentle with myself, allowing very visible household chores to be neglected, while I take Trey for a walk or help him finish a puzzle, often inspires me to new depths of self-flagellation.

And yet, I know it is the right thing to do.  I've established my priorities (playing and learning with Trey, cooking from scratch for my family, and occasionally having clean clothes), and all the rest can wait.  I'm fairly sure Trey doesn't care (or even notice) that our house will not be appearing in Better Home and Gardens any time soon.  Thankfully, neither does Donnie.  It's only me who shoulders the weight of unmet homemaking expectations.  Thankfully for everyone's sanity, I'm learning to deal.

So, Gentle Parents of the world, don't forget to be gentle with yourselves, too.  Accept the fact that you can't do it all.  Decide what's important for you and your family, put it at the top of your "to do" list, and let the rest fall where it may.  Life is too short to waste precious hours castigating yourself for your imperfections.

And with that, I'm off to do what I do best - play with my son, cook a healthy dinner, and work on my writing.  Is the little voice at the back of my head yelling at me to scrub the toilets mop the floors wash the walls vaccum the rugs and for god's sake put away the clean laundry already?  You betcha.  But I'm learning to ignore it.

And so should you. 


  1. A good reminder! Thanks...but I have to get the mountain of clean clothes off my bed or I won't have a place to sleep tonight! ;-)

  2. LOL, that's why I leave the clean clothes on the dresser. :)


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