I had a few friends over for a playdate at my house a few weeks ago, and while the kids played we caught up on life and all of its ups and downs.
Lately my time has been consumed by decluttering my house using the KonMari method in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and focusing on inspiring imaginative play by spending most of our time at home. I was so excited to share some of my successes, and I shared that after I had been frustrated with the amount of TV my three year old was watching we cut out screen time cold turkey.
My friend Katie let out an almost exasperated sigh and commented, “You don’t do anything halfway, do you?”
I admit, I do have an “all in” mentality with a lot of things. Once I decide to make a change or put effort toward something in my life, I want to be successful and that usually requires commitment. It has been almost too easy for me to decide, almost on a whim, to cut out processed food, run a half-marathon, join the KonMari cult, and nix screen time.
What exactly was Katie thinking when she commented on my seemingly over-achieving mom status? I get it. I know what she’s thinking because I’m looking around and judging too.
When I look at full-time working moms who cook, clean and care for their families on top of getting paid to do another job, I’m slightly resentful because I couldn’t hack it as a working mom. I’m green with envy when my friends tell me about their regular date nights or weekend getaways. I give the side eye to moms who do Pinterest crafts and actually play with their kids. I cannot fathom how moms show up at a 10 a.m. playdate with real clothes and lipstick on.
Life as an adult and especially as a mom is about trade offs. We just cannot have it all. For me, it’s a tidy house or a date night. It’s home-cooked meals or a relaxing evening. It’s no TV or being able to sit and have a moment to myself. It’s my kids’ social schedule or going to the gym.
As I’ve paved the path of my life and decided on my priorities for this season, it is only by going “all in” that I do some things well. The unfortunate reality is that much of who I want to be gets left in the dust. Many of my hopes and dreams and even showers don’t make it to the top of the priority list.
I give my blood, sweat and tears to my children, and I’m left depleted without an ounce of energy for my husband or even myself. My patience wears thin, and my words are not always kind. There is always work to be done, and I do not always do it cheerfully.
After discussing my overachieving nature during that recent playdate, my friend sheepishly remarked, “I’m just an “OK” mom, and I’m OK with that.”
I had to let those wise words sink in before I realized that being an OK mom is not a snub- it’s a standard to aspire to. And letting of the comparisons, the guilt, and the insecurities inherent in motherhood reveals that giving the bare minimum to our children is completely acceptable and possibly even preferred.
By giving up the unattainable goal of perfection in motherhood, we can give our families and ourselves the greatest gift of our presence. By letting go of an idealistic view of the person I want to be, I can live for the person I am now.
Right now, I’m sporting an unbrushed ponytail, I fed my kid frozen waffles for breakfast and I’m a sleep-deprived mess. I’m no supermom- I am mediocrity at its best. And I’m OK with that.