I have this little wooden sign on my mantle at home.
A few years ago, I found it inside one of our local Little Free Libraries and it spoke to me, so I grabbed it and brought it home.
I suffer from perfectionism, always have. Becoming a mom fanned those perfectionist flames and they took off like an uncontrollable brush fire. It used to be that I only had to worry about making myself perfect, inside and out, but once I was fully responsible for one and then two little goblins, all hell broke loose inside my perfectionist-flavored brain.
Dear lord there’s a lot of pressure to be the perfect mom, whatever that is. What worries me the most is how much I may have internalized all those perfect mom messages.
Make sure to breastfeed…
Put them in all the classes…swim, dance, Mandarin…and how to swim in Mandarin.
Make sure to shower! And put on pants!
Wear your baby all the time, don’t ever put them down.
Don’t let them have screen time until they’re two, otherwise their brains will turn to mush and Harvard won’t want them.
I continued my daily practice of positive self-talk to keep all those mothering shoulds at bay and to externalize them as much as possible.
When my kids were tiny, I had to start reminding myself almost daily about the good enough parenting model. All I had to do was reach the good enough threshold and my kids were gonna be fine. Heck, more than fine. Which meant I had to start cutting myself some serious slack. The thing was, I was never the type who would kill myself trying to physically get everything done all day every day, but I would instead mentally beat myself up for not getting it all done. For falling short. Of what, I ask? Says who, I wonder? I was learning how to forgive myself again and again and again…as many times as I needed. And I still need it. I already know, this will be my life’s work.
I picked up that little piece of wood because it serves as my daily reminder. It’s something that’s real, I can see it with my eyes and hold it in my hands, and it says: life is messy and that’s okay. you’re enough, you’ve done enough, now go love your kids.