Back in my 20’s, before I had my kids, I did my best to run my life as perfectly as possible. I had control over my day! I woke every morning in my little two room apartment and peacefully got ready for work. I drove into work in my nice clean car. I was focused at my job and felt like a valued employee. I would bring a pretty healthy lunch that I actually remembered to eat. I could take on extra jobs for my boss because I was so efficient and clear-headed. When I arrived home, I would unwind a bit, maybe exercise, eat a nice dinner, do some cleaning and go to bed. The routine worked for me. Overall, my life ran with perfect precision.
Fast forward ten years and two kids… the organized, productive life that I once knew is gone. A perfectly orchestrated life was no longer an option for me. I tried so very hard during that time to keep things together so I could have the occasional feeling of success at the end of my day. However, little by little, the frustration of striving for this phantom perfection wore me down. I was always so angry and disappointed with myself for not being the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect anything. I felt as if I was failing miserably!
Finally, I realized that I was measuring my current level of performance (or lack thereof) based on the responsibilities from a past that seemed as if it belonged to someone else. I felt like half the person I used to be, but with ten times as many things to take care of each day. It got to be too much and I finally crumbled. I couldn’t keep up with my former self… or maybe my former self couldn’t keep up with the present-day me!
I had a choice to make: Keep the previous expectations of what perfect looked like pre-kids, or redesign a new version of Perfect. I went for option two! I broke away from the restraints that were holding me to my former expectations! Once I stopped trying to make everything ‘Pre-Kid Perfect’, I became less stressed, more appreciative of the little things, and more accepting of the chaos that is my life. I am happy to say that I’m at the point where most days ‘Good Enough’ is my new ‘Perfect’
Now, when I get up in the morning to go to work, it’s not a peaceful time ~ it’s super hectic. I drive into work in a semi-clean car with a gas tank that almost always seems to be close to Empty. I still put in 100% into my job, but it takes way more effort now that I’m pulled in a thousand directions. (I’m lucky to have the best boss and co-workers ever!!) Lunch… it’s almost laughable! Suffice it to say that I keep protein bars in my desk drawer. My house… well, let’s talk about my house! It is never organized; there is always stuff here and there on tables, counters and floors. The laundry is never done... N.E.V.E.R!
My only ‘down time’ is after midnight when I can hop into bed with a glass of wine and read my book. Just before I pull the little chain that turns off my lamp, I smile and realize that I’m OK with my day if I know that my kids are happy, healthy, well fed, showered and loved ~ or at least 3 out of the 5 at any one time. I try not to review that which did not get done. but instead think about the things that did get done. You see, once I came to terms with the more reasonable expectations, I found more contentment.
‘Good Enough’ is my new ‘Perfect’ and it works for me!
With self acceptance!
Cindy Gagne Teixeira
Just like you, I wear many hats. I'm a mom, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a writer. I choose to laugh (and talk... and write) about my problems because crying takes too much time.