You know that scene in I Don’t Know How She Does It, where Sarah Jessica Parker is lying in bed running through The List . . . to-dos, to-buys, to-calls, to-check-ons, to-look-ups, to-remembers? Yup. That’s my life. Being a working mom means being a master of lists. When I’m organized and things are running smoothly, it’s always easier to find the time, energy and frame of mind for all the much more fun and more spontaneous parts of #momlife like snuggles, movie nights, bike rides, cooking experiments and pillow talk with my sweet 7 year-old Miss Girl.
But for all my lists of things I need to remember to do, I is also have a list of things I need to remember not to do. That one also makes life a lot easier, and it looks something like this:
Don’t Chase Perfection
I wish my life looked like Pinterest. I do. But it doesn’t. And it never will. And the moment I accepted that I’m not the kind of mom who makes adorable bento boxes for lunch, that a store-bought cake for the birthday party is fine and that kid clutter will never be contained in her bedroom or playroom, I gained the clarity to focus on the stuff that really matters.
As long as everyone is healthy and alive, everything else can be worked out. Couldn’t deal with the grocery store? Gas station milk works just fine. Laundry isn’t done? Nobody cares if she doesn’t wear a school uniform one random Tuesday. When you stop striving for perfection and apply some creative problem solving to daily tasks, you gain the confidence to handle the chaos in stride.
Nobody has their shit together. I promise. I know because I have actually been accused of it on a couple rare occasions. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. That mom you see at pick-up who’s always impeccably dressed and arrives on time in a car that doesn’t have smileys drawn in the dust on the back window or an explosion of toys and trash when she opens the door is probably grabbing take-out (again) on her way home to catch up on work while her kids watch Nick until way past their bedtime. Again.
And the flip side of making comparisons, which usually only make you feel bad about yourself, is to have an opinion about moms you think aren’t doing it as well as you (which can feel good in a totally superficial, not-your-best-self kind of way). Maybe Always Late Mom, whose kids are always disheveled is working extra hours because her husband was laid off and she has even less time for all the stuff that has to get done than you do. You never know.
So, Happy Mother’s Day to all the other working moms out there — you’re all killin’ it in your unique way!
(this was originally set to be part of a collection of Mother’s Day perspectives on being a working mom for my work blog, but only 2 of us contributed, so we decided to scrap the whole thing. lucky for me and this much-neglected blog!)