When I was pregnant, I read all sorts of articles about coming to terms with my new, messy, journey into motherhood. Or at least, it sounded messy to someone who was a bit of a neat freak and refused to wear sweatpants in public. There was a gaggle of other mothers giving me written permission to ignore my piles of dirty dishes. I was encouraged to say, “Please excuse the mess, children make memories here”. There was a pack of stretchy pant-legged women saying, “Don’t feel guilty for only owning yoga pants, you are welcome here”. And I should have found comfort in these things, but I actually found fear. And no offense to anyone reading this, but I just thought, “Ew, no.” I promised myself there was no way I was giving up jeans, shaving, and household cleanliness. “I’ll see your five and raise you ten,” I thought.
After baby arrived, things went on as planned. I thrived on all the things being a stay-at-home-mom/housewife required of me. I took great pleasure in meal planning and cooking. I dabbled in different types of crafts while the baby napped. I would scrub and tidy the house better than I ever have in my neat-freak life because my curious little daughter could spot dirt and debris blind to my naked eye. I kept wearing jeans and make up. I shaved daily and would sometimes even flat iron my hair.
Then, I went back to work. I realized quickly that I couldn’t perfectly achieve everything I wanted to in my role at home and in my job. I started to feel like a computer from 1983. I lagged behind, regardless of how hard my motor was running. I would bust circuits, while my dream of a tidy, clean house and a home cooked meal would only be around 5% loaded. My family wasn’t any happier, either. I was exhausted trying to keep up and never quite getting there. I needed to readjust my priorities, so I uninstalled perfectionism.
Now that my daughter doesn’t eat things off the floor, why should I sweep after every single meal and snack? And if there weren’t fingerprints all over every glass surface, would this place even feel like a home? We don’t live in some picture perfect home that was clipped from a magazine article; it’s our home. It’s well lived in. Please excuse the mess, but memories are being made here. And in plenty of sweatpants, I might add.
I once rode a roller coaster with my sister where the people directly in front of us seemed extremely cool, calm, and collected. Meanwhile, we had articles of clothing flapping out of place, hair blowing all over, slobber flying, and we were in tears from laughing so hard. That is the most fun ride I’ve ever been on. Motherhood is so much like that. It is messy, sloppy, and exciting. It is completely unpredictable. If on that roller coaster ride, I had worried about what I looked like while I was soaring through the loops, I wouldn’t have had any fun.
I don’t need over the top perfection anymore (I’m so darned tired, I sleep pretty well without it). I need simplicity. I need relaxation. I need to let things go. I need to blissfully ignore the dishes in my sink. I need comfort. I need to erase a few things off my daily to-do lists. I need less worry and more play. The ride is short, I want plenty of time and energy to enjoy it!
My dear friends, I want you to do the same. Strap in tight. Embrace the wild, loopy ride! It will be over before you know it, don’t let it whiz by! Wear the yoga pants. Ignore the dishes. Smother those burnt chicken nuggets in ranch dressing. Laugh til you cry. Excuse the mess, and make the memories. Throw your hands up and cry out with both excitement and fear. Let go. It will be perfect.