|Perfect just the way they are.|
I have those days more than I care to admit.
It's not that I don't want to be a good mother - I want nothing more than to always be loving and present for my children - but sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes the exhaustion, the tantrums, and the work deadlines pile up, and I find myself snapping at my family. I don't mean to do it, but the frustration builds and I reach the end of my rope, and I dream of running off to a deserted Island and leaving my offspring in the sort-of-capable hands of my Husband.
I'm constantly struggling with the notion that I should be able to do it all. I know I've discussed this before, but lately, rather than relating to my work, it's relating to my home. I desperately want to do everything - take care of my kids, write quality pieces, be a good partner - but there simply aren't enough hours in the day to do all of those things well and to keep up with the dishes and the laundry and the piles of crap that seem to cover every surface of my home. I count myself lucky, because I have someone who comes once a week to clean, but there's still so much stuff that needs to be done at the end of the day. There are toys to pick up, a dishwasher to load and unload, stained t-shirts that need soaking, filthy couch slipcovers that desperately need to be laundered...the list goes on and on. Often, as I'm picking up MagnaTiles and Memory Games after a long day with the kids, I get discouraged. I get discouraged that my house looks like a trainwreck and that I forgot to brush my teeth that morning. I beat myself up for not having the time or, really, the energy to do all the projects I've been wanting to get done around the ol' homestead.
In the long run, these things don't matter. My kids won't remember that I never had a chance to frame and hang their preschool artwork, or that the buffet in our dining room was always covered with unopened mail instead of a perfectly curated collection of candles and tchotchkes. But I care. I care that my house doesn't look Pinterest worthy. I care that my couches look more "crack house" than Cottage Living. I care that no matter how much I Kon Mari, more crap that does not inspire joy seems to creep into my home weekly. For every bag that I purge, another two bags full of noisy toys and cheap party favors takes its place.
So, I'm trying to let go of my desire for things to be perfect. Because the truth of life, especially when it involves children, is that life is IM-perfect. Life is messy and dirty and, in real life, not Pinterest life, everything is out of place. Instead of looking at the pile of MagnaTiles and seeing the mess, I want to see the joy that the Muffin Man found in building a house for his stuffed elephant. Or how nice it was to see my kids playing Don't Break the Ice without fighting. Because the truth is, I'm lucky to have two healthy, happy kids who make messes and throw tantrums and smear yogurt all over the house. There was a time in my life when I worried that I wouldn't get to have the opportunity to be a parent, and now that I've been blessed, it's high time that I stop bitching at my kids for being kids.
I know it's not always going to be easy to change my grouchy, perfectionist tendencies - specifically when I'm scrubbing marker off of the dining room walls - but I owe it to my kids, and myself, to be less concerned with how it all looks, and more concerned with how I'm relating to them. I know my kids won't remember our stained living room rug or our messy bathroom, but they'll definitely remember me yelling at them, and that's not the way I want to go down in history.
Besides, being grouchy all the time isn't doing any favors for my frown lines, and I still haven't saved up enough for Botox.