Thursday, August 27, 2009

Perfection is not the Point


I love this cartoon because it completely captures how I feel some days, especially now that I'm running around after Baby who has decided that she can go wherever she feels and do whatever she wants. Forget the fact that she can't even walk on her own yet. She'll get where she needs to go whether I'm involved or not. There are times when I can barely keep up with her, let alone get a shower or keep the house clean.

There's a lot of pressure (mostly internal) to be the perfect mother and have the perfect home at all times. The reality is far different. When I was pregnant, I imagined all the time I would finally have to do projects around the house and what a great homemaker I would be. I'd be super fit because I'd be taking walks (or better yet runs) using our fabulous baby stroller every day. I would have home-cooked meals ready and waiting for the Fiance every night. Donna Reed would have nothing on this mom. But most days, the amount of free time I have is pretty limited. Naptime and after bedtime are the only parts of the day when I'm not preoccupied by her ransacking the pantry for the item most likely to be labeled a choking hazard. Once she is asleep, there's a long list of tasks to do and sometimes it's hard to know where to start. Perfection is no longer the goal; survival becomes the new target.

Simple Mom recently re-posted an article from a tongue-in-cheek series she did last year called "How to be Disorganized & Unproductive." Coming from a blogger who is somewhat of a home management icon, I really appreciated lesson #2: Aim for Perfection. As she says, "When you aim for perfection, you're defeated before you even start..." Thinking that you can achieve this goal is setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. I'm still working on many areas where I'd like to improve when it comes to our home, but there are a couple things that I aim to do every day that help me feel I've accomplished something despite the level of chaos.

1. I make our bed. Even if the laundry is overflowing and the bathroom needs cleaning, if the bed is made it makes me feel much better. It also helps me feel more relaxed when I get in bed at night because the room doesn't seem quite so much of a shambles.

2. I pick up the toys. Because we spend most of the day in the living room, it makes sense that Baby would have a supply of toys at her fingertips. These toys spend the majority of the day scattered in all corners of the room. But before I go to bed, I try to corral them into some sort of organization so that the next day we start fresh. I don't wake up in the morning to complete disarray.

I generally try to clean off the counters in the kitchen too but that is dependent on the status of the dishwasher at bedtime. These may seem like small, insignificant things but they can make a world of difference when I try to unwind and go to sleep. And truthfully I would rather not get a few things done and spend the time playing with Baby than cross off my entire list of chores while she is stuck in her jumpy watching a Baby Einstein dvd. When it comes down to it, in 20 years I'm not going to care if the house was always spotless but I will definitely care whether I took advantage of the invaluable time with my daughter.

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