Do your kids ever play with blanket forts? Blanket forts are a BIG deal at our house. One afternoon, my kids came home from school and asked to make a blanket fort using the kitchen table. I agreed, but let them know that as soon as dinner was ready, the blanket fort would need to be picked up. I went about my business as my daughter started to get the fort set up. She pulled out the quilts and comforters, and grabbed a variety of throw pillows and stuffed friends. After about ten minutes of work, her fort looked pretty great. It was dark, cozy, and comfortable – everything a blanket fort should be.
But for my daughter, it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t perfect, so it had to be adjusted – over and over again. No matter what she tried or tweaked, she was never satisfied with her blanket fort. It was never good enough for her. I stepped in and encouraged her, letting her know how amazing and fun I thought her fort was. She heard me, but didn’t listen. In her mind, there was nothing that could set it right. Time passed, and dinner was ready.
My daughter had to put her blanket fort away before she ever got a chance to ENJOY it.
I feel like it’s the same way with parenting. How often do we spend all of our time and energy attempting to make things “perfect.” How much of our energy goes into the “adjustments” and “tweaks”? Will we ever be “good enough” for our children and family, or do we constantly feel as if we need to make things better?
Yes, we must grow and change as parents and as human beings. If we are lacking in something, we attempt to make changes and work towards reachable goals. But so often, our perfectionism and general “fussing” isn’t about the big things. We aren’t fussing because we aren’t as compassionate as we need to be, or because we need to do a better job at saving for retirement. No, we’re giving up the opportunity to play soccer in the yard with our kids because we have to spray down the kitchen counters for the eleventh time. We tell our child we can’t play blocks right now because we have to vacuum, dust, or straighten the throw pillows. We can’t play because we need to clear out our inbox. We have to spend a few extra minutes on our outfit so we look as good as “that other mom” in the pickup line. We need to make that from scratch dinner so we have something to boast about on Facebook. Our house has to sparkle. We must be put-together. We must be the most organized, educational, crafty, thrifty, clean, and happy mom in town. None of it is optional – we have to be perfect.
Ladies, I have struggled with this for the past six years. Ever since becoming a stay at home mom, I have felt like I have something to prove. I often feel as though my worth is tied to how “perfect” I can be. I’m here to tell you – I am NEVER going to be perfect, and neither are you. And that is GREAT news – because honestly, keeping up that “perfect” front is a bunch of ballyhoo. It’s crazy, and it’s hard work.
My kids are only going to be kids for a limited time. They’re my babies for life, but the years of them wanting me to come and play with them, read with them, sing and dance with them, be silly and PRESENT with them – those years are limited, and passing fast.
There will ALWAYS be more you can do. There will always be something else to be done. Chores will never end. The house will never be perfectly clean at the same time. We could always do more, be more, clean more, create more, etc…
It’s time to stop seeking perfection and simply ENJOY what you have right now. Stop and enjoy the perfectly imperfect life you have. Savor the chaos. Soak in the beauty of a home lived-in by children. Revel in the humor of four year-olds and delight in small joys with your children. This life you’re living – it’s time to enjoy it. We don’t have time to waste.
Let some of it go. Be okay with the mess. Accept your limitations. Embrace the RIGHT NOW moments. Don’t let another opportunity to play, spend time with, converse with, or be in the moment with your children or family slip by because you’re working on perfection.
I would hate for any of us to watch our last baby move out or grow up, and then realize what we had. I’m not asking you to love every moment of motherhood or stop and savor every single second with your kids. What I’m challenging you to do, is to stop, set down the Windex, close Pinterest, overlook the beckoning laundry, and just ENJOY your life.
Your “blanket fort” is good enough! Stop re-arranging. Stop perfecting. Stop nit-picking at yourself, your home, your systems, your meals, your wardrobe….stop and savor. You really do have a wonderful life. Stop and recognize it before it’s too late! Cut yourself slack. End the quest for perfection and enjoy this crazy, messy, chaotic, WONDERFUL life.