A few days ago I woke up from a nap at dinner time (still technically dinner time, right? People eat late in some places…) and went to the kitchen to investigate dinner possibilities. I entered into the chaos of grocery bags filling the island, the table covered with projects, and the sink filled with dishes, children strewn across the house.
Earlier in my Mom Life I would have been either paralyzed by mommy guilt at the mess and lack of healthy dinner steaming at the table Leave it to Beaver style, or depressed and snippy in my martyrdom at having to first organize the mess to even get to the dinner prep.
But something in me was changing.
Did everything need to be hard? Was half the stuff in my life extra hard because I made it hard? With all my crazy unrealistic expectations? Did I make life grueling because the harder I worked the more worth I had?
I had been pondering these questions for a while now, and finally, things inside me were shifting.
No, I didn’t have to make this hard to prove my worth. No, I didn’t have to meet somebody else’s expectations of what dinner as a family needed to look like.
After all, I was The Mom!
That was actually huge for me to choose into. Most of the time I looked around in a panic thinking, “Wait! I’m The Mom??”
The Mom was supposed to know all answers to all questions. The Mom was to make all the right choices instinctively. The Mom was to maintain a lovely home full of lovely, clean, well-mannered children.
Sheesh. Talk about unrealistic expectations!
The Mom was the daunting perfection captured in the TV of yesteryear, seared unmercifully into my brain. Such a burden to live up to. Such a burden to know you’re not living up to.
But suddenly, here I am, a new The Mom. A The Mom that says, hey, we can love each other and enjoy each other without this having to look perfect right now.
So I put on a Brave playlist from my phone and started singing and dancing around the kitchen. (Yes, singing and dancing). And I squished the groceries over on the island, turned on the broiler, and opened a bag of tortilla chips. One kid grated cheese and another opened a can of beans, and when the nachos were coming out from under the broiler I called to the kids in the the living room who were currently in a dog pile in the middle of the floor, to grab a blanket and spread it across the floor for our living room picnic.
So. Dang. Fun.
And guess what? Dishes and kitchen chores and blah blah blah all eventually got done after dinner.
But what I would have missed, if I had chosen into grouchy The Mom or blamey The Mom? I would have missed questions about the peso compared to the dollar, a recital of a school dance routine (very close to the beans…) and dad sharing a music video with significant lyrics from our life with our kids.
Would that have happened if I’d stepped into paralyzing, mommy guilting, martyrdom because it didn’t look perfect? No. It just wouldn’t have. I know. Because I’ve done it before a million times.
And now, I’m rethinking ‘perfect’.