Could you imagine having a house that was clean all of the time -even down to the organized pantry with shiplap on every wall except for the hand painted mural in the nursery? How about a color-coded closet, fresh sheets on all of the beds, and fresh towels in all of the places? Could you imagine showering, by yourself, after your morning work out and dressed in clean clothes – all done before the kids are awake? Oh, and you have all children bathed and clothed in the outfit you wanted them to wear and then they remain clothed in said outfit. Don’t worry because your makeup just gave you a full eight hours of sleep and your nails, all nails, are perfectly manicured; not even one chip from doing the endless dishes that are now neatly in their home. Did I mention that there is dinner made from scratch in the crock-pot, and left overs from the last two nights in the fridge? And the leftovers aren’t even pizza because you actually enjoy cooking, and your kids (and husband) eat stuff like kale and quinoa? All the while the crock-pot is cooking dinner, you’ve got the smell of fresh baked cookies wafting the air - teaching your five and three year olds how “I comes before E except after C” and how to paint their own version of “The Starry Night” with their fingers. Who cares about any mess that may occur because it will make for great memories, right? No need to worry about the baby because you’re “wearing” them and they are peacefully sleeping during their scheduled two-hour morning naptime. Oh and there is no laundry to be done because of course you keep up on it, and never let the newly laundered clothes sit in the laundry baskets for days.  You read that right. Could you imagine this to be the case all of the time? Yeah, me either. But that is what social media (and the many filters) would lead us to believe, and in turn, the unrealistic expectation we put on ourselves.  Did anyone say to themselves, “Oh yeah, I’m that mom” or “so and so is that mom?” Each of us are that mom about something. Likewise, each of us are so not that mom about other things. Guess what, that is absolutely okay. It’s like everyone comes with their own DNA, and with their own strengths and talents or something. What?! Was that mind blowing to anyone - probably not, but we so easily forget that no one has it all. We forget that perfection is not a thing, nor should it be.

“I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect – they are much more interesting." -Marc Jacobs

In baseball there’s this statistic called a batting average. A batting average of .300 is really good while a batting average of .400 in a season is said to be nearly “unattainable.” For a player to achieve this “unattainable” batting average, it means that 60% of the at-bats they are failing to make it on base with a hit. 60%! That sounds like a whole lot of failure to me, but it shows just how difficult getting a hit can be. Well isn’t life hard too – even without the ridiculous pressure, felt by many, to be the mom that has got it all? I think we should start referring to daily “mom life” in terms of stats such as this. Like “you know Suzy down the street? After today, her mopping average will be .462!” or “If I keep this streak up, my laundry average will be .510! And don’t get me started on my clothes that made it into the washer average.” In terms of modern day baseball, we’re doing phenomenally! I personally think washing (single), drying (double), folding (triple), and putting away should be called a home run. Anyone else agree?

Let me tell you a story real quick. About a month ago my oldest daughter had her first dance recital, or performance in front of an audience besides family rather. She had been practicing at class and at home for weeks. The morning of the recital my sweet husband told her to do her best and we would be so proud of her. As I sat in the audience I was curious how she would do. I knew she knew the steps, but I wondered if the lights and being on stage would distract her. We got our cameras ready and I sat on the edge of my seat ready to watch my little performer. There she went tiptoeing to her spot like she had practiced many times before. The music came on and she danced, jumped, turned a little behind count, and finished with an impromptu bow. My little mommy heart swelled with pride for my daughter who truly did the best she could. After she finished, I went back stage to pick her up. Once she saw me, she gave me the tightest of squeezes, which I returned, and she said, with the biggest smile, “I did my best!” 

Did my daughter perform every step perfectly? Of course not, nor did I expect that of her. Like my husband said, we just wanted her to do her best. And that she did! Not only were we so happy, but also our little girl was ecstatic with her performance because she knew that she had done the best she could.

“Do your best and let the rest go. You can’t be perfect, no matter how hard you try, so give yourself credit for making an effort, and try to stop stressing about the outcome.”   - Lori Deschene

Expecting perfection will make for a constant feeling of inadequacy. I certainly don’t want to feel like that; at least not anymore.  Why don’t we leave perfection behind and simply work to do our best? And then, with the biggest smile, shout with pure joy when we have done that. Better yet, let us celebrate with anyone and everyone that has done their best – showing the same excitement and accomplishment as my three-year-old. 

Now imagine, mounds of laundry piling up, but at least you have clean clothes in the basket over in the corner. Or maybe it’s already five o’clock and you haven’t even thought about dinner yet. Forget cooking – heat up those leftovers. Who cares if toys have taken over the family room again? At least you mopped your floors today. No one needs to know it was because your potty-training toddler left a trail behind as they ran to the bathroom. Because from where I’m sitting you have clothes to keep bodies warm and protected, food to fill hungry bellies, and a home, filled with love and memories, which keeps you sheltered.  Now smile and find joy in the fact that you have done your best today. 

Meet the writer:

"Hello my fellow wayfinding mothers. My name is Christina. I am a mom, wife, sister, friend, and Respiratory Therapist at a children’s hospital. I’m just a mom trying to navigate the beautiful and ever changing waters of motherhood. You can find me @cinakay on Instagram where I hope to create a community of celebration, support, and some comic relief (because sometimes it’s laugh or cry) for all of my sisters out there. Sending my love your way today.