When Pinterest was at its peak, I was not yet a mom. But, I still remember wanting to have an incredibly cute nursery for my future baby, like the photos I saw, and make bento-style lunches for when my then-non-existent child went to school. I didn’t want to do these things because other moms were doing it; I just wanted to. It’s part of my personality to try to go above and beyond in nearly all areas of my life. Professionally, this helps me, because my clients know I’m working incredibly hard for them. And, in my personal life, it has often served me well, too. But, now that I am a mom (and semi-newly a mom of two), I have to change with the season.
I’ve never been a perfectionist. Perfection is subjective, a non-reality, and I don’t strive for it. But, I have the tendency to try to do more than is necessary. It’s not about impressing anyone, really. For many moms, I know it is a comparison game of who has the best whatever, whose kid is the best at (insert sport or subject). It’s not that way for me; I put these expectations on myself because it is ingrained in who I am.
I often find myself stressing about not doing something good enough. After the voice in my head is done bashing myself because I can’t get my newborn to nap within a half hour window or get my toddler to work through his tantrum without wanting to raise my voice (or like a hundred other things), I never feel good. And, I know it’s unreasonable to have these expectations.
As moms, we often face an incredible amount of pressure. Many feel this pressure from their employers, partners, kids, extended family and society itself. I had to ask: why put additional pressure on myself? I am my own strongest advocate, and if anyone should be putting my own best interests first, it should be me. But, a couple months ago, that reminder best came from someone else.
No one knows the internal workings of my complicated brain like my husband. One day after he came home from work, I was telling him about something – I can’t even remember what it was – and clearly stressed, I described the day as, “it was okay, not great.”
Without missing a beat, he put his hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eyes, “Okay is great!” He said it confidently, with no guilt associated with the statement. No hint of disappointment in the fact that his wife sometimes takes the easy way out, forgets things or gets frustrated.
Since that day, I’ve tried to retell myself that “okay is great” more regularly. In fact, the phrase is written on our kitchen whiteboard as a constant reminder.
I will still go above and beyond in certain instances (it’s who I am, and it makes me happy). I know sometimes I’ll end up on the guilt train when I don’t accomplish what I intend to, but I can say confidently that I’m more cognizant of the fact that perfect nurseries and well-balanced meals may be great, but they don’t make a mom great.